2000 Regional Contest Report

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Scoreboard


Australian Champions:  Harvey Tuch, Ka-shu Wong, and John Lai University of New South
Wales
New Zealand Champions: Andres James, Ben Handley and Michael Bevin University of Otago
Wild Cards: George Doukas
Jian He
John Dethridge
The University of Melbourne
     Bradley Baetz
Michael Chapman
Sarah Kummerfeld
University of Sydney

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!

This year, for the first time, we used PC Squared to administer the contest.  We met in Melbourne in July where technicians and site coordinators investigated what we had to do to utilise this software.  Running a contest in computer labs that are used for teaching during the week is no easy task, and those responsible for setting up the rooms are to be thanked and congratulated for their efforts.  It was a steep learning curve, but at most sites PC2 was up and running, and made contest administration much easier.

 

Site Reports:
 

Adelaide from Paul Calder

This year we had 7 teams competing at the Adelaide sit (up from 5 last year).  Furthermore, for the first time we had 3 teams from Adelaide University to give the local Flinders University teams some competition.

Another change for this year was the use of the PC2 software for submission and judging.

After a practice run to test the PC2 system and familiarise teams with the lab environment, the contest got away right on schedule at 11:30 Adelaide time.  Our first correct submission landed on the judge's desk around 35 minutes into the contest.  When the pizza arrived at half-time, we had 6 correct submissions, including 3 from one team.  By the time the clock stopped, we had 12 correct submissions, including at least one from each of the 7 teams.

Problem C proved to be the easiest, with all but one team submitting a successful solution.  Problem A was solved by 4 teams, and problem B by two teams.  Two teams were close to solving other problems but were beaten by the clock.

Technically, the contest went without a hitch, thanks to the support of technical staff, judges, and helpers.  In particular, PC2 performed flawlessly on the day and made the submission and judging process very simple.

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.

 

Auckland from Phil Robbins

As usual we had a healthy contingent of teams from University of Auckland and University of Waikato, including the returning New Zealand champions who had been to the finals in Florida.  The hosts, AUT were represented as were Victoria University in Wellington.

Our first correct submission came in after 24 minutes.  The leading teams mostly managed to solve problems A, B and C but were stuck with the others.  One team had 8 unsuccessful submissions.  The winners, Honourable Mention from University of Auckland, solved their 3 problems quickly, but had 6 unsuccessful attempts each at two other problems.

We had a good turn out of helpers from the competing universities.  Thanks to Michael Dinneen and Radu Nicolescu from Auckland, and Bill Rogers from Waikato who did the judging, to Gordon Grimsey and Ron Zucker from AUT who helped with the contest,  to Raewyn Boersen who arranged the food, and to Gary Stevenson and Paul Fallon who provided technical help in setting up the contest and on the day.

PC2 worked well and made contest administration much easier.  We were able to make presentations to our site winners soon after the contest.

 

Brisbane from Chris Ho-Stuart

There were fourteen teams from four universities at the Brisbane site this year. The Universities competing were Bond University, Griffith University, Queensland University of Technology, and University of Queensland.

The local site winner was Bond, with 3 problems in 370 minutes.

A good day was had by all, marred only by insufficient brain food (M&Ms) for hard working contestants. Thanks to the event sponsor, IBM, for making it possible, and for the prizes and software they provided for all participants. Brisbane site also thanks local software house GBST - Global Banking & Securities Transactions, for their support of team entry fees, and the team coaches who all showed up to help constrain the chaos on the day!

 

Dunedin from Chris Handley

We had a disappointing turnout at Dunedin this year, made even smaller by the last minute cancellation of the Christchurch team for medical reasons.  PC^2 worked well, if somewhat ponderously and strained our somewhat memory challenged (64Meg) machines to the limit.

The winning team (Bam!) contains both participant from the World Finals in Eindhoven in 1999 and a 100 level student -- an interesting mix.  Unfortunately there was a problem with the 4th problem they tackled and they wasted a lot of time with what was a correct program being rejected.  Given how close some of their other submissions were, I suspect they could  have got at least one more out in the time they had left.

Thanks to IBM for sponsoring the contest and for the goodies and prizes for the teams, to Kaye Saunders for the enormous amount of work she put in, not only with the Dunedin site but also collating results from the other 8 sites,  to Stewart Fleming for keeping PC^2 happy and to Paul Ashton who did most of the judging, leaving me time to be head judge and coordinate the other sites.

Congratulations to the Australian teams -- we look forward to doing battle with you in Vancouver next year.
 

 Launceston from Robyn Gibson

We had four teams at Launceston, all from the University of Tasmania (3 from Launceston and 1 from Hobart).  Everyone had done a lot of hard work in their preparation and this showed in the results.  There were a total of 9 problems solved (a record for this site), all teams solved at least one problem, and there were two teams who solved three problems with times that placed them in the top twenty for the region. On the technical side, we found that using PC^2 made the business of submitting solutions and receiving feedback trouble free for the teams, so that they could concentrate on the problems - all of the teams liked this.

Thanks to our technical staff, Tony Gray and especially Scott Pearce who put in a lot of work to get PC^2 running smoothly for our site.

Thanks as well to the judges (Peter Foster and Shuxiang Xu) and of course the logistics team who provided vital support in the form of food and drink throughout the day (Jacky Hartnett, Neville Holmes, Yue Xu, Soonja Yeom).
 

 Sydney from Eric  McCreath

The Basser Department of Computer Science at the University of Sydney hosted the competition for the Sydney area. Teams entered from, the University of New South Wales, Wollongong University and The University of Sydney.

Before the contest we joined together for lunch,  this consisted of a range of healthy food(thanks Judy Kay and family). Teams where eager to start and tension mounted as 1pm approached. 10, 9, ... 3, 2, 1. The contest began.  Silence quickly descended upon the labs; all you could hear was the fury of intense thought.

An hour into the contest submissions rolled in as teams solved the easier problems.  The dust settled and the team from Wollongong University emerged on top with three problems solved and the lowest cumulative time. This layed down the challenge for the other teams. They needed to solve another problem to defeat the "Gongboys".

In the last hour of the contest a problem occurred with the judging software,  teams would now need to send their program directly to the judges.  This also meant that final results would not be know until Monday. It turned out to be a very close contest between "Gamma"(UNSW), "Alpha"(UNSW), and "usyd - Team 1"(Uni. of Sydney) all solving 4 problems. "Gamma" from UNSW emerging on top.

Overall we had a great day. Thanks to Judy Kay, Bob Kummerfeld, and Jonathan Kummerfeld for helping out. Also thanks to Greg Konstantinidis from Velocity for helping out with the judging.