2012 ACM-ICPC North American Qualification Contest

This page contains information about the first-ever qualifying contest for North American regions. Recently added and important information is highlighted.

As of September 26th 2012, we have 1138 teams registered from 164 institutions. The number of actual contestants registered is 1452.

This page was last updated October 01, 2012 at 10:13 (America/Chicago).

Post-contest information

You can download the problem statements.

There is also test data that was used for judging.

Here are the final standings for each institution (select the institution you want using the menu).

If you have any good anecdotes, quotes, stories, or pictures of the contest at your site, please send them to Greg Hamerly.

We had 730 teams submit something. There were 665 teams that solved at least one problem. There were 8395 submissions during the 5 hours, an average of almost 1 submission every 2 seconds, and an average of 11.5 submissions per submitting team.

Here are the limits used on the contest judge server. Note that the limits are tuned for the server, and on different hardware other limits may be more appropriate. All problems had a memory limit of 2048 MB.

Problem Time limit Problem Time limit
quiteaproblem 1 second multitouch 1 second
curvyblocks 1 second unicycles 10 seconds
choosingnumbers 2 seconds loopytransit 3 seconds
hittingtargets 1 second texassummers 1 second
outofcontext 1 second mazemovement 5 seconds
raggedright 1 second

Contest information — look for emails from hamerly@cs.baylor.edu

Details about the qualifying contest and the practice are being sent by email to all coaches who have registered teams. The emails are from hamerly@cs.baylor.edu to the registered coaches. Please watch for the email (and check your spam filter).

The emails contain the information each team needs to login to the Kattis system. The passwords will be different for the practice and actual contests.

The account information for Kattis was attached to the email as a tab-delimited file, with one entry for each team registered to the coach.

Contest logistics

The contest begins at 2:00 PM CDT on Saturday, Sept. 29 2012, and lasts for 5 hours. The start time in other timezones are here.

Registration and team changes are now closed. No more teams will be added or permitted to change. However, as long as you registered a team (even if it has no contestants) you will receive a Kattis login (by email, see above) which you can use for the contest. Note that Kattis only knows about teams, but the ICPC registration system (which is totally separate) knows about individual contestants.

The practice contest started at 18:00 UTC on Monday September 24th 2012, and will finish at the same time on Friday September 28th. You can log in to Kattis (with your account information sent by email) here: https://icpc-qual-12.contest.scrool.se/

There is a public scoreboard serving individual results specific to each institution (you can select your institution from the drop-down menu).

To participate in the contest, each team will need an internet-connected computer to submit their code. The computer does not need to install any special software (e.g. we are not using PC^2). The teams will use a web browser to log in to Kattis using their Kattis credentials (which will be sent by email, see above). Kattis is the contest control system, used to submit code and clarifications, receive judgments, view problem statements, etc.

Problem statements are available here.

Contest scoring

This contest scoring system will be the same as the world finals. That is, the winner is the team solving the most problems. If two teams solve the same number of problems, then the team with the lowest time is the winner. If two teams have the same time the submission time of the last solved problem is used as a tie-breaker.

The time is the sum of the time of submission (in minutes) of the earliest correct submission for each solved problem, plus any penalty minutes for each incorrect submission of a problem prior to solving that problem. Penalties are 20 minutes for any of the following reasons (described here: https://icpc-qual-12.contest.scrool.se/doc/judgements):

Compile error does not incur a penalty; it is not considered a valid submission. Illegal Function does not incur a penalty, but any illegal function will be investigated and a team may be disqualified from the competition if the judges consider the program an attempt to exploit the contest system.

Thanks

This contest has received tremendous help from many individuals, including:

We are very grateful for all their cheerful help.

Below is older information.

Registration information

To register for the qualifier, please go through the normal registration process at icpc.baylor.edu. For registration reasons, there are 11 qualifying contests -- one per North American region. In reality, they will all be the same contest. You should register for the contest in your region.

Qualifier Registration links
East Central NA Qualifier ICPC eligible teamsOther teams
Greater NY Qualifier ICPC eligible teamsOther teams
Mid-Atlantic USA Qualifier ICPC eligible teamsOther teams
Mid-Central USA Qualifier ICPC eligible teamsOther teams
North Central NA Qualifier ICPC eligible teamsOther teams
Northeast NA Qualifier ICPC eligible teamsOther teams
Pacific Northwest Qualifier ICPC eligible teamsOther teams
Rocky Mountain Qualifier ICPC eligible teamsOther teams
South Central USA Qualifier ICPC eligible teamsOther teams
Southeast USA Qualifier ICPC eligible teamsOther teams
Southern California Qualifier ICPC eligible teamsOther teams

Each region's contest has two 'sites': one for ICPC-eligible teams, and one for 'other' teams. Most teams should register for the ICPC-eligible site. The 'other' site is intended for teams whose contestants are not ICPC eligible, such as high school students, or people whose ICPC eligibility has expired.

Around the time that registration closes, we will send out an email with information about the practice contest. We intend to leave the practice contest open for the entire week prior to the competition.

Basic details

Specific questions (and answers) from pre-registration:

Marshall University: I think this will be excellent. If possible, can the same event be used for training the teams using problem set from previous years and other regions (have the coach the ability to choose which set to use).
The problem set will be determined by the people putting on the contest. If you would like to contribute a new, unpublished problem for this contest, please contact Greg Hamerly (hamerly@cs.baylor.edu).
University of Windsor: Will there be a "practice" contest beforehand? (say something like one contest that would run for the whole week start Monday and end Friday night that would allow students the chance during the week to practice submissions, etc. before the actual Saturday contest...)
This is a good idea; we will try to do this if possible. It will depend on our time constraints.
Centre College: We are a small college so I probably would not be using this to weed out competitors but to give them practice.
That's fine.
Loyola University: Clearly I would like 3-person teams, but is it at my discretion how I handle the number of members (like 2 is OK if 8 are interested)?
The intent is 3-person teams, but you are free to assign teams at your discretion.
Coe College: Will judging be automated? Will local coaches/judges need to be on-site with contestants?
Judging will be automated and centralized by the competition organizers. You should provide a facilitator (i.e. coach) to be on-site with the contestants.
Canisius College: Our region also has several levels of contests to determine who will represent it at the World Finals. I felt like the idea of this contest was to help me determine which teams to send to my region's qualifiers, but wanted to double-check that this was the case. Thanks!
Yes, you can use this competition's results in the way that best serves your school.
Diablo Valley College: Is there a max number of participants or can we allow as many as want to try out?
Right now, there is no maximum. If we realize at a later date we have too many participants (which is unlikely to be the case) we reserve the right to put caps on the number of participants from each school.
Morningside College: As you can see from my numbers, this really isn't to narrow down the field of students, but really to give them an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the conditions of the contest. I hope that I am not violating the spirit of the contest.
That's perfectly fine.
University of Wisconsin - Parkside: I would like to see some relatively easy questions in the problem set. A qualifying contest can serve both to select our teams and to provide motivation for students earlier in the curriculum for future years. A tough set of questions, where some teams get no problems solved, may be discouraging, instead.
We will try to have a range of problem levels to address these types of concerns. We hope to have wide participation and that most teams will be able to solve something. Again, if you wish to contribute a new problem, please contact Greg Hamerly.
Simon Fraser University: Is it for individuals or for teams? How long is the duration of the contest? How many problems (approx)?
It is intended for teams of three contestants each. The contest is 5 hours. There will be approximately 10 problems.
Xavier University: Perhaps there is a way to have individual coaches download the supporting software so that they can run their local contest at a time and date of their own discretion. Sept. 29 may prove to be a bit early for my institution.
This is probably not possible, sorry.
Olivet Nazarene: For this qualifying contest, do students compete as individuals or in teams as usual?
The intention is for students to compete as teams of three students each.
University of Utah: A practice run with practice problems would be a nice feature.
We will try to do this.
University of Winnipeg: Where can I get the client software for the qualifying contest. My department's technician wants to install it on the image for the lab machines for the fall semester.
The client software will likely just be a web browser to submit to and receive responses from the judging software.
Mount Vernon Nazarene University: I did not find any information about the expected cost to participate in the qualifying contest.
There is no cost.
Northeastern State University: What kid of local resources will be needed to set up for the contest, and what will be needed to run it
We expect that the only resources needed will be computers with internet access, a web browser, and development environment(s) of your choosing.
University of Saskatchewan: Q: Will this competition be available only to teams registered by university coaches, or can any individual/group register? If the former, what do you recommend (or insist upon) as access-restrictions: can competitors use anything on the internet, or is that up to each coach/institution? Q: Have you selected the judging system yet? I know there are several available: PC2, UVa, so I'm interested in what firewalling might be possible [this is related to the access-restrictions question above].
The competition is for those who will register via the ACM-ICPC registration system (details on that coming later). The use of materials is up to the coach/institution. The judging system is likely to be Kattis, which has been used for the world finals the last several years.
William and Mary: Am I committing to doing this by filling out this form? If I don't get enough response from my students, this might not be worth my time or theirs.
Filling out the initial form was not a commitment, we were only looking for a level of interest from the community. Later official registration with the ICPC registration system will solidify a student's commitment to participate.
Concordia University: What specific resources are required? The email was a bit vague. Do we need to install software locally, or will there be a set of virtual computers somewhere to which participants connect (and then with what client)?
The resources will be internet access, a web browser, and whatever development environment(s) you wish to provide.
Graceland University: Why do you call this a qualifier rather than a practice contest? Do you anticipate that someday students will not be able to attend the regional contest unless they have first qualified in a qualifier? I hope not! Will my student teams be able to use the PC2 client on our lab computers to access your PC2 server (that is, are you using PC2)? If so, will you provide details well ahead of time on ports that need to be open to avoid firewall issues during the practice contest? Since this comes fairly soon in the semester for I, I might not be able to do this. I usually put together a PC2-based local practice contest for my students in October. But it would be great not to have to come up with my own questions. There are several reason we might not participate, but rather continue to run our own local practice contest. (1) I have set up PC2 to support Python teams so that our novice/sophomore teams can participate; (2) firewall issues that may require cooperation for our network admins; (3) I can include a few more simple problems to accomodate our novice teams needing beginner/teamwork experience. I assume that you will not have support for Python and that the problems will be representative of what we get for ICPC regionals (perhaps only 1 trivial problem).
Why call it a qualifier: Our intention was that this would serve as a qualifying contest that people already hold. You might call it a practice contest, and use it for that purpose. It's up to you.

Our intention is certainly not to create another level or hoop for students to jump through; as stated in the original invitation the results are for local coaches to use as they please.

Using our contest has several advantages: less work on your part to put on a local contest, broadened participation for those who haven't had the chance to offer a qualifier in the past, more student registration helps your region's allocation of wildcard slots for the world finals, and all students who participate in the qualifier receive a free year of ACM student membership automatically.

We will not be using PC2; we will use Kattis. This will require minimal software setup on your part (internet connection, web browser, development environment(s)).

At this time we are planning support for C/C++/Java. Other languages may be supported, but no promises.

We will offer one set of questions, but hope that they will span a difficulty range that is wide enough to accommodate novices and advanced students.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania: Sept 29th is a little early as the fall semester in my school starts Aug 27th. I will not know if my students will actually be ready to participate until the semester starts.
That's fine; there will be a formal registration closer to the contest.
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU): Would it be possible for high school students who are involved with the CMU ACM contest program to participate unofficially?
We will discuss this; I (Greg Hamerly) am inclined to say yes if possible. I need to check on if this will cause any difficulties with the registration system.