~mroik@TTBP

Don't expect well written entries. I use this as a "personal diary", it simply happens that I keep it public.



26 april 2022

This year I was a volunteer at SWERC 2021-2022. I had lots of fun. On day one, registration day, we had to checkin every team, but only around 48% showed up, the rest came during the late registration the next day :/ . We had to check for allergies and give them their bags with the tshirts of the event (which they had to wear during the practice session and the actual contest), and a couple of pens. They could also submit a notebook up to 25 pages that they could use as reference during the competition. There were a few funny ones, the first is litherally a notebook with one page, it had a bash script with the flags for the compiler... Another funny one was when we asked a team if they had a reference to submit, and they were confused, after explaining to them what it is they panicked, "no one told us we could bring something like that", "if you don't have it is fine", "no, it's not fine, we need it". Fortunately there are multiple printing shops around the campus (this year SWERC was held at the Polytechnic of Milan). The last one that I remember is a notebook that had a vim config at the end of the notebook.

The teams were not the only ones coming in for registration day, there were the sponsors as well as the judges, one of which was Petr Mitrichev (https://codeforces.com/profile/Petr), he came back to the reception and asked me if he could have 2 more tshirts for his wife and daughter. I told him he could come back later after all the judges arrived since I didn't know if there were enough shirts. Later on I asked my supervisor if it was fine if I gave out more tshirts for the judges (there were 4 tshirts colors, yellow for the volunteers, black for the coordinators, green for the partecipants and red for the rest of the staff, tech team, judges, etc...) 'cause a judge that came with wife and daughter asked if he could have 2 more. "Ah Petr, yeah sure he's super VIP, he held first place on codeforces for many years", I didn't know who he was, after hearing that I felt so bad 'cause I denied him the tshirts on the first day... but more on that later.

During the 2nd day there was the opening ceremony and after that a break/late registration. And that part of the day was exhausting, the hall at the entrance was packed since only 48% showed up on registration day... Nevertheless we start registering everyone. By the end we had registered everyone except for a few coaches (that's fine since the only condition to compete was to be in 3 students). After the break the teams had to attend the talks of the sponsors (got a bunch of swag from the companies, 2 termos from Huawei, 1 for water and 1 with a filter for tea, a bag of the Oniro foundation, pencils and buttons from Bending Spoons, btw Bending spoons one of the few unicorns in Italy, and various stickers from everyone) while the halls were empty we started talking with some of the sponsors, more specifically the guys from bending spoons, HR was really nice, and the front end dev that came was really humble. After the talks it was lunch time, unfortunately the Bovisa part of the Polytechnic has 2 campi (see how I used the correct declension for campus lol), and the canteen was in the other one. So we were tasked with showing the way to the teams (but most of them ended up going on their own). I led the sponsors from huawei but halfwei (pun intended) to the canteen they asked me how far it was, and after hearing that it was a total of 15 minutes at walking speed they decided to eat at a diner nearby.

After that there was the practice session, and oh boy if we were tense for that one. When the clock reached the starting hour, the computers didn't unlock, everyone had the same problem for over 15 minutes, after the tech team broadcasted the updates to each computer they still weren't unlocking, after a while someone realized that for the update to take place we had to turn off the computers for 30 secs and then start them up, instead the tech team was rebooting them (remotely ofc). So I went computer to computer manually turning them off. After that some of the computers were not able to print, so many teams were not able to work on multiple problem sets at the same time (there is only 1 computer per team as of the rules). VSCode was also missing the extension for printing (I just told the partecipants to use a different editor to print, lmao). I was litherally sweating from the tension...

After the practice session they had their Q&A for actual competition and after taht a banquet at the Crowne Plaza hotel.

On day 3, entrance to the labs in which the competition took place was at 8 o'clock (I had to be there at 7:30, I had to wake up too early for this stuff). And at 9 the contest started, this time everything went as smooth as it could go. This time around I was placed in the biggest room, a grand total of 35 teams in one room with 3 competitors per team, 105 people inside + me and another volunteer (yellow tshirts). During the contest some of the staff would come inside and attach some helium ballons to the table of the teams based on which problem set they solved (a cute idea ngl, and helped out with spotting the top teams).

After the contest ended there was lunch, problems analysis and theclosing ceremony.

It was a fun experience and if they ever ask me if I want to volunteer again next year I'll gladly accept, that is if I'm not competing myself (this year I tried for selections at my uni but didn't prepare enough). If anyone here on tilde participated or will next year let me know, we could have a small meet up at SWERC next. year.

Oh one last note, at the end during the awarding of the medals, there was one of the coaches that looked so cute, and I wasn't sure if she was a student or a professor (see, at my uni you can attend as a coach only if you're a professor). So me and this other girl tried to talk with her but she was never alone, and we didn't want to ask her in front of her students. Then another volunteer came to us and asked what was going on, and after telling him he went and asked for us. We followed him, and when she said teacher and asked why, this guy said, "I guess he meant that as a compliment because you're pretty", I tried to make it less weird by saying young, but this guy threw me under the bus and insisted pretty, you should have seen the grin on his face. During that interaction it felt kinda awkward, hopefully that professor didn't take it the wrong way...