Yesterday, I attended the 2013 East Central North America regional ACM programming contest, representing the University of Toronto. (My teammates were Saman Samikermani and Hao Wei.) The scoreboard isn’t available online yet, nor are the problems, but I can say that we placed fourth overall, behind CMU, Michigan, and CMU again. (It’s a bit demoralizing that their B team is better than our A team, isn’t it?)
This was only the second time I’ve attended regionals. The first time was in my first year, when I was at Waterloo. In second year I was going through that phase when I didn’t want to do any contests at all, and last year I declined to be on U of T’s ACM team because I was too busy and had no time to practice. It’s a shame, because that was Jacob’s second time at World Finals, and I think he and I together would’ve been pretty good. Oh well.
Now for the burning question: will we advance? Nobody can say for sure at this point. In general, the first place team is guaranteed to advance from each region, but if there was a team in the region that won a medal at finals last year, then this year they guarantee at least two teams from the region will advance. That means CMU and Michigan are going to advance for sure, since CMU won a medal last year. In the past few years they have actually taken three teams from our region; Jacob says they do this when the third place team isn’t too far behind the second place team, but that’s hardly precise enough to predict anything, and at any rate these rules aren’t written down anywhere. He also says that our chance of advancing is more than 50% but less than 90%. I guess that sounds reasonable.
My friend is going to email me a copy of the problem set later tonight (she kept the paper; I didn’t) and I’ll try to post solution sketches to some of the problems. My team didn’t solve all the problems, though, and official solutions and test data aren’t yet available, so I can’t necessarily promise correct or complete solutions.
On the way back from regionals I taught some of the other U of T people how to play Durak. We also played a few hands of Hearts, in which I was reminded that I’m horribly inattentive and usually fail to stop people from shooting. Fun times.