November 16, 2003
22: Prologue (By Popular Demand)
I spent most of yesterday at the Southern California Regional ACM Competition. The ACM competition is a speed programming contest, consisting of six problems to be solved in five hours. There are three man teams (technically, three-person, but that appeared to be almost entirely a technical distinction). Mine was me, AB, and Kevin. The team that solves the most problems wins, with ties broken by the total time spent on all solved problems, counting from the beginning of the contest to the submission of a correct solution to the problem.
So it’s important to do the problems in order of difficulty (which is not always easy to determine), and to do the easy ones quickly if you want to win.
Unless, of course, the Caltech super team is competing. These guys were a shoe-in. Last year, the three freshmen won the SC ACM Regional by solving all six problems. And they did it with over an hour to spare. The next highest placed team solved four of six.
So people were competing for second place.
We got 10th out of around 55 teams.
I think we did very well, even though I would have liked to solve one more problem. We did the two easy problems and what ended up being one of the hardest problems, but our approaches on some others were flawed, so we didn’t solve them.