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Regional Contest Rules
General Rules
Chinese Version
1998 ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest
sponsored by IBM
Asia Regional Contest Rules

(Revised by Shanghai Site are marked by *)


The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) is an activity of the ACM that provides college students with an opportunity to demonstrate and sharpen their problem-solving and computing skills.
The ACM/ICPC Asia Regional Contests Shanghai site invite Asian students to meet, establish friendships and promote fair competition in programming.

Regional Contest Administration
  1. The contest is a two-to-four-tiered competition among teams of students representing institutions of higher education. The first tier includes the Regional Contests, which are held through November and early December of each year. The top-scoring team from each site of the Regional Contest automatically advances to the Contest Finals (the second tier). (A pre-regional tier is described in the next section titled "Local Area and School Level Programming Contests")
  2. Rules for the International Collegiate Programming Contest are determined by the ACM World Contest Finals Steering Committee, chaired by the "Contest Director". The Contest Director is solely responsible for interpreting the rules and for ruling on unforeseen situations.
  3. The Asia Region covers all territories and countries in Asia, such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, North Korea, Japan, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Vietnam, Turkey, Macau, Mongolia, Siberia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Israel, Iran, Middle-Eastern, and Central Asian Countries, etc.
  4. The Asia Regional Contest is administered under the direction of the "Regional Director," who is charged with executing Regional Contests within a set of rules and guidelines that have been approved by the Contest Director. The Asia Regional Director selects several contest sites in Asia each year to hold the Asia Regional Contests. The Asia Regional Director also appoints one Site Director to head the Steering Committee for each contest site. Site Directors are charged with responsibilities of planning, organizing and executing the Regional Contest according to ACM/ICPC Contest Operational Guidelines.
  5. Asia Regional Contests do not divide the region by political territories. A team that advances to the Contest Finals represents the team's university, not the team's political boundary.
  6. The recommended organization of the Steering Committee for each site usually consists of the following members:
        Honorary Chairs (optional),
        Chair (Regional Contest Site Director),
        Co-Chairs (Asia Regional Director is, by default, one of the Co-Chairs),
        Chief Judge and Judging Team,
        Executive Committee Chair (optional),
        System (Hardware/Software) Committee Chair,
        Registration Chair,
        Publicity Chair, and
        Activities/Operation Chair.
    The Steering Committee for each contest site may implement additional rules and a different committee organization pertaining to the contest site. However, the approval of the Asia Regional Director is required prior to the establishment of such rules or organization.
  7. The winning team of each contest site will automatically advance to the World Contest Finals and will receive travel support from ACM and its sponsors. Additional wildcard berths in the World Finals may be awarded to any contest team at the discretion of the Asia Regional Director. However, one of the teams from the university hosting the contest will be guaranteed higher priority for the wildcard berths to the Contest Finals if the winning team does not come from the university hosting the contest and if the university is in its first, third or sixth time of hosting (counting from November of 1998).  The wildcard teams may or may not receive travel support to the Contest Finals.
  8. Each university or college in Asia can organize teams to participate in the contests at any site or at multiple sites. However, a university or a college can have at most one team that advances to the World Finals.
  9. All team members must attend all contest activities as specified by the Chair of the Site Steering Committee in the Participation Information document for that contest site. Failure to attend any of the designated contest events will result in automatic disqualification.

Local Area and School Level Programming Contests
  1. Each country or larger territory area may organize a local programming contest with its winners advancing to the Regional Contest. If the area organizes a local contest, the area's local contest committee decides the number of teams to participate in the regional contest.
  2. A university or a college may have a School Level Programming Contest, with its winners advancing to the Local Area Programming Contest (or Asia Regional Contests.) The winners of the Local Area Programming Contest advances to the Asia Regional Contest. A team may participate in the Regional Contest, bypassing the School and Local Area levels, with the approval of the Chair of the Regional Contest Site Director..

Team Composition

These rules are written in U.S. English. Terms such as "baccalaureate degree" have different meanings in different countries. Team composition rules may vary at each contest site to accommodate these differences.
The Steering Committee at each site will interpret such differences.

  1. A member of the faculty of the institution sponsoring the team, called the "Coach", must certify the eligibility of contestants.
  2. The Coach will be the team representative and point of contact during Regional Contest activities. The Coach may appoint "associate coaches" or "guests" for the team.
  3. A team is not eligible to compete in the Regional Contest until the Registration Chair of the contest site has received all materials that certify eligibility from the coach.
  4. Contestant eligibility is determined DURING the academic term of the regional contest. Any questions of eligibility should be posed to the Registration Chair of the contest site.
  5. Each team consists of up to three "contestants".
  6. Each contestant must be a student enrolled in a degree program at the sponsoring institution with at least a half-time load. This rule is not to be construed as disqualifying co-op students who are on regular co-op activity away from the institution and who are otherwise in good academic standing.
  7. At least two contestants of each team must be undergraduate students before baccalaureate degree of U.S. equivalent.
  8. No contestant may have completed two years of post-baccalaureate studies or hold a graduate degree.
  9. Students who have competed in two World Finals are not eligible to compete in a Regional Contest or in World Finals.
  10. Registration will be done on a first-come-first-served basis. In order to obtain a contest roster (which represents as many different universities/colleges as possible), universities/colleges registering a second team will be informed of its status (entered or has not been accepted) within two weeks after the registration deadline.Universities/Colleges registering a third team requires approval from the Site Director, a fourth team will require approval from the Regional Director.
  11. Contestants are NOT required to be student members of ACM in order to be eligible to compete in a regional contest. Note, however, that all World Finals contestants are required to be student members of ACM one month before the World Finals.
  12. Each team that competes in a regional contest may make at most one substitution for a contestant who is unable or unwilling to compete, provided that the team Coach notifies the Site Registration Chair in advance. The resulting team must be properly constituted.

Conduct of the Regional Contests
  1. A minimum of six problems and a maximum of ten will be posted. Contestants will have five hours to complete the problems.(*)
  2. Contestants may bring resource materials such as books, manuals, and program listings.
  3. Contestants may not bring any machine-readable versions of software or data. (No personally owned diskettes or calculators are allowed).
  4. Contestants are not allowed to bring any kind of communication devices such as radio sets, cellular phones, and pagers.(*)
  5. During the contest, contestants are not allowed to converse with anyone except members of their team and personnel designated by the Contest Site Director. Systems support staff may advise contestants on system-related problems, such as explaining system error messages.
  6. While the contest is scheduled for five hours, the Contest Site Director has the authority to alter the length of the contest in the event of unforeseen difficulties. Should the contest duration be altered, every attempt will be made to notify contestants in a timely and uniform manner.(*)
  7. The team may be disqualified by the Regional Contest Site Director for any activity that jeopardizes the regional contest such as dislodging extension cords, unauthorized modification of contest materials, or distractive behavior.
  8. Problems will be posed in English. During the contest, all communications with contest officials must be in English. Contestants may bring electronic natural language translators that do not support math operations.

Scoring of the Contest
  1. Solutions to problems submitted for judging are called runs. Each run is judged as accepted or rejected, and the team is notified of the results.
  2. The Contest Judges are primarily responsible for determining the correctness of submitted runs. In consultation with the Contest Judges, the Chief Judge, and the Site Director, the Regional Director is responsible for determining the winners of the Regional Contests. The Regional Director's decisions after consulting with Judges, Chief Judge, and Site Director, are final.
  3. A contestant may submit a claim of ambiguity or error in a problem statement by submitting a clarification request. If the Judges agree that an ambiguity or error exists, a clarification will be issued to all contestants.
  4. Teams will be ranked according to the most problems solved. For the purposes of awards, or in determining qualifier(s) for the World Finals, teams who solve the same number of problems are ranked by least total time used and penalized. The total time used and penalized is the sum of the time consumed for each problem solved. The time consumed for a solved problem is the time elapsed from the beginning of the contest to the submittal of the accepted run plus 20 minutes of penalty for each rejected run. There is no time consumed for a problem that is not solved.
  5. Note that decisions regarding the acceptability of submitted solutions rest solely with the regional contest judging staff.
  6. Notification of accepted runs may be suspended at the appropriate time to keep the final results secret. A general announcement to that effect will be made during the contest. Notification of rejected runs will continue until the end of the contest.
  7. This rule is highly recommended: Team numbers should be assigned by drawing before the contest.  Team numbers should be used in the judging software. University names should not be used in the judging software and should not be revealed to the judging team during the contest.  The Contest Site Director is responsible for posting the matching list of team numbers and university names in the audience area within 60 minutes after the contest starts.
  8. Each Contest Site Director normally selects the first 6 or 10 teams to award prizes or certificates.  Each Contest Site Director may rank the teams in the top half or may rank teams that solve the median number of problems or higher.  The rest of the teams will be acknowledged, but not ranked.  Each Contest Site Director may make necessary adjustments for this rule.

Judging Team and Contest Problem Creation
  1. The Chief Judge and Site Director of each contest site are responsible for organizing the judging team. No member of the judging team, or anyone closely related to any team member, should be the coach of any contest team. It is highly recommended that the judging team consist of faculty from more universities and/or professionals from industries. The international judging team is also encouraged if possible. The size of the judging team is recommended to be equal to the number of contest problems in the contest.
  2. The Chief Judge and Site Director of each contest site is responsible for issuing "Call for Contest Problems" to university faculty members and industrial professionals at least three months prior to the contest date to solicit contest problems and solutions. The Chief Judge and the judging team shall keep the submitted contest problems confidential. The Chief Judge and the judging team make a final decision in selecting the contest problems, in modifying the submitted contest programs, or in adding to the contest problems. It is mandatory that no more than one contest problem shall be selected from the same submitting university or the same submitting industrial organization.

Contest Environment and Contest Languages
  1. The languages of the regional contests include all or some of the following:
    C++, C, Java and Pascal.
  2. Each team will use a single computer. All teams will have appropriately equivalent computing resources available.
  3. The contest language software will be made available to the contestants in advance of the Regional Contests.
  4. The contest site will provide each team with a sufficient number of diskettes for their use during the contest.
  5. More specific details on the contest environment, including RAM and hardware configurations, software versions, and printers will be sent along with a team's registration acknowledgment.
  6. Contest judging software (e.g., PC^2) will be provided by ACM/ICPC through Asia Regional Director.

Registration Fee

The registration fee of each team is RMB 800 Yuan or $100. A team can not compete in the regional contest if the registration fee is not paid by the start of the actual contest.(*)

Contest Finals Location and Attendance
  1. The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest Finals sponsored by IBM (World Finals), will be held in March 15-19, 2000, at the Radisson Twin Tower in Orlando, Florida, USA.(*)
  2. The winning teams of the World Finals will most likely receive large scholarships and prizes. For example, the March 1997 prizes ranged from $1,000 to 12,000 USD for the top 10 winning teams in the World Finals.

Violations of Regional Contest Rules and Procedures
  1. Contestants may report claims of rule violations or misconduct to the Asia Regional Director up to three days following the alleged infraction. Reports must be submitted in written form and be signed by the contestant(s) and their Team Coach.
  2. The Asia Regional Director will review the case and make a written recommendation to the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest Steering Committee within the next three days. The ICPC World Finals Steering Committee may, by a two-thirds vote, overturn the results of the regional contest no later than the end of the calendar year. Should the circumstances disqualify finalists, the ACM/ICPC Steering Committee will designate the teams that will advance to the Contest Finals from the regional contest under review.

Industrial Sponsorships

ACM/ICPC has received major sponsorship from IBM since July 1997 for World Finals events, ICPC organization and regional contest activities, and most of the software used for Regional Contests. IBM may or may not have additional funds available to support part of the regional contest activities for each site. The Asia Regional Contests are self-supporting for each contest site. Each Regional Contest Site Director is responsible for obtaining financial support from local industries, government entities, and universities. The industrial sponsorships of a few commercial companies for such financial support are restricted. The Regional Contest Site Director is recommended to find out such restrictions from the Asia Regional Contests Director. It is further required that the banner "AMC/ICPC sponsored by IBM" must be displayed in a prominent place at the contest site.

Last updated December 5, 1999
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