The USACO coaching team is proud to announce the schedule and format for the
upcoming 2009-2010 pre-college programming contest season.
Most of the hallmarks of the USACO competition remain unchanged:
1. All pre-college students throughout the world with access to the internet
are eligible (except cheaters who have been banned).
2. No fees are charged.
3. Contest languages include C, C++, Pascal, and Java.
4. Register at http://ace.delos.com/usacoregister (for
contests and training).
5.Training can be found at http://train.usaco.org.
6.Contests beyond the first-year level are three to five hours in length.
7. Results are widely disseminated and reported on the USACO web site.
8.The 'big prize' is an invitation to the USA Invitational Computing
Olympiad in early June 2010.
9.The 'biggest prize' is selection for the four-student USA international traveling team that will represent the USA in
Canada at the International Olympiad where 75 other countries will also
compete in August, 2010. Other travel opportunities might also be available
10. And, finally, cheaters are banned for life.
We continue to run three standard
The elite level
with the most difficult challenges. The lowest-level competitors in this
division should be able to create a dynamic programming algorithm from
scratch (similar to the old Green division).
Just below the
Gold division, Silver competitors should know a number of standard computer
algorithms (e.g., the flood-fill algorithm). Silver is similar to the old
Students who can write
programs that work, including ad hoc programs that don't require fancy
Both Gold and Silver levels are "invitation-only".
- Doing well on the October qualification exam
- Doing well at the Bronze or Silver Level on
- Special cases as determined by the coaches
- Achieving the Gold/Silver level in previous
Invitations are lost by reading problems but not
solving them. You can always read the problems after the contest.
Our first contest will be the three-hour USACO Qualification and Practice
Contest. Those who wish to move up from their current silver or bronze
competition level definitely might wish to take this exam. Anyone who wishes
to expand their horizons (with no penalties) or just have fun is welcome to
participate. Scores will be reported only to the contestant; no overall
rankings will be revealed.
The Qualification contest's scores will be used only for qualifying-- they
will not be used for determination of national champions, invitations to
travel camps, etc.
The contest is of slightly unusual format since it must cover multiple
levels of competitors. Perhaps half a dozen problems, each with a fixed
point value, will be offered for solution within three hours. Choose to
solve any or all of them. The sum of the three best task-scores will
determine your qualification placement.
The tasks and scoring are anticipated to facilitate placement of competitors
at the proper level. By no means will all competitors solve all problems.
It is also possible (after subsequent contests) to be invited to move up or
down a division if it is clear that the contestant is misassigned.
Below is this year's schedule for this year's contests.
Contest lengths are not shown because we choose the length based on the
problems the contest contains, though generally they will be three hours in
length. Except for the US Open, contests run from Friday through Monday, USA
Analysis of last year's high finishers (from countries around the world)
reveals, unsurprisingly, that more training begets better scores on
algorithmic competitions. The surprising part of the analysis was that the
actual correlation was so very high.
Want to win? Train more.
More on this in future newsletters.
[Only USACO contests are currently known]
* 23-26 Oct, 2009 -- USACO Qualification Contest
* 6- 9 Nov, 2009 -- USACO November Contest
* 4- 7 Dec, 2009 -- USACO December Contest
* 8-11 Jan, 2010 -- USACO January Contest
* 5- 8 Feb, 2010 -- USACO February Contest
* 12-15 Mar, 2010 -- USACO March Contest
* 22 Apr, 2010 -- US Open for USA (no
proctoring in 2010)
* 23-26 Apr, 2010 -- US Open for International
* Early Jun, 2010 -- USA Invitational Computing Olympiad
(~9 days, by invitation), Clemson, SC
* 14-21 Aug, 2010 -- IOI, Waterloo, Canada (by invitation)
Additional contests will be announced a few weeks in advance of the
competition (just like last year's holiday contest).
We look forward to an exciting year of competition. Please join us!
I'll send details of each contest a few days before it starts.
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