ACM-ICPC World Finals 2014. Part II.
This is the second blog post about Nazarbayev University team on ACM-ICPC World Finals 2014. First part is available here.
The first official day of ACM-ICPC World Finals 2014 was 22nd of June. Everything started with registration of teams in a big concert hall "Cosmos".
Serious security on the entrance corresponds to the status of event.
Registration of the team consisted of 12(!) parts and required a separate volunteer to sort this out. After submitting our team reference and all required documents we got full bugs of different stuff from organizers.
Tricky question: what animal is this plush toy?
Besides usual pens, notebooks and badges, stuff consisted of mp3 player with Red Line audio guide on it (see Part I), ticket that allowed unlimited free use of public transport during the competition days and SIM cards with free calls between all participants and coaches from 22nd to 26th of June (really nice idea to keep everybody in touch with each other, thanks!)
And, of course, we also got these awesome World Finals t-shirts.
Full delegation from Nazarbayev University in brand new clothes.
TechThek and Opening day
The next day started with TechTrek by the main sponsor of an event — IBM company. This year it was dedicated to IBM Watson — artificially intelligent computer system famous for its tremendous victory on the quiz show Jeopardy! However, due to too early schedule we missed the first half of the presentation and fully enjoyed only Q&A part with such brilliant questions as "Did you try to make Watson solve ACM-ICPC problem" or "Are you sure, that Watson won't kill all humans sometime in the future?".
IBM presentation smoothly turned to lunch on the open air and some parallel activities.
It was the first time when all teams really gathered together (registration time was different for everybody), and playing and communicating with people from all over the world was fun and allowed to really understand the scale of competition.
Everybody loves frisbee and angry birds :)
It was also a great chance to meet some famous people.
With Mike Mirzayanov, creator of Codeforces.com.
The day ended with the opening ceremony full of long speeches and various artistic performances.
24th of June was the day of practice contest.
"Uralochka" sport centre where competition took place.
Practice contest was pretty much the same as the main tour, but only two and a half hours long and with previously used problems to solve. And of course its results didn't mean anything as it was held only to check that everything is ready for the main competition.
By tradition, this day teams also took a photo with the main trophy of competition and Bill Poucher, executive director of ICPC (I still hear his voice inviting teams: "Every smart contestant's DNA should be on this cup. Come on!").
The main contest was held the next day, June 25th. This day we decided to use the metro instead of the provided bus that was scheduled at 7:40, more than two hours before the competition!
Few minutes before the contest. All 122 teams are ready.
This year's problem set was harder than any year before, and had several old known problems, which were still pretty difficult if you didn't see them before. The number of problems required to get a medal was much smaller than in previous years (4 problems in 2014 versus 6 problems in 2013), and one solved problem could separate teams with the difference of 60 places in the final results!
No, I didn't take photos during contest :) The photo is from practice day,
but it was pretty much the same on the day of main tour. Balloons were delivered for every solved problem.
Our team had a slow start and the first problem was solved only at the end of second hour. Next three hours quickly passed in a struggle with other problems, which eventually resulted in the second accepted solution only 3 minutes before the end. In the result: 2 solved problems, 72nd absolute place (or 45th, if count like here) with such major universities as Carnegie Mellon and Berkeley behind us and many major universities ahead.
Closing ceremony and results
Closing ceremony was another three hours of long speeches and artistic performances.
It was also declared that the next year's final will be held in Morocco. Hope we get there to improve our results!
And finally, long-awaited award ceremony took place. By rules of ACM-ICPC there is a live scoreboard during the whole competition, except the last hour, results of which are revealed only in the very end. This year was remarkable for a fierce struggle between the top teams for the champion title. Eventually it was very pleasant to see St. Petersburg State University from Russia on the first absolute place. Congratulations to them and all other medalists! Full results of the competition are available here.
Everything ends, and so does even ACM-ICPC World Finals. Thanks for reading this far! Hope to write for you the next year, in ACM-ICPC World Finals 2015.
All comments, questions and notices about any errors in the text are more than welcome.
02 July 2014