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The programming contest is all about solving problems. The team that solves the most problems wins, if several teams solve an equal number of problems, the team that has done so in the least amount of time is the winner. It follows naturally that, in order to keep total solving time low, one should solve problems in 'shortest job first' order. Also, one should send in correct answers.

Contest-style Problems

The problems that must be solved on a programming contest are designed to strain one's knowledge, insight and skills in the field of algorithms, computers and code creation. An algorithm that will compute a wrong answer or compute the correct one in a hundred years will not get you anywhere. If your algorithm is efficient but uses 400 terabyte of memory, one is obviously not complying to the physical laws that limit the possibilities of the computer. Finally, an algorithm that is fast enough and can be used on the computers used in the contest must be coded, and it must be coded well enough to produce the right answer at the right time.

Practise makes perfect

If you really want to prepare yourself well, you may want to practise before the contest. This is generally a good idea, experience is definitely an advantage.
You can find a lot of practise material in the following archives :

  1. The European ACM archive. This archive contains the problem sets of all ACM Regional Contests and ACM Contest Finals.
  2. The 'Valladolid' archive. An excellent archive with an on-line jury. All problems are in HTML format.
  3. Our local archive of the CHipcie. Here you will find all problems of the contests in Delft and the Dutch Championships. These might be in dutch!

Good luck!






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