ACM Programming Team  -- Fall 2017

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 2017 competition, eligible students include:  

People who have started college in 2013 or later,
OR were born in 1994 or later,
OR possibly if you have completed no more than 8 semesters after high school (Fall 2017 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 Tuesday Aug 29, 4:15-5PM, 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 hour in the week after each practice, and an introductory hour before the first main practice.

 If you are interested, whether you can attend the organizational meeting or not, please fill out the data form at:

We will practice with old competitions.  Generally a team will agree on their language, C, C++, Java or Python, though it is possible to have one problem in Java and the next in C++....  Sorry no C#.  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 weekend before the competition.  

Reference Schedule From Fall 2016;   2017 still to be agreed on - posted here when it is figured out

Bring your own notebook computers if possible, set up with dvelopment software.

All practices are tentatively set  Saturdays in Cudahy Science 314 (Physics building).  Food will be provided.

Sep 10:  10AM-3PM
Sep 24:  11AM-4PM online
Oct 15, 22, and 29:  10AM-3PM
Nov 5: competition all day at U of Chicago 9:30AM -6:30PM + I take you out to dinner afterward, if you like.

Initial online reflection times in the week after each practice: Choose one of Tues 2-3PM or Wed 4:30-5:30PM.   The technology/URL will be announced later.  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.

Sept. 24 is the continent wide online practice competition, 11AM-4PM.  You can be anywhere (with Internet).  It would be convenient to be with other team members in our practice room.

We skipped over Oct 1 for a practice, though it would have allowed us to spread practices out more, because a LuTech Hackathon is that day.  We have a number of LuTech members on the team, and we want to encourage others to participate, too.