The big story of a small confusion

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Nothing compares to the elation of participating in a short programming contest, as far as the programmers are concerned. While, the long challenge brings opportunities to learn and execute new things, the short contest gets the adrenaline rushing for the programmers. This is why when it comes to our short contests; we are a tad more inspirit than the normal days. The January Cook-Off 2014, was just one of those days.

After the splendid opening for the year with the January Challenge 2014, we were optimistic for the first Cook-Off for the year. The luscious problem set for the contest was cooked by Abdullah Al Mahmud, aka satej, with his huge experience of problem setting and training students for prominent competitive programming contests. It meant that the problem set this time around is not going to be a cozy walkthrough for the participants. And that turned true when the curtains were lifted off the problem set at the contest kick-off. It also meant that the testing of the problems would require some serious work, and Gerald Agapov delivered just that and more, by testing the problems to perfection and translating them to Russian. To complete the decorum for the contest we needed elaborate editorials for the problem set and Praveen Reddy Vaka was ready with them. All that, together with the Mandarin translations of the problem set from Minako Kojima, made the January Cook-Off 2014 ready to be feasted upon.

The Chef and the Cake I was the first problem to be cracked, and got much more all through the contest. While everyone was enjoying the cake, some tried their hands in the Subtraction Game, but not many enjoyed it. Although, that did not stopped anyone taking part in it, and we saw many submissions on it throughout the contest. The story of Interrogating Gangsters is no different and not many were able to make the gangsters talk. Then, neither was batman. If you thought that those problems gave a hard time to the participants, then let us tell you that you are wrong. The real test for the participants was getting past the, reaching to Chef and Cakes II, and cracking it. If truth were told, at times we even thought that the two said problems would go unsolved. However, we realized that we have ACRush taking part in the contest and then it was just a matter of time before we have all our problems cracked.

ACRush, might have cracked all the problems, but even for him it was not a smooth walkthrough in the corridors of January Cook-Off. After cracking the first problem, ACRush had some doubt with the flow implementation for Chef and Cakes II. He directed his concern to us and after consulting with the problem-setting panel, the solutions for the problem was rejudged after the test cases were modified. The contest was extended twice by 30 mins and 15 mins respectively due to the same reason. However, in the end it turned out that, there was no need of that, and it was all just confusion. Our problem setters felt that many of the users knew the solution for cake2, but because of the lengthy implementation, many of them did not try. Overall, with a testing problem set, a slight confusion resulting in problem extension, and a brilliant competition between the participants completed the January Cook-Off 2014.

Now, let us have a look at the rank tables:

Firstly, the non-Indian top ten:

Now the Indian top 5:

Now, the final stats for the contest:

  • Total Users: 1405
  • Total Submissions: 5478
  • Number of distinct users with correct submissions: 866
  • Total users from India: 1196
  • Total users not from India: 209

Congratulation to you all for your wonderful performance in the contest.

The January Cook-Off presented some real testing problems to its participants and we hope you all enjoyed it to the fullest. If you missed the contest, you still can try your hands on the problem set in the practice section here. And to help you with those problems we have the elaborate editorials, on how to crack each problem, ready with us here. Go play with the problems and sharpen your skills for the coming contests.

That is all from our side; do send us your thoughts on the contest, the problems, or just the overall experience of the contest We love hearing from you people.

With warmth and love!

Team CodeChef

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