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We learned a lot of things from hosting this regional last year. We have probably learned even more from hosting this year. We certainly have encountered some unexpected challenges. As a result, we would like to have your help. We would like to have an open discussion on a number of topics so that we can learn your opinions and make future decisions from an informed position.

Is there anyone interested in hosting starting in 2003? Typically a school hosts for three years -- we are/were planning to host in 2000, 2001, and 2002. We are supposed to find our replacement.

ACM's Programming Contest goals

ACM dreams of every school in every country in the world competing for the chance to advance in the International Programming Contest. As a result of their efforts, participation has increased. In the past most regions promoted at least two teams. With the new regions and the increased participation, many regions wind up promoting only one team to the 50 teams at International.

ACM distributes the left over "wild cards" by using them to encourage new participation (regions that have never participated before) and to reward the larger regions.

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We learned that some schools did not know about registration for this contest until it was almost to late. ACM does mass electronic mailings (via e-mail) to the addresses that are entered in the registration database. The obvious problem is that e-mail addresses change and that faculty change jobs.

Do you have any ideas on how to ensure that notifications reach every school?

Would you like to leave your chair's e-mail address?

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Registration/Early Discount

ACM recommends that Regional contests give teams a discount for registering early (hence the 1/3 discount). ACM uses registration at a date several weeks before the contest to determine attendance. Since this count plays a significant role in a Region's chance to promote more than one team. Funding for a Regional comes from team fees and an allotment from IBM based on the previous year's attendance.

Our problem is how to do the following:

  • How do we get people to register early?
  • How do we have a guarantee that a school/team is coming if we do not make payment in advance necessary?
  • How do we print certificates and badges without data?
  • How can we eliminate the early discount?
  • How can we not get stuck being policemen deciding who is late?
  • ACM requires that fees be paid, school account be created, coach name entered, and all team member information be entered for a registration to be considered complete. They also say this must be done a minimum of 7 days before the actual contest.

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Ramifications of schools bringing more teams

ACM states that only one team from an institution can be promoted. ACM would prefer to have fewer teams from more schools than more teams rom fewer schools. This year we have the same number of teams as last year. Considering the events of 9/11/2001, we consider ourselves lucky to have matched last year (tentatively).

Obviously, with fewer schools and the same number of teams, that means we have more teams from the schools that are coming. This introduces several problems.

  • Some schools might feel at a disadvantage because they can't afford to send as many teams as others.
  • How should prizes be awarded (one set per school or based on actual results)?

If space becomes an issue next year, we will follow ACM's recommendation and always allow a school to bring N teams before we allow another school to bring N+1 team. In other, everybody brings 1 team. Then everybody gets a shot at 2, then 3, etc. This year we had planned for 100 teams and have plenty of room. What about next year?

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Single site vs. multi-site

Our region has always held the contest in a single site (just like the International). Single site contests have advatages and disadvantages.

    Advantages of Single Site
  • More of an event (multi-day)
  • Sense of competition and importance when you see all the people
  • Meeting so many different others
  • Sharing of culture
  • Prizes
  • Banquet
  • Preparation for the International (single site)
  • Consistency of implementation

    Disadvantages of Single Site
  • Large numbers of people to feed and move around
  • Travel distances are usually longer
  • Few places willing to host
  • Limits on attendance

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This year we have tried numerous activities to "entertain" the teams and coaches. These are not meant to distract from the ability to practice -- just tp provide an avenue for teams that would prefer to relax.

Do you have any suggestions, preferences, etc for activities for next year.

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The statements and opinions included in these pages are those of 2001 South Central USA Regional Programming Contest Staff only. Any statements and opinions included in these pages are NOT those of Louisiana State University, LSU Computer Science, LSU Computing Services, or the LSU Board of Supervisors.
© 1999,2000,2001 Isaac W. Traxler

This page last updated 2001/12/03 17:54:22.