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Proposal: Coding Contest

Started by Jonathan Birch, 2004-03-28T15:47:00-06:00 (Sunday)

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Jonathan Birch

As I see it, CAOS has become rather stagnant. In an attempt to promote some constructive thought, I'm proposing the institution of a periodic coding contest.

Prizes can be drawn from the pool of random objects that CAOS seems to accumulate (there was a mention previously of some manuals that might be used as prizes for something). If the contest is run on a bi-weekly basis then the awarding of prizes and publishing of rules for subsequent contests can be made to conincide with the regular CAOS meetings.

Rules should probably be similar to the obfuscated C code contest, (i.e. low maximum source code length, code must compile in a pre-defined environment, nothing intended to damage the system its run on, etc.). Different goals should be set for each successive contest, and the required language for entries in each contest should probably rotate between languages used in current CS classes (C, C++, VB, Scheme, etc.)

Submissions could be made by setting up a drop-box on the SIUE network, or by setting up an FTP drop. Submitted entries to each contest could be posted through this site.

I can come up with some more specific ideas if there's an interest in this, but some possible contest goals might include:

1. Writing the most difficult to understand "hello world" program in Scheme.

2. Writing the most impressive looking 'Demo' (in the 90's Finnish sense) program in VB.

3. Writing the most impressive/innovative display of a fractal in VB or C++.

4. Writing an elegant quine in C without using file-ops.

Anyone interested?


I would be all over this if it didn't put me over the "there is only 24 hours in the day" time limit.

but definately a good idea.


Jonathan Birch

A quine is a program that outputs itself. The term is sometimes also used to refer to variations on this concept, such as programs that output programs that when compiled and run will output the original.

There are many trivial ways to write a quine, the most obvious being to write a program that reads its own source and then outputs it. Writing an elegant and non-trivial quine is somewhat more difficult though. (Still, in retrospect this may not be the best idea for a challenge. There are standard known forms for quines in many languages.)


that gives me somewhat of a headache to think about.


You can upload code directly to this site if you wish. There is a new module out now. It was a previous module that was modified by Novell. It's called Novell Forge. http://forge.novell.com/modules/news/. They are using a different theme on that site, but y'all should be able tonavigate it. Ti see parts if that module, run your cursor over the link in the menu any maodule name with "xf" in the beginning is part of that mod. ie .../modules/xf... It looks like SourceForge.

Another suggestion would be to have a theme creation contest. We had a logo creation contest a long while back. I think a new theme would be cool. You can mix a number of technologies, ie flash, html, xhtml, php, ... There are guides on the xoops website (www.xoops.org).

Retired webmaster of CAOS.

R. Andrew Lamonica

Here is a simple "Quine" without File IO

The Full Source

I cannot get the formatting correct on this site and it keeps adding "\", but you get the idea.

char q[] =
... <- Many numbers ommited


using namespace std;

int main()
int i;
cout << "char q[] =\n{\n";
for(i=0; i cout << int(q[i]) << "," << endl;
cout << q;
return 0;

Elizabeth Weber

Geez Andrew, you could at least wait until the contest starts, or are you just trying to invoke an intimidation factor?  :-P

No prize for you.
~Elizabeth Weber

R. Andrew Lamonica

I found the paper that I got my Quine Idea from.  I read this in Senior Project a few years ago and remembered the idea, but not the authors name or paper name.  Then, today, I saw the title of the paper in a news feed and here it is.


Elizabeth Weber

Some of you may already be registered with this site, but for those of you who aren't and are looking to participate in a coding contest with,  :-o Prizes  :-o

QuoteSpringer-Verlag is running a web promotional contest
where they will be giving away ten copies of Skiena's book
"The Algorithm Design Manual" to people who answer three problems
from our book "Programming Challenges: The Programming Contest
Training Manual".  
        These problems are very simple (trust us, we designed them
that way) and the graphics are, well, interesting (trust us, we did
not design them).  
        The direct link to the contest, which runs until June 1st is:
        A  teaser promoting the contest can be found atL

Good luck!

ACM Valladolid On-line Judge team

P.D.: Remember you must do a new registration for sending problems
to the new (but almost 400 problems are already waiting you!!!)

ACM ICPC Live Archive


P.D.: You can also try at any time and organize your own contest at

~Elizabeth Weber

Jonathan Birch

Be careful with this. It only lets you try once with any given email address.
(I found out the hard way when I registered the first time and then had to leave it.)

The questions themselves aren't hard, although they're more like "analytical thinking problems" than programming problems.

The ICPC is interesting. I've been thinking about that since I saw the posting on the wall in the EB. It might be fun to put together a team, but I have no idea where I'll find time for that...