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ACM Programming Problems!

Be Prepared

  • Know your language.
  • If you are using a compiled language, have a makefile written and printed to take with you.
  • Know how to get input from STDIN and print to STDOUT
  • Walk in with a "template" program printed out that can simply be re-typed in and used as a template to start all your others


  • Under No Circumstances listen to Vogon poetry
  • The problems are often written to look scarier than they really are
  • Look for problems which may be very simple to solve or use algorithms you know well
  • Math is your friend, not food

Divide et impera

  • You have a team, each of you have different skills, USE THEM
  • Split up into maverick and a pair on problems where it makes sense
  • Several problems will be easy enough for a single person to hack out alone, on paper
  • if someone is struggling and consuming computer time trying to debug PRINT OUT THE PROGRAM and debug on paper when another program is ready to be typed

Code to Joy

  • You are using a kind of Test Driven Development, embrace it
  • Test against all example cases given in the problem
  • Add test cases to test the problems limits and extremes
  • use meaningful variable names (this is far more important than you might think)
  • Balance your approach between quick hacks and debuggable code
  • Elegance is not required

Get Bart to bribe you