Thursday, December 8, 2011

How to get started with topcoder algorithm competitions?

Prerequisites :

You need the experience of solving 2 problems in any online judge (like Sphere Online Judge (SPOJ), Lightoj, Codeforces) in any programming language of your choice. That will give you an idea about how are your programs tested online. After getting some idea about how online judge works, you can very well start with Topcoder.

Getting into Topcoder Arena :

1) Register at TopCoder and login.
2) Download this applet : Topcoder arena.
3) Install JDK.
4) Now open the applet. It will download some updates and start the applet. You can now practice and compete!
5) If you face any Java security issues, follow these steps

You can know the timings of SRMs at Topcoder events calendar.

More about SRM :

Topcoders are divided based on their rating as Grey coders(Beginners), Green coders, Blue coders, Yellow coders and Red coders(PRO's). Coders are divided into two categories Division 1(where Red, Yellow and Blue coders compete) and Division 2(where Grey and Green coders compete). You can register for an SRM from 3 hours before the contest time to 5.01 minutes before the contest time. There are two phases in an SRM
1) coding phase 2) challenging phase. More explanation can be seen here.

Your base rating is 1200. Your rating changes according to your performance in SRMs.
You can get a complete idea of rating by looking at these graphs
venkateshb's graph, cegprakash's graph, dcp's graph

You can see your graph by typing the replacing your username in the above link.