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Common mistakes in online and real-time contests

Each year the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) arranges a worldwide programming contest. This contest has two rounds: the regional contests and the World Final. The teams with the best results in the regional contests advance to the World Final. The contest showcases the best programmers in the world to representatives of large companies who are looking for talent. When practicing for programming competitions, remember that all your efforts should be directed at improving your programming skills. No matter what your performance is in a contest, don't be disappointed. Success in programming contests is affected by factors other than skill, most importantly, adrenaline, luck, and the problem set of the contest. One way of getting immediate feedback on your efforts is to join the Valladolid Online Programming Practice/Contest or the online judge hosted by Ural State University (USU). Successfully solving problems increases your online ranking in the respective competitions.This article is for beginning programmers who are new to programming contests. I will discuss the common problems faced in contests, the University of Valladolid online judge, and the USU online judge. The suggestions are divided into three parts: General Suggestions, Online Contest Suggestions, and Valladolid-Specific Suggestions. Throughout this paper, please note that in real-time contests, the judges are human and in online contests, the judges are computer programs, unless otherwise noted.

By Shahriar Manzoor, July 2001

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Tags: ACM, Design, General