Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What programming languages can I use?
    You may use any mainstream programming language under any mainstream operating system. Generally, the programming languages listed in Wikipedia are acceptable, provided that a compiler is available on at least one mainstream operating system. The popular variants of Linux, Windows and Mac OS are considered mainstream.
  2. What is the acceptable team size?
    The competition only accepts individual entries. You cannot form teams. You are also not allowed to discuss the questions or answers with anyone until after the competition. Your answer must come from your personal effort and not the joint effort of a team.
  3. What operating systems, compilers or editors will be provided?
    None. You are not allowed to use any electronic devices during the competition. This includes laptops, computers, mobile phones and calculators. You are required to write the answers on paper.
  4. May I bring books or use an e-book?
    You may bring physical books for reference, but you are not allowed to use any electronic devices during the competition. E-books are not allowed. Only physical books are allowed. Electronic devices are prohibited to prevent attempts to solicit assistance from outside the competition venue. Your answer must come from your personal effort and not the joint effort of a team.
  5. If all languages are allowed, why are the sample answers in C++ and Java only?
    The sample answers need to be readable to the largest group of people. Java and C++ are the most popular and are commonly a part of university syllabus. If the sample answers were written in a very rare programming language, only a small group will benefit from the sample answers.
  6. What are the most important things in answers? Is it design pattern, naming convention, programming style?
    The most important thing is to read and understand the question. The second most important thing is to solve the problem that the question requires you to solve. More than 90% of answers are rejected purely based on these two conditions. The same two conditions also determine the winner. Refer to the answer in the next question for further explanations.
  7. How can I possibly write source code on paper? It is impossible to write source code that has perfect syntax without a computer and a compiler.
    A credible answer is an answer that solves the problem or would be likely to solve the problem with a little additional work. The effort required to fix a syntax error or an incorrect function name is very small compared to the effort required to fix bad program logic. Focus on the important things. If you don't have a program that has sufficient logic to solve the problem, there is no point in worrying about a missing semicolon. While syntax errors and incorrect names do reduce points for answers, no answer has ever been rejected because of too many of these. Answers are rejected because of missing logic.
    We understand that you may not have syntax-perfect code, that you may forget function names and that you may be very slow writing code on paper. But the competition is not a test of your ability to remember syntax, function names or well known algorithms. It is not a test of your programming or typing speed. It is not a test of your trial and error coding skills of using IDEs, compilers and debuggers. It is a test of your problem solving and programming skills. Writing source code on paper forces you to think ahead and plan your code. It prevents trial and error coding. It limits your speed so much that you cannot afford to write junk code. You must only write meaningful and effective code. The competition is the upper limit test of your programming skills. It is a test that can clearly show your programming abilities. It is the thing that separates the great from the average.
  8. How many questions do I have to answer?
    You are not required to answer all questions. You may answer any number of questions that you prefer.
  9. What is the purpose of the programming competition?
    The competition exposes university students to real world programming problems. The questions in the competition are the types of problems that programmers have to solve at work. The second objective is to identify and recruit good programmers. The competition identifies good programmers better than any other interview methods available.
  10. What do I have to bring to the competition?
    Aside from your programming skills, please also bring any books that you think you may need. You may also want to bring a jacket or sweater. The competition hall can be quite cold on a cold days. Stationery such as pencils, pens, erasers and papers are provided. Breakfast, lunch and tea break are also provided.
  11. Do I have to pay any fee to join the competition?
    No, you do not have to pay anything to join the competition. In addition, breakfast, lunch and tea break are also provided.
  12. How long is the competition?
    The competition starts at 10:00 AM and ends at 6:00 PM. The duration is 8 hours. You may leave early or stay until 6:00PM. Light breakfast will be served before the start of the competition. Lunch break and tea break are during the competition. You are allowed to have the meals, skip them or just have a quick meal. The decision is entirely yours. But you are not allowed to bring food into the competition hall.
  13. How do I know if I win anything?
    The winners will be announced during the prize presentation ceremony. We will send out invitations to the prize presentation ceremony when the venue and date are confirmed.
  14. I wish to drive to the competition venue. Where can I park my car?
    You can park your car in Wisma Genting's car park. To waive the parking fee, pass your parking ticket to the registration counter on 25th Floor. Before you exit the building, please validate your ticket at the parking ticket machine located at the Maybank side of the ground floor.
  15. What preparations do I need before the competition?
    Please read the terms and conditions, register for the competition and attempt past questions. If you cannot find the questions, please search for the word "Question".
  16. How do I know whether my registration was completed?

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The Competition is now open for registration.
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Closing date on 15 Oct 2017

If you have any questions, please email