1999 Regional Contest Report

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Scoreboard

The South Pacific Regional Contest was held on Saturday September 18th at 9 sites in Australia and New Zealand.  Our representatives at the World Finals in Florida will be:

Australian and Regional Champions
Bitter, Cynical and Coding, University of Queensland
Andrew Over, Anthony Towns and David Starkoff.

Wild Card
Mathematician, Lawyer, Physicist, University of Melbourne
Andrew Rogers, John Detheridge and John Fitzgerald.

New Zealand Champions
Team X (entered as three two), The University of Waikato
Matthew Browne, Perry Lorier and Jonathan Purvis

 

Contest Report

In the South Pacific Region, we run the contest simultaneously at 9 sites, 7 in Australia and 2 in New Zealand.  The region is large geographically although it has a comparatively small population.  There is a 4 hour time difference between Perth in the west and New Zealand in the east, and to start the contest at the same actual time, we have 4 different local start times!

Here are reports from most of the sites:


Tasmania from Mike Cameron-Jones

This year's event was held in Launceston with teams from both campuses participating. The result on the day was that the Hobart "Bohemiath" team, with two-thirds of last year's site champion team, again overcame any disadvantage of playing away, to take provisional first place at the site by a few minutes from the local "2 guys, a girl and a PC place" team. With all teams getting at least one solution accepted on the day, congratulations are due to all the site's contestants.


Dunedin from Chris Handley

Overall the contest at Dunedin went well. All the teams enjoyed themselves, even the teams that did not get anything out. I think that, being New Zealanders, they are glad they do not participate in Australian voting, particularly as many of them had trouble getting it right. [Note : We had a problem on Australian Voting.]


Auckland from Phil Robbins

We had a visit from Brenda Chow (BJ) from IBM who drops in on a number of regional contests during the year.  I hope she enjoyed New Zealand as much as Bill Clinton did, despite having to drive a car with the steering wheel on the "wrong" side!
Our contest was a close run affair with team X from the University of Waikato getting a winning third solution with their final submission, just defeating the team from Victoria University in Wellington who had the fastest time for 2 solutions.   We later discovered that two teams had been given incorrect rejections, so our final placings have changed after verification.
Team X will represent New Zealand in Florida.


Adelaide from Paul Calder

In total, we had 5 teams competing at the Adelaide site, comprising 3 from Computer Science at Flinders and 2 from Engineering at Flinders.  It was somewhat disappointing that no teams were present from other Adelaide universities.
The contest got away right on schedule at 11:30 Adelaide time, with the teams scattering to digest the problems and plan their approach.  As expected, some teams choose to work on problems in tandem, while others assigned individuals to different problems.
Our first submissions arrived at the judge's desk around 80 minutes into the contest, but it wasn't until the 174th minute that we had our first correct solution.  By about 3 hours in, energies were beginning to flag, which made the arrival of the pizzas all the more welcome.  After a quick feast, the teams went back to work with a vengance.
A last-minute flurry of activity saw 2 teams with near-correct solutions.  However, the judges were not (quite) convinced and the teams had to be satisfied with just 1 solution each.
Technically, the contest went without a hitch, thanks to the support of technical staff, judges, and helpers.
Overall, most people reported that they enjoyed the day, found the contest worthwhile and stimulating, and would be interested in competing again in future.  From the university's point of view, we were very happy to be involved in the contest and have every intention of hosting again next year.


Sydney from James Richard Curran

We had 15 teams competing this year, predominantly from Sydney University and the University of New South Wales, with one team from the University of Wollongong.  Our first correct entry from the New South Sharks (UNSW) came in in just 29.4 minutes.  This team turned out to be the best on the day, submitting 3 correct solutions quite quickly but being unable to crack any others for the rest of the competition.  Most teams came close to correct solutions for various questions.  No submissions were made for the Isotopes problem and there were no correct solutions for problem C, E, or H. Overall the University of New South Wales performed the strongest, with the one team from the University of Wollongong coming 3rd.  Everybody (even the frustrated) enjoyed the day and the competition.


Brisbane from Chris Ho-Stuart

At twelve noon, ten teams opened the sealed envelopes to embark on their five hour marathon of problem solving.
After 35 minutes the first submission came in -- a reject! After that, there seemed no end. The contest runners were continually busy ferrying submissions, clarifications, and printouts between the teams and the judges. For those who could manage the time to look at the scene, it was quite a sight. Thirty students with furrowed brows, absent mindedly munching on M&Ms as they shuffled printouts and problems, or typed their solutions, or stared in despair at a screen of code which was not yet  behaving as they wished.
Tension mounted quickly at the 65 minute mark. The leader board at the front of the room showed one team with a correct submission! Soon results starting coming in from other sites, and these also were added to the leader board.
After 4 and a half hours, there were two categories of contestant. Some were exhausted, and just wanted it to end! Others were flying on adrenelin, madly trying to get that last submission which would earn them glory in the final results.
And then it was over. After a collective sigh of relief, participants started to take stock as the judges ran through the batch of last minute submissions. The general view was -- this was FUN! And we want to do it  AGAIN. But after we've had a year to rest...
Well done to all the teams who took part, and to all those who helped the whole event run to completion.
End results: the University of Queensland were our local winners, taking out first and second places. Griffith University came second, with their two teams coming third and fourth. Queensland University of Technology was third, taking fifth and sixth. Equal seventh place to two teams from University of Queensland and two teams from Queensland University of Technology. All teams can take satisfaction from their participation in this event.


Perth from Shamim Khan

The contest at the Perth site went well despite one or two early hiccups which caused a 35 minute delayed start. Three out of the four universities in Perth with CS departments - UWA, Murdoch and Edith Cowan sent a total of 10 teams - the notable exception for the second year running was Curtin University. One of the teams from UWA solved two problems to come first with a Murdoch team coming second.
Judging from the feedback received, everyone seemed to have enjoyed the contest. A number of contestants who also did it last year thought the problems were "harder and longer" this year.


Canberra from Ramesh Sankaranarayana

We had four teams participating, all from ANU. All the teams had a good time. They enjoyed having a go at the problems. The pizza and snacks were most welcome, as were the gifts. Perhaps the problems were a bit harder this year. We sure would love to host this again next year.