Guidelines
Are you a mastermind who's bored of winning our monthly algorithm contests? Do you want to get some experience on the other side of the equation? CodeChef is on the lookout for advanced programmers to create and/or test problems and/or write good editorials in simple English for our contests. If you're interested in contributing, read the guidelines below and apply to become an official CodeChef Problem Setter or Tester or Editorialist.
Note: If you are applying for becoming a new problem setter in CodeChef, and we don't know you personally and there isn't a problem setter of CodeChef who can vouch for your skills, then you must satisfy at least one of the below criteria for getting your problem setter application considered.
Contest Types & Schedule
There are three types of contests that we host:
The details of each of these contests and the schedule for application is mentioned below:
Problem Levels
Problems difficulty levels are key to setting problems and must be understood very well by both the problem author and the tester. Following guidelines are used in our monthly contests to arrive at the difficulty levels:
Difficulty levels
1. Cakewalk
Details:
Should be very straight forward. This type of problems are primarily put up to encourage new comers by providing them some gratification of solving a problem during a contest. These problems should be solvable by anyone who knows a programming language and basic data structures like arrays and lists. No further knowledge should be needed.
Subtask:
For a subtask type problem, it may have different subtasks in an increasing level of difficulty but none exceeding the Cakewalk level.
Submission Indicator:
Example problems:
2. Simple
Details:
Not as straight forward as CAKEWALK. This type should be solvable by everyone who knows basic datastructures and programming. It may or may not require some standard algorithm but whatever is required should be immediately obvious from the problem statement, similar solution idea should be easily available in any textbook, easily searchable, and more importantly should be very easily implementable. This should not involve advanced concepts like dynamic programming. And it should not be a tight bound optimization problem. Almost zero genius is required to solve this.
Subtask:
For a subtask type problem, it may have different subtasks in an increasing level of difficulty but none exceeding the Simple level.
Submission Indicator:
Example problems:
3. Easy
Details:
More difficult than SIMPLE. This type may require slightly advanced concepts of data structures and algorithms, like DP, Graphs Traversal, Simple Trees or Mathematics etc. However, it may not need the knowledge of advanced data structures. Should be fairly easy for most of the contestants to solve this type of problems without too many optimizations.
Subtask:
For a subtask type, it may have different subtasks in an increasing level of difficulty but none exceeding the Easy level. The easiest subtasks should be Simple or Cakewalk.
Submission Indicator:
Example Problems:
4. EasyMedium
Details:
Needless to say, more difficult than EASY. Should be solvable by the good programmers. May involve advanced programming concepts and may be complicated to code. Programmers more experienced at competitive programming should be able to solve it fairly quickly, while the new programmers may need to work hard to arrive at the solution.
Subtask:
For a subtask type, it may have different subtasks in an increasing level of difficulty but none exceeding the EasyMedium level. The easiest subtask should be Simple or higher.
Submission Indicator:
Example problems:
5. Medium
Details:
This should require more work for anyone to solve. Knowledge of advanced programming concepts like advanced DP, advanced Graph algorithms, advanced Trees, Computational Geometry, advanced Mathematics etc, or a combination of more than one of these may be needed to arrive at the right solution. However, it should not involve looking into research papers for the problems to be solved. A novice programmer should not be able to solve this, without putting in a lot of effort to learn those concepts and implement them.
Subtask:
For a subtask type, it may have different subtasks in an increasing level of difficulty but none exceeding the Medium level. The easiest subtask should be Simple or higher.
Submission Indicator:
Example problems:
6. MediumHard
Details:
It is fine if no one is able to solve these during a contest, however, the problems should be solvable. This should challenge even the best programmer out there. It may involve a combination of multiple advanced topics to get solved. Ideally, only one or two people should be able to solve this problem in the given time. But again this should have a problem which requires going through a research paper. Even the top programmers should sweat it out to solve it in the given time.
Subtask:
For a subtask type, it may have different subtasks in an increasing level of difficulty but none exceeding the MediumHard level. The easiest subtask should be Easy or higher.
Submission Indicator:
Example problems:
7. Hard
Details:
This is the hardest of all. It should be able to challenge the best programmers out there for a 10day contest. The idea to solve should be hard to come up with even with the knowledge of most advanced algorithms. Often, problem setters have made use of problems in research to get ideas regarding such problems.
Subtask:
For a subtask type, it may have different subtasks in an increasing level of difficulty but none exceeding the Hard level. The easiest subtask should be Easy or higher.
Submission Indicator:
Example problems:
8. SuperHard
Details:
This is an unsolvable (well, almost) problem. Problems like these occur rarely and only a handful of people all across the globe should be able to solve this.
Subtask:
For a subtask type, it may have different subtasks in an increasing level of difficulty but none exceeding the super Hard level. The easiest subtask should be Easy or higher.
Submission Indicator:
Example problems:
9. Challenge (Tiebreaker)
Details:
Tiebreaker problems are typically optimization problems (maximize or minimize). The best submission gets a score of 1 while the rest get scores relative to the points of the best submission. The difficulty of getting an accepted solution on the challenge problem should not exceed "Medium". Ideally, it should lie between "easy" to "medium". It can either be an interactive challenge problem or a noninteractive (classical tiebreaker) problem.
Subtask:
No Subtask
Configuration:
Submission Indicator:
Example problems:
PS: Please note that mentioned solve rates are only indicators. While we understand that it is not always possible to classify the exact level, but based on our previous experience we should be able to come up with a closer approximation. We want the Simple, Cakewalk and Easy problems to err on the Easier side and not on the Harder one.
Testing Process
Following is the testing process:
Translation
Conflict Resolution
Payments
Payments will be normally done after the end of a contest. It usually takes us about a week to process the payments.
For payments within India:
For payments outside India:
