September officially rang the bell for the ACM ICPC 2016 – 2017 season in India. In other parts of the world, though, the regionals were already happening and teams from different universities were moving forward towards the World Finals. In India, the registrations for the regionals had just started and the hunt for the perfect team member was on. Even the closest of friends were subjected to great scrutiny, on their programming skills and how well they can cope up with the pressure. How do we know that? Well, we’ve got informers…. Just kidding, we imagine that’s what must be going on in the hostels during the programming season; but whatever. So, while some were still hunting for the team members, few others had already registered their teams and were busy preparing for the regionals.
A cracking contest with some testing problems was something everyone was looking for. So, we obliged with our September Challenge 2016. There still were two more contests in Cook-Off and LunchTime to follow, but the Long challenge was a great start as it helps the participants solve problems and develop new concepts during the ten day course of the contest. And our problem setters had cooked some really interesting problem set revolving around Chef and his many escapades involving his friends, Spaghetti, Palindromes etc. Now, we are not an expert in problem solving, so we don’t know how much the problems helped you guys in your preparation, but we would like to know form you, how were the problems? Did they satisfy your programming buds? Were they fun to play around? So, do let us know your thoughts on the contest, the problems our problem setters would love to read them.
Now, let’s move towards the contest. The September Challenge 2016 started with 7 problems, as the remaining three needed a tad more sautéing. Or so we thought. The remaining three problems were added in the latter stages of the contest, which meant that for a good period of the contest there were only 7 problems. And to make it fair and to give everyone enough time with the newly added problems, the problem setting panel decided to extend the contest to three more days. While there we were questioned on that decision of ours, a majority of participants were pleased with it. At least that’s what the numbers from the contest suggest. Yes, they were huge. So, huge that they made September Challenge 2016 our biggest ever long challenge. Yay! And it’s only fair that we share those numbers with you, after all, you made them.
So, here they are for you:
Now, the big numbers also mean that the competition on the rank table was fierce, with the likes of ceilks, anta0, alex_2oo8, the latest sensation alladdin and many others all going at full throttle towards the top. While the names atop of the table were catching everybody’s attention, there were few shockers as well. Contrary to popular believe the seasoned campaigners and the popular names like ACRush, anudeep2011, rns4, lebron and few others seemed having a bad day at the office. But that’s just the part of the game, we are sure they will come back strong and will give us many exciting contests in the future. For now, let us have a look at the rank table for September Challenge 2016 and congratulate al the winners on their performance.
As always, we start with the girls:
The ROW top 10:
The Indian Top 20:
The ROW top 5 School Students:
The Indian top 5 School Students:
The ROW top 3 users with highest scores for the challenge problem (outside the winner table):
The Indian top 3 users with highest scores for the challenge problem (outside the winner table):
For all those who missed it, and we are sure there are not many of you out there, the editorials for the contest can be found below:
And with that it’s time to switch off the lights on this not-too-long-delayed story of September Challenge 2016, we hope you had a wonderful September and that are ready for the impending ACM ICPC 2016 – 2017 season. We wish you all the very best.
Next time, we meet we will be telling the story from the September Cook-Off 2016, which was the first of the two mega-cook-offs we are hosting this year. So, do keep watching this space. For everything else, you can find us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Till next time, adios.
Nothing pleases us more than making learning to program fun for you. One such opportunity came our way when we met Vinit at the ACM-ICPC World Finals in Phuket, Thailand. Vinit Shah had given a passionate presentation of his platform called uDebug, which was an unknown entity to us until then.
We instantly liked uDebug as we had been wanting to provide something similar to our users but were unable to take it up. One of the objectives of uDebug is to help you debug your solutions by suggesting input test cases of a problem for which the system will show you the output of a solution that’s been deemed “accepted”. Which certainly makes debugging a lot of fun. For us, it can also serve to strengthen the test cases for problems which may have weak test data. There have been incidents in the past where users have reported weak test cases for our problems but there has been no mechanism to validate and get them added.
We instantly discussed a possible collaboration between CodeChef and uDebug by providing users an interface (https://www.udebug.com/) to challenge the test cases for CodeChef’s problems. It meant that now you will have the power to test any problem of CodeChef against your test cases and if the community agrees with you, you can get them added on CodeChef.
It gives us immense pleasure to announce that you can now try your test cases for CodeChef problems on uDebug.
What it means for you as a user is:
We have added problems from our practice section (excluding the Beginner and Peer section) to uDebug for you to try your test cases on. Feel free to go there and experiment with your test data and debug solutions to those problems that you have not been able to solve.
If your test cases pass and find enough love from the community, they will be added to the problems.
How do I report a weak test case?
If you discover that test cases for a problem on CodeChef is weak, add your suggested (stronger) test cases on uDebug and flag the problem.
If your suggested test cases gets enough up-votes from the community, just send them to us at: email@example.com
We will add those test cases to the problem.
And as always, there will be a reward waiting for you. What it will be, you will get to know when you report it.
We hope you enjoy playing around on uDebug and we look forward to a long and fruitful collaboration with them.
That will be all from us for now.
It was around three years ago, when our team mate, Suraj, had asked us to implement an automated system of sending goodies. We were struggling to deliver the users their winnings on time and quite a few of them would never reach their intended users. Not responded emails, faulty stale addresses, goodies getting lost in transit and tracking issues; left us hassled. We altered processes, included more checkpoints, reached out to our users, but nothing seemed to work.
Quite naturally, we liked the suggestion. The idea was to switch from a “push the goodie” system to “pull the goodie” one. Let the responsibility of getting a goodie be given to the users. We realised this would solve additional problems too, like the same user getting the same goodie multiple times, by giving her more options of accumulating points and winning something of a higher value.
This year, our growing struggle made us pick this up as a gift to ourselves and our users, as we turned seven. In the summer, with our intern, Raju Varshney, putting his hands up, we finally decided to put an all out effort to get this out. While he took up the coding, the rest of us scampered around to get an exciting new list of goodies prepared. And eventually the new system got ready to be served.
However, one thing at CodeChef is that we are a team full of pranksters! We love playing pranks on each other and we thought this to be a great time to include our users. It was long back that we did something similar and since then we have hardly done anything that grave! And this provided us with the perfect opportunity. It also served us as an experiment.
While we implemented the new system, we also decided to change the goodies to those of no monetary value to be considered as a token of appreciation for the effort put by the users. We wanted to see whether all our users want a goodie of monetary value or is it the winning that matters? We added three fun goodies on the site and kept our fingers crossed to see if one can spend her hard earned laddus against something that wasn’t initially promised – the duck, the cube and the ball.
And what we got was a pleasant surprise! Though we got a lot of criticism on the selection of our new goodies, we did find some of our users placing orders to actually get them! Kudos to them! Though we are removing those dummy goodies, we promise to give these users what they have ordered while reverting their laddus into their accounts. We had loads of fun and we hope that you would not mind this small prank of ours.
With this, we unveil the new goodie system. We have credited all your pending winnings as laddus into your account. Go ahead and check them out and have a look at the new goodies. And order whatever you like. We believe you will like some of them. In case you have any doubts or concerns regarding your laddus, do send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not forget to read our terms and conditions to get more insight into the process and to not be disappointed later. We promise it is a good read.