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2005 South Central USA Regional Programming Contest

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  Welcome to the South Central Regional Programming Contest! We are very happy to be your host again. But this year we have a twist. We are co-hosts with the University of Texas at Arlington. Together, we hope that everyone has a good time and that you all learn something. We have worked very hard to try to see that both are possible.

You might wonder what is going on and why the change. LSU has enjoyed hosting the regional contest as a single site for the last few years. Having all the students together in one place produces a phenomenal contest environment.

So why change? Times change. Circumstances change. In the past, our region was small enough that the various schools could send a team to the regional each year. Back then, a school had to work very hard to train a team. Interest in computing has exploded. Schools can field multiple quality teams. But it costs a lot of money to send multiple teams across this region. So, to provide more students an opportunity to compete, the regional is starting the transition to a distributed contest.

The transition will take a few years. It takes time to acquire the resources to host a contest. University of Texas at Arlington will be the first school to partner with us. they plan to host 20 teams this year. Teams that have to travel the longest distance to reach LSU will be given preference for competing at Arlington. The remaining teams will compete at LSU. Note: To be eligible to compete at UTA, you must be registered by October 20, 2005.

Over time, we anticipate sites in Oklahoma, west Texas, central Texas and east Texas join LSU to host a distributed contest for this region. As this evolves, the contest will probably shift to a single day event instead of the current two days of activities.

This change is being made to help our region grow its participation. So start preparing more students for future contests.

This year, as in years past, our goal is to host a contest that will be the ultimate warm-up for the ACM International Programming Contest. The winner from this contest will advance to the 2006 International Programming Contest (and maybe other teams depending on the number of schools that participate, the number of teams that compete, and the number of teams that solve at least one problem).

This regional contest consists of a lot of different groups. Officially it includes three complete states and a part of another. We have schools that have graduate programs and schools that don't. We have males and females here. We have numerous nationalities. We have students who are majoring in a number of different areas. Some have practiced for a long time to get here - others much less. But we all are interested in computing, in working together, in transcending differences and furthering the future that computing can bring to all of us.

This contest is a chance for each of the contestants to test their skills at comprehension, analysis, problem solving, coding, debugging, resource management, self control, and communication. This is also a chance for coaches to measure the effectiveness of their teaching and leadership.

On Saturday, we will crown a number of specific champions:

  • Overall champion
  • Best finish for a school with a graduate CS program
  • Best finish for a school without a graduate CS program
  • State champions (Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma)
  • First to solve each problem

Regardless of who takes which titles, everyone here will be a winner! Each student will have won by gaining the experience of working as part of a team to accomplish a goal. Each coach will have won by having the opportunity to work with bright, motivated students. Each team that practiced and competed will have already won the right to represent their school. Each university and college will have won through being represented by their teams and coaches. Our region will have won via the excellent skill and good sportsmanship that will occur.

The metric will not be how many problems you solve. It will not be where you finish in the final standings. I am sure many will point at these, but success will be best measured by how much of your potential you achieve and how effective you function as a team. Remember - you will go home with your team members.

Along with being a host for this contest, I am also a coach, and now I am going to tell you what I have told the LSU students who have worked hard for the chance to compete in this contest: You should all stop and realize that you are already winners. You have already been chosen to represent your school. This means that you have shown ability, a willingness to work for an important goal, and a desire to do your best. Just being here means that you have made it to the semi-finals!

Thank you for competing and making this contest necessary!

Now for some details:

We have tried to make this contest less of a hassle for the teams and the coaches by providing systems for each team. This solves many problems:

  • Teams don't have to borrow systems to use for the contest
  • No fear over loss or damage of school equipment
  • No time spent building the system for the contest
  • No all nighter on Friday while getting your system certified
  • Almost equal systems (performance and software)

With any luck, the contestants will have a good night's sleep before the contest (one of the reasons that practice ends at 10:00 PM). By the way, the labs that we will be using are all public access student labs (normally) or computerized classrooms. You will have plenty of room to do your work.

We hope that you also agree that the many advantages of this environment outweigh the few disadvantages (if you don't agree yet, think about gathering all your stuff up after the contest :).

Friday will include check-in, open practice, official welcome, and the formal covering of the rules (and maybe more if we can figure out how).

Each team member and coach will receive a t-shirt (team members must wear their shirts during the contest on Saturday). We will have prizes for the top spots and we hope to continue the tradition of a prize for each team that is the first to solve a problem.

Once again, welcome! If we can do anything for you, please ask.

Thanks to:

  • IBM
    • Clearlake Division for developing the problem set and providing judges
    • Entire company for supporting the ACM Programming Contests
  • University of Texas at Arlington
    • Gil Carrick
  • Louisiana State University
    • Center for Computation and Technology (CCT)
      • High Performance Computing
      • Office of Telecommunications
      • Technology Support Center
      • Enterprise Solutions Group
    • Computer Science Department
    • LSU Library
  • All the volunteers who have worked so hard to make this happen
  • You - for being here

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The statements and opinions included in these pages are those of Hosts of the South Central USA Regional Programming Contest only. Any statements and opinions included in these pages are not those of Louisiana State University or the LSU Board of Supervisors.
© 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 Isaac Traxler