Everything Right & Wrong About July Cook-off 2014

1 min read

Bad days indeed! One more CookOff and one more letting you all down. This time we were prepared. We had learnt from our mistakes from the last CookOff and we knew what had to be done (or not done).

The contest started well. It was the contest, which bypassed all our expectations in terms of participation. Moreover, not only was the number of participants huge, it also brought in all the big names into it. And boy, it was a smooth start. In the first half an hour (which is our most testing time) into the contest we had equalled the previous best participation and without any glitch. We were living a dream.

Not for long! Suddenly the submission queue started going up after almost 45 minutes into the contest. And it never quite came down. We had to stop the contest and let the judge work in isolation. The ever robust and dependable SPOJ judge today gave in. We tried all that we could. Also added more servers, but the queue that had accumulated to 1300 pending submissions took close to 15 minutes to reduce.

It happened due to a couple of reasons.

1. The number of submissions were very very high.

2. More importantly, the number of test files for two problems were very high in number (close to 20). These problems had one test case per test file and that is a non optimal configuration for the SPOJ judge. Each test file spawns a new process for the judge and close to 20 test files for each submission in a short contest turned out to be a disaster.

There is also some unseen benefit at the end of the dark day. We have seen by far the highest participation (close to 2430 users making a submission versus 1774 being the previous highest in any contest). And the number of submissions being 11500 plus.

The final stats of the contest are here:

Total Users: 2437
Total Submissions: 11635
Number of distinct users with correct submissions: 2022
Total users from India: 2113
Total users not from India: 324

We are sad and we are sorry. How much cannot be expressed. But we are not giving up. We promise that the next CookOff will be without any glitch and will be a good one.

Regards,
Anup
Team CodeChef

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6 Replies to “Everything Right & Wrong About July Cook-off 2014”

  1. this cook-off is my first contest on codechef so I’m a bit irritated
    but I can see u guys were having hard time, so no problem, hope u can be prepared next time it occur ๐Ÿ™‚

    tks for the contest in anycase

  2. Though the glitch disturbed evry1 but overall it(comptn) was a vry gud experience fr me….each time i learn something new due to codechef’s challenges….

  3. I feel bad as the delay must have affected the rankings. It must have reduced the effect of penalties on those who submitted before the glitch. Could you not subtract the delay time from those who submitted afterwards? ๐Ÿ™

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