21 february 2023
From Friday 17th to Sunday 19th I was volunteering at SWERC 2022-2023. It was lots of fun, I did this last year as well but this time around the organization was way better.
On the first day there was the team registrations and opening ceremony. The registration went pretty smooth, apart from some teams not getting there in time almost everyone registered on the first day. After that the opening ceremony started, some of the sponsors had some time to advertise their company to prospective employees and the organizers had time to explain SWERC to new comers. After that the opening banquet started and we had dinner altogether. I might've had too much wine with a spanish contestant that was sitting next to me, though I didn't drink enough to make a fool of myself, at least not that much of a fool anyway.
On the second day we had late registrations (for the teams that couldn't make it on the first day) and then moved to the practice session. This session is meant to test the infrastructure set up by the tech team, so that on contest day everything goes as smoothly as possible. After that some remarks on the rules, what to do and what not to do on contest day (what gets you disqualified). Followed by the last event of the day, which was not mandatory to attend, a quiz in which another volunteer and I hosted as MCs.
The third and last day was contest day. The day before I asked to be moved to another room, one of the bigger ones. Despite it being bigger it was actually easier to monitor, in the smaller rooms the desk were in rows and a single desk was pretty much as long as all the width of the room. That made it difficult to pass printouts to the teams in the middle of the room, while the bigger rooms had a corridor that made it easy to get to any team. About the printouts, because all teams have only one computer to work with they are allowed to print out code so that they can work on multiple problems in parallel. After the contest there was the showing of the final rankings (at one hour to the end the leaderboard is frozen so contestants are only able to see the rankings up to the end of the 4th hour), it is always pretty hype because of the way the showing is set up. For each problem there's a cell colored either white, green, red or yellow. White being the problem was never attempted by the team, green having sovled the problem prior to the 5th hour, red having tried and failed to solve the problem prior to the 5th hour and yellow being it not solved before the 5th hour but attempted in the 5th hour. Starting from the last place the cells that are yellow are reveald to see if they're green or red. If they're green the ranking changes and team that fell by 1 place is evaluated. If all of the yellow cells of a team are evaluated the next team in the rankings is evaluated. This goes up to the 14th place where the first bronze medal is awarded to the team that is confirmed to be in 14th place. This goes on up to the first place.
It is a shame that there won't be another SWERC hosted in Milan anytime soon, the current Chief Contest Organizer doesn't want to be in charge of the next SWERC because he's too busy. We'll see where the next one will be held.
P.S. I wanted to finish up the problem sets of the AoC 2022 (I had gotten till
day 10 then my schedule got a bit busy), this evening I got to finish part 1 of
day 11. The solution would be fairly easy if it weren't for the fact that I'm
using OCaml to solve the problems, so only pure functions are allowed (apart
from I/O). I also discovered that one of the sponsors at SWERC uses OCaml in
Jane Street, they are a fintech company.