Rules and Procedures


Each team will consist of at most three students currently attending the team's school. There may be multiple teams from one school. We may impose a maximum number of teams per school in order to allow more schools to participate.

Conduct of the Tournament

  • Six or more problems will be posed at the beginning of the contest.
  • Teams will be given four hours to solve the problems. The Contest Coordinators have the power to extend the contest under unforeseen circumstances.
  • Contestants will be allowed to use one computer per team, which will be provided by the contest staff.
  • Contestants may bring any materials to the contest except computing devices (including calculators), machine readable media, or devices requiring a wall outlet. While cell phones are not explicitly disallowed, the expectation is that they are not to be used during the tournament except for emergency communications.
  • Teams may work on the problems in any order. Teams may submit a potential solution to a problem multiple times until correct.
  • A team may make submissions to the judges at any time during the contest. Judged runs are made on data created by the judges to test the correctness of the program. These are done on the judges' computer. After a judged run, the team will receive only a message with one of the following responses from the judges:

Compile-Time Error
Time-Limit Exceeded
Run-Time Error
Wrong Answer
Presentation Error

  • The judges will not entertain questions about any problem. If a contestant feels that a problem is stated ambiguously and requires clarification, s/he may submit a statement of ambiguity to the judges. The statement of ambiguity will be answered if the judges agree that a clarification is required. The statement and the answer will be provided to all teams if the judges deem it necessary. The judges may refuse to answer any statement of ambiguity.
  • Teams must use only the software provided for the contest (even in the practice session and after the contest time has expired). Any attempt to use other software packages or modify the ones provided will be brought to the attention of the Contest Coordinators, who will take appropriate action. The following software will be provided:

A set of editors/compilers
A facility for sending a program to the judges for review
A facility for submitting statements of ambiguity to the judges
A facility for viewing the score

    • Contestants must not run programs which are designed to maliciously degrade the performance of the system, or to disturb the work of the judges or other teams. Contestants are expected to obey federal and state computer laws.
  • Contestants may not discuss the contest problems with anybody except the contest staff and their own team members.
  • Contestants must conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb the other teams.
  • The Contest Coordinators have the power to deal with any infraction of the above rules through penalty or disqualification, at their discretion.


The team which has had the most problems judged correct at the end of the contest is declared the winner. If more than one team has solved the same number of problems, the winner is the one with the fewest penalty points.

  • Penalty points are assessed for solved problems.
    • One penalty point is assessed for each minute from the beginning of the contest until the problem was solved.
    • Twenty penalty points are assessed for each judged run except one "correct" submission (note that multiple correct submissions on a problem receive a penalty).
  • No penalty points are assessed for any problem which was not solved.
  • The Contest Coordinators reserve the right to adjust penalty points to allow for unforeseen circumstances.
  • The score will be "frozen" in the final hour (meaning that score updates will not be publicly shown) in order to preserve suspense for the end of the competition.

Awards and Prizes

The top five teams will receive trophies and prizes.