What is ACM ICPC?

The ACM ICPC is considered as the "Olympics of Programming Competitions". It is quite simply, the oldest, largest, and most prestigious programming contest in the world.

The ACM-ICPC (Association for Computing Machinery - International Collegiate Programming Contest) is a multi-tier, team-based, programming competition. Headquartered at Baylor University, Texas, it operates according to the rules and regulations formulated by the ACM. The contest participants come from over 2,000 universities that are spread across 80 countries and six continents.

In terms of prize money, the top team takes home $12,000 along with the ACM ICPC 2014 Gold medal. Three other teams getting Gold Medal are awarded $6,000. Each Silver Medal team gets $3,000 and each Bronze Medal team is awarded $1,500.

Apart from that, Participants, coaches and registered staff (including volunteer helpers) receive complimentary membership to the ACM for a year.

And more important than all, the winners also get some super bragging rights and job offers from some of the top software companies in the world!

Contest Structure

The contest consist of two rounds:

  • ICPC Regionals: The regionals are organized by the local universities of different regions spread across the globe. The winners of these regional rounds of the contest get to represent the country in the ACM ICPC World Finals. The Asia Regionals in India are held at 3 sites viz. Amritapuri, Kolkata, and Chennai.
    Every regional contest site gets a "slot," which is an invitation for the team to compete in the World Finals. Typically, all the "slots" are allocated by December 31 every year. Additional slots may also be allocated based on student and institution participation, geographic coverage, and team performance. A few bonus slots are allocated each year for growth, innovation, and hosting. So depending on the number of slots that each regional site gets, that many number of top teams it can send to the World Finals.
    Also each regional site can have multiple rounds to select the best teams amongst those who apply. Typically they have an online contest, out of which selected teams are called for the onsite contest. These contests happen from the month of October to December.
  • World Finals: The pick of the crop from every regional site locks horn at the World Finals.
How can I participate - Eligibility

To meet the basic eligibility requirements for the contest you must be:

  • Willing and able to compete in the world finals
  • Enrolled in a degree program at an institution (in or outside India) that can sponsor you
  • Competing only for one institution for the calendar year
  • You should not have participated in more than 2 contest finals prior to this attempt
  • You should not have participated in more than 5 contest regionals prior to this attempt
  • You cannot participate in more than 2 teams in the same year
  • You cannot participate at more than 2 regionals in the same year (for Asia region)

Further details are here.

Contest Format
  • It is a team contest.
  • Each team should have three members and one reserve (3 + 1).
  • Each team must be headed by a coach, who must be a university faculty or staff member.
  • The coach can head multiple teams
  • The contest can have several problems (8 to 10 in general), of varying difficulty levels and mostly being algorithmic in nature.
How to take part in India regionals?

Many regionals are held all over Asia, and an Asian student may participate anywhere in Asia. However, generally speaking, for an Asian team to advance to the World Finals, they should win from their own sub-region in Asia.

India has three regional sites in - Amritapuri, Kolkata, and Chennai.

  • Each regional site will host a preliminary online round.
  • Students have to pay registration fees, which vary from site to site.
  • Depending upon the results of the online round, each side will decide the number of teams to be invited to the onsite round.
  • Teams securing the top spots in the onsite round will be eligible for advancing to the World Finals from their respective sites.
  • Any team can participate maximum at two regional sites.
Go For Gold

The 'Go for Gold' initiative, that was started in 2010 by Directi, has a singular ambition to watch an Indian team win the World Finals of the ACM-ICPC. Taking the long-term view in mind, the plan is to support learning and reward improvement. This is being done through providing ongoing scholarship, incentives, promotion, tech assistance, and training for Indian students. Team Sponsorships and other sponsorship packages are also provided. Further details on the Go for Gold Initiative can be found here.

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