ACM Programming Team  -- Fall 2015

Do you like programming puzzles?
Do you like working together closely?
Do you want more practice thinking and DOING?
Do you want to broaden your programming expertise?
Do you like a challenge and a competition with a chance for big rewards?
Would you like credit for a CS Major elective?

Join the ACM Programming Team!
We need undergraduates and graduate students! 

Please contact the coach, Dr. Harrington. Contact information:

Every year the ACM puts on a programming competition for several three-member teams from each school.  Generally undergrads and first year grad students are eligible, though the actual rules are more baroque.  In particular for the Fall 2015 competition, eligible students include:  

People who have started college in 2011 or later,
OR were born in 1992 or later,
OR possibly if you have completed no more than 8 semesters after high school (Fall 2015 doesn't count) AND not have significant programming experience at times you were not a student (other than summer jobs).  If you are in this last category, let me know promptly  - a waiver must be acquired, and there is a deadline on the waivers!

Students who do not satisfy the above criteria can still practice with us, and may enroll in Comp 314/315, as long as they have

We generally compete on the first Saturday of November, all day.  An excellent description of most aspects of our Mid-Central Regional Competition is Winners get to go to the International Finals.  See for detailed information.

First Organizational Meeting: Just for this one organizational meeting we gather Monday August 24, 3-4 PM in the Windows Lab at Watertower campus, LT 410 to answer questions and plan meeting times. Meeting times have generally been 5 hours on a weekend, five times before the competition (roughly every two weeks), plus a reflection time in the week after each practice, likely for one hour, late on a weekday afternoon or maybe Sunday evening. I need you input on when you are available.  Have your calendar to fill out the form If you cannot attend please do fill out the form in any case.

We will practice with old competitions.  Generally a team will agree on their language, C, C++ or Java, though it is possible to have one problem in Java and the next in C++....  Sorry no C# or Python.  Students can join the team for the first time while taking COMP 271.  Of course, advanced students are very welcomed to jump in any time, but you are encouraged to start early in your studies and return in later years after more advanced programming/algorithms courses!  I am happy to have a second or third team with beginners, gaining experience.

If you like, undergraduates can earn 3 units of credit  in two years of participation, 1 unit of credit the first year and then 2 units in succeeding years by enrolling in Comp 314/315 and by participating in the practices.  Full-time undergraduate students now pay no extra for going up to 21 credits, but you need to apply to your Dean to go over 18 units.

See Basic Strategy for a more complete idea of the competition/practice dynamics, strategy, and sample problems.

Past teams have agreed that it is important to have practices as much like the real competition as possible.  That means 5 hours long!  I have never had a team that could agree on a five-hour weekday time.  We have generally done 5 weekend practices, coming about every other week, generally including the last two weekends before the competition.   This year there is a continent-wide practice scheduled for mid-semester break.  We invite students to participate in that.

Schedule For Fall 2015

Here is the plan for Programming Team/Comp 314-315 practices.   Something could come up to change it, but afte the first practice, now, it is probably pretty firm.

Bring your own notebook computers. 

All practices except the continent-wide one are set for  Saturdays 9:45AM-2:45PM, Cudahy Science 314.  (Note:  15 minutes later than original time)

Aug 29, Sep 12,

Oct 3 is the continent wide online practice competition, for 5 hours.    It is likely starting time in 11AM or noon. It is online.  You can be anywhere (with Internet).  If you want to arrange to be physically with your team, fine, but you could have a Google hangouts/Skype connection instead.  I will be available only remotely.

Oct 17, 31  (note change 17th in place of 10 and 24)

Saturday Nov 7 9:30AM-6:30PM ACM competition for those on an official team:  at the University of Chicago  + I take you out to dinner afterward, if you like.

1-hour online Google Hangout meeting to reflect on practice from the previous weekend:  I could not find one time to satisfy all:  Join me either for 3PM Wednesday or 4:15PM Thursday.  If your machine does not have good feedback cancellation circuits, have headphones.  If more than one person meets in the same physical space, all can view their own screen, but only one computer should have the speakers and mic on to avoid feedback.