To start with, let us revisit our definition of Time Limit: It is the time in which your program must read, process, and output the result of an input test file. It is defined in detail here.
Up until now, for each submission we used to display the total execution time across all the test files. What this means is that if a problem had multiple input files, then the reported execution time of your submission used to be the sum of times taken for execution on each test file. Thus, many a times, the reported time limit would be higher than the Time Limit specified for the problem. Most of you have gotten used to this, but for every new user this has created a lot of confusion.
Example: If the problem has 3 test files a, b, and c and the time limit for the problem is T. The time taken to pass each of them is ta, tb, and tc respectively. Then currently time displayed is (ta + tb + tc). And may a times (ta+tb+tc) > T, causing the confusion.
Additionally, sometimes revealing the cumulative time of execution reveals a lot more about the test cases than what the problem authors want to reveal during a running contest. This applies more to the Challenge problem where users make many solutions to try and extract information about the test data.
And hence, from the feedback that we have received from our community and problem authors, we have changed the way we will report time against your submission. From now on, the time displayed for your submission will be the maximum of the times taken by your solution to execute each test file. Let us explain with another example.
Example: If the problem has 3 test files a, b, and c and the time limit for the problem is T. The time taken to pass each of them is ta, tb, and tc respectively, with tb being the maximum time taken among the 3 test files. So, from now, the time displayed will be tb, making the time displayed <= T.
This ensures that the reported time will always be less than or equal to the Time Limit of the specified problem which is what is expected by everyone.
So, next time you are looking at that Time column against a submission, do keep this new change in mind. However, we will not be making this change in the previously closed contests. This is only applicable to our new contests and the problems in the practice section.
Do let us know what you think of this new change we have brought in for you at firstname.lastname@example.org
Till next time. Adios.