[clug] Re: ACM programming competition

Andrew Over andrew.over at cs.anu.edu.au
Wed Sep 8 06:47:52 GMT 2004

On Wed, Sep 08, 2004 at 02:55:56PM +1000, James Ring wrote:
> On Wed, 8 Sep 2004 01:36 pm, Michael James Stevens wrote:
> > Yes. I have Warren. (u3950692). This gives us a 3 person team. I'm busy
> > with COMP3500 right now, so can you email Eric to get our team in
> All done!

Free (unsolicited! woo!) advice (for the actual competition):

- Avoid computational geometry questions unless you are a comp geom guru
  [1], or you've solved all the others.  Yes I know it looks easy, but
  there are 3 different corner cases you haven't thought of (excluding the
  15 you have).

- There will be several graph theory problems.  Know about breadth-first vs
  depth-first traversal, along with things like transitive closure
  algorithms (floyd-warshall?  it's been a while).

- Dynamic programming pops up occasionally and yields nice short solutions
  to otherwise intractable problems.

- Language familiarity is more important than support for nice data
  structures (you can do very nasty things in C if you have to).

- With the exception of the first problem, don't waste your time typing
  until you've coded a solution on paper.  You'd be amazed how much less
  buggy things are when you've forced yourself to code it up on paper (at
  least IMHO).

- Style?  What's style? (An ideal solution will qualify as an IOCCC entry
  when you're done).
- Caffeine is your friend.

And now back to procrastination.


[1] You're probably not a comp geom guru. [2]

[2] I say this from bitter experience.  There's almost ALWAYS a corner case
    you overlook, and when your only feedback is "wrong answer" it's not so
    much fun.  Convex hull problems are not too bad, but the rest are
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