Postponed -- This competition is postponed till May 2000
We are awarding the prizes and marking the Problem Solving Programming
Competition in a different way this year.
Click here to get to the Problem Solving Competition Entry
Major Rule Changes
- Marks for Planning -- To discourage what is perceived as 'hacking' in
the problem-solving components of the competition, participants will be required to spend
time away from the computers to design their solutions. For this reason, the first 15
minutes of each session is designed as planning time. No computers are to be turned on
during this time. Computers which are put into 'sleep mode' are NOT considered to be
turned off. Competitors will be provided with "carbon-less" copy papers onto
which to place their plans. One sheet will be handed into the judges for marking at the
end of the planning period. The marks for planning will be around 50% of the marks for one
program in Part A of the competition and no more than 20% of the marks for one program in
Part B of the competition.
The judges will be looking for an indication of your plans.
These might include
- Marks for ease of judging -- In the past we have asked competitors to
prepare a one page instruction sheet to be submitted along with the answer diskettes at
the competition. Competitors in the past have received zero marks or caused
the judges many problems because of lack of these prepared instructions.
These year we are actually allocating marks for these sheets and how well they explain the
computer's operation. The marks for this information will be around 50% of the marks for
one program in Part A of the competition and no more than 20% of the marks for one program
in Part B of the competition. Further details on the actual marks for this section will be
given on the day of the competition.
This sheet should explain how to start the computer
and run the program. ASSUME THAT THE JUDGES ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH YOUR COMPUTER
AND YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM. Bring two copies -- one for each of Part A and Part B.
Judges do not have the time to make extensive tests to try and run your code. See below
for more information on what should be on the
judges' information sheet.
PROBLEM SOLVING COMPETITION RULES
The problem solving competition will be held in two parts
- Part A: Teams will choose three out of four given problems which are to be completed
(and saved to 2 diskettes and the hard drive) in 90 minutes.
- Each program in part A is worth one half the marks of programs in Part B.
- The difficulty of the programs in Part A are designed so the average team will complete
all the tasks in 1 program but is unlikely to complete all tasks in three programs.
- Part B: Teams will choose one out of two given problems which are to be completed (and
saved to 2 diskettes and the hard drive) in 60 minutes.
- Each program in part B is worth twice the marks of programs in Part A.
- The difficulty of the programs in Part B is deliberately higher than the difficulty of
programs in Part A. The average team will be unlikely to complete all tasks in one
The problem-solving competition will be judged using criteria such as
Clarity of identification
- The program should clear the screen on startup
- The name of the team members, the number and program name should then display.
- Competitors are ENCOURAGED to bring in a pre-written subroutine / function to perform
- The program is saved using the correct name specified on the question sheet.
- Information to the judges on how to run the programs (Prewritten information permitted)
- The program contains no programming or logical errors
- Does does not crash or hang
- The program makes use of modules, e.g. subroutines
- The program closed cleanly on exit.
Operation of the program
- The program loads and runs without errors.
- The program is user friendly, giving clear instructions of what needs to be entered and
- The program should contain error trapping for incorrect input.
- Competitors are ENCOURAGED to bring in prewritten subroutines that they can call to
perform these tasks.You lose an advantage if you have to spend considerable time
reprogramming these standard components.
- You may use dialog boxes, custom input routines or another method of input as long as
the program will accept the input the judges' sheet requires
- The program must provide the opportunity to automatically allow the judges to make a
second attempt at test data.
- Does the program return the answer requested in the question, with the correct
formatting, level of precision and detail requested?
- The output can also be a Window, Dialog Box, custom output routine or plain text. The
judges will be instructed not to mark these routiens, just the data that appears as a
solution to the problem.
Planning -- logical organization
- Did the competitors outline a plan of attack for the first question and one other using
the allocated planning time?
- Was the planning complete in that it accuractely represented the final product and how
to proceed with the problem?
- The competitors are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED BEFORE THE COMPETITION to develop and code input
routines that perform basic error checking and generates/handles suitable prompts and I/O.
Teachers and parents are strongly encouraged to accompany participants to help
setup equipment and load software, provide moral support. They may not remain in the
competition room during the competition and, under any circumstances be permitted to help
participants during the competition.
Please note the following
- Teams may make use of only a SINGLE computer, with a single keyboard, during the
- Competitors are ENCOURAGED to bring in on a
disk, pre-written input subroutines, capable of handling basic errors. This would allow
competitors to focus on the coding of the central concepts of the problems and encourage
the use of structured programming techniques using reusable code. Judges will check that
basic input error handling is being performed. Examples of prewritten subroutines can be
found on our Web page.
- Examples of previous years' problems, solutions and judging criteria can be found on our
- Different sets of problems are available for each division of the competition --
Elementary, Junior High and Senior High.
- Participants may use any programming language for the problem-solving competition.
- It is likely that a specific version, or versions, of LOGO will be required for the
Elementary Logo Competition. For the latest information, contact the Registration Person,
- Back-up requirement to diskette -- Participants MUST bring the
following to the competition:
- Do not apply locking programs. Competitors in the past have received zero
marks because judges could not access their code!
Leave the instructions on top of the keyboard. Remember that the judges are trying to
mark 500 programs in 3 hours. We don't have the time to hack!
Assume the judges know nothing -- show them exactly
- How to boot the machine
- How to run the program
- How to bring up the executable
- How to bring up the source code
- Anything else that might be useful
If we can find the students to solve the problem before we start marking the PART B
questions, we will then mark the questions. If we can't find the student in time system
then the team gets zero.
It is the team's responsibility for ensuring that the judges can access and run their
programs. The following are some of the problems we have had to solve in the past
- We could not find the directory, and,
- The diskettes had no back-up files
- The judges over-wrote the files by mist ake and there were no back-up diskettes (Not
this year, but on a previous occasion a team in 1st place lost because of this!)
- Crazy operating system set-up that kept crashing (the judges are not familiar with the
120 different systems)
- Kept on having to go through password locks (get rid of them before coming to the
- Crazy special effects and loud music meant the judges could not see what was wanted. It
might have been there, but the student got zero.
The best one
- Student took all the answers written on a lap-top home before the judges could
do the marking.
- The decision of the judges is final. Clarification of
any points in the Rules section is available on request.
- Computers and peripherals brought to University of Calgary will be tagged
with an ID number, the equipment recorded, and a matching ID number will be given to the
owner. Security WILL NOT allow the computers to leave the building until the owner shows
the tag to the guard indicating that the equipment is rightfully theirs. This clearance
will only be given AFTER 3:00 PM on Saturday, Computers once brought in will not be
allowed to leave until this time!
- SO FAR, no problems have arisen with loss of property, and it is hoped we
can continue providing a secure environment. Security Services at University of Calgary
will be operating throughout both days of the competition. However, SAIT, The Calgary
Public Board of Education, The Calgary Catholic Board of Education, The University of
Calgary and the Calgary Region Computer Programming Society WILL NOT accept responsibility
for ANY loss or damage to equipment or software.
Last Modified:- 1999, April 28, 07:49 PM by M. Smith