Programming Puzzles & Competitions



Instructor: Ted Baker

Course Website:

Office hours: TBA, and by e-mail and appointment

Office location: 207A LOV

Phone: 644-5452


TA: Daniel Rosenthal

Office location: 207 LOV

Fridays12:30-1:45PM103 Love Building

In addition, there will be some meetings in the undergraduate majors computer lab, at times to be arranged, for simulated programming contests. Students will be expected to participate in at least one of these, and encouraged to particpate in the regular FSU ACM programming contest.


Every year the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) holds an international programming contest called the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC). The ACM ICPC is designed to test students' ability to write and program algorithms. There are two rounds of competition in the ICPC. The first round is the Regional competition, where teams in the same geographic region compete against each other. There are multiple Regional events held every year, with one for each region (FSU competes in the Southeast USA region). There is then a World competition for the top teams from Regionals, usually one or two from each region, depending on the size of the region (the Southeast USA region usually advances two teams to compete at Worlds). Both the Regional and World events are single day events. All Regional contests take place in the Fall. Teams who do well at Regionals advance to Worlds, which is held in the Spring. Each team at the ICPC is allowed up to three members, with at most one graduate student. Students from FSU are selected to be on FSU's Regional Team based on their performance at the FSU ACM Programming Contest, which is held once every semester.

Course Description

This course is intended to prepare students for the ACM ICPC. We will study and design solutions to problems from previous ACM contests (both ICPC and FSU), as well as other puzzle-like problems not necessarily from a specific contest. We will also run some practice contests for students in the class, using the Computer Science Majors Lab. Grades will be based primarily on attendance and participation.

Undergraduate students registered for this class are required to obtain and submit to the Registar a form requesting S/U grading.

Textbooks (both optional)

Programming Challenges
Steven S. Skiena and Miguel Revilla (ISBN-13: 978-0387001630)

Introduction to Algorithms
Thomas H. Cormen, Charles E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest, and Clifford Stein (ISBN-13: 978-0262032933)


ACM ICPC Homepage (

ACM ICPC Southeast USA Regional Contest Homepage ( ( - a website that runs programming contests online

FSU ACM Homepage (

Computer Science Majors Lab (Room 006 in the basement of the Love building)

Computer Science Grad Lab (Room 104 on the first floor of the Love building)

Other Information

The University requires that the following text, which applies to all courses, be included in every course syllabus.


Excused absences include documented illness, deaths in the immediate family and other documented crises, call to active military duty or jury duty, religious holy days, and official University activities. Accommodations for these excused absences will be made and will do so in a way that does not penalize students who have a valid excuse. Consideration will also be given to students whose dependent children experience serious illness.


The Florida State University Academic Honor Policy outlines the University's expectations for the integrity of students' academic work, the procedures for resolving alleged violations of those expectations, and the rights and responsibilities of students and faculty members throughout the process. Students are responsible for reading the Academic Honor Policy and for living up to their pledge to ". . . be honest and truthful and . . . [to] strive for personal and institutional integrity at Florida State University." (Florida State University Academic Honor Policy, found at


Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should:

  1. register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center;
  2. bring a letter to the instructor indicating the need for accommodation and what type.

This should be done during the first week of class. This syllabus and other class materials are available in alternative format upon request.

For more information about services available to FSU students with disabilities, contact the:

Student Disability Resource Center
874 Traditions Way
108 Student Services Building
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4167
(850) 644-9566 (voice)
(850) 644-8504 (TDD)

T. P. Baker. ($Id: syllabus.html,v 1.1 2008/10/28 18:50:52 baker Exp baker $)