ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest is an annual programming competition between teams from universities from all over the world. The contest involves teams of 3 undergraduate students who must write codes to solve a set of programming problems within a 5 hour period. You can read the Wikipedia entry for more information about this competition.
The regional qualifier for the South Pacific region (of which Australia is included) is normally held every September at the University of Sydney. The Department of Computing at Macquarie University has been actively participating in these regional qualifiers, sponsoring several teams every year and we are actively seeking students who are interested in joining these competitions.
If you are an undergraduate student at Macquarie University, then you are eligible to represent us in the regional qualifiers. The two requirements are that you must be 22 years old or younger and have done less than 5 years of full-time university study.
Brief description of the contest
The programming contest involves teams of 3 students who are tasked to write solutions to 7-9 programming problems within a 5-hour period. The questions are given out in writing while the solution is to be written on a computer and submitted electronically to the contest judge where it is then tested for correctness.
Each team receives one point for each correct submission and also a score based on the amount of time it takes to submit said submission. The score are used for tiebreakers at the end of the contest. The contest judge usually returns a decision within a short amount of time, and each team can attempt a question for an unlimited number of times although each incorrect submission will result in a score penalty.
The questions are based on algorithmic problems and designed to test your problem solving skill. In spirit, it is very similar to the problems in Comp225 and Comp333. The questions will certainly require a good knowledge of the concepts in Comp125 and Comp225. Each question normally provides a sample of input and output. The program is expected to at least reproduce the sample output given the corresponding input (input/output is normally handled via standard I/O).
The submission must be writte in in C/C++ or Java, although it is possible that other languages may be permitted. The full set of rules can be found at http://icpc.baylor.edu/icpc/regionals/About.htm
How to get started?
To get started, visit UVA online judge site and register an account. This is the site where you can attempt questions and submit your solution online, where it will be automatically judged. Have a try at a few questions.
Another option is to go to our problem archive and see the questions and the accompanying hints (if available). You can also choose the tag beginner to show the easiest questions.
To prepare teams for the yearly regionals we also participate in ANZAC League ran by Hossam El Gindy from UNSW. It is a 5 hours training sessions held once a month on a Saturday at Macquarie University, sponsored by the Department of Computing and by Macquarie University Computing Society (MUCS).
It is perhaps the closest thing to the real competition since we have teams from all over Australia and NZ competing together at the same time. The events page has more information on the upcoming contests.
If you wish to participate in the regional qualifiers, then we do expect a certain amount of commitment and preparation from you, and attending these monthly competitions is the best way for you to get yourself ready for the real thing.