FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q. When is the next ACM Programming Contest?

A. The South Pacific Regional Final is held each September. Teams compete in the Regional Final in order to qualify for the World Finals.

To qualify for the Regional Final, teams must enter one of three divisional contests to be held in August.  Teams from the top four universities at each divisional contest will be invited to compete in the final.

Dates for current year.


Q What happens at a contest?

A. The competition is for teams of 3 tertiary students who try to solve computer programming problems over 5 hours. The full rules are shown on the ACM web pages. There are also local rules for our region.

Each team has one computer and 5 hours to works on the problems, usually 8 or more in number. Languages available are C++ and Java. The team solving the most problems in the least time is the winner.


Q. Does my team have to contain three members?

A. Under the current rules each and every team must have three members, no more, no less.  Teams with fewer members may compete, but may NOT qualify for the next level except in very special circumstances.


Q What do I get if I enter?

A. The main aim of the contest is to provide you with the opportunity of advancing to the ACM ICPC Finals contest as a representative of the region. This is a very prestigious event, which has been held in the USA, Europe, Asia and Africa. You might also qualify to win regional or site prizes. We also aim to have fun, so if you enter expect an enjoyable afternoon pitting your programming skills against those of other students. You may also get a t-shirt, an IBM gift, experience and a chance to meet other students.


Q. What do I get if I win?

A. We will have teams qualifying for the next finals, and prizes from IBM for our top teams. The number of finals places and the number of prizes depend on how many teams enter.  We normally have 2 places, but with the increased worldwide interest in the competition, we would probably need over 120 teams to achieve a 3rd finals place. Why not encourage friends from different institutions to compete?


Q. Can a South Pacific region team win the World Finals?

A. Teams from the South Pacific Region have twice won the World Final, having only been competing since 1989. The competition is very strong with competing teams coming from all over the world.


Q. Must I be a computer science or information science student to enter the contest?

A. No, students of any discipline are welcome to enter as long as you meet the other entry requirements.


Q. What makes a good team?

A. You need to be able to:

- solve problems
- write code
- test programs
- cooperate with other team members

Each person needs to have some of these skills (the more the better!), but finding a team whose skills blend is very important.


Q. How do I enter?

A. If you are in the South Pacific Region (Australia or New Zealand), enter through our registration page.  Teams from other parts of the world should enter in their own region.


Q. What does it cost me?

A. The cost is $90 per team. Institutions may pay for their teams - check before entry! The deadline for entry is 3 days before the competition. NOTE Australian teams have to pay GST on the entry fee.


Q. What should I do if I have a question that isn't answered on this site?

A. Contact one of these people or one of the contact people at your local contest site.