The Competition Has Two Rules

  • Main Round held in the teams' high school on Friday 19th July 2013, from 2:00-4:00pm EST
  • Grand Final held at UNSW on Saturday 7th September 2013, from 10:00am-12:30pm EST.

ProgComp Rules


To solve as many of the set programming tasks as possible.


As far as possible, each team should be made up of three students. However, in addition to any number of teams of three, each high school will be allowed to a maximum of TWO teams of 2 students.

A high school with a single outstanding student may register a team consisting only of that student, but only if no other team is registered from that school.

Students from other schools are allowed to join the team, however, any certificates of trophies earned will only list one school.

It is expected that all team members participate in the competition.

No substitutions are allowed, and the team supervisor must advise the competition organisers immediately of any absences and the reasons behind the absence.


Tasks can be completed using any programming language(s) capable of reading from input (keyboard or preferably redirected from a text file) and of writing text to the screen or to a file, and for which the program source code can be easily and clearly displayed. 

A compiler or interpreter for the language must be installed on the computer and the programs produced must be correctly executed on the team's computer. 

Any supporting utilities or programming environments typically used by team members may also be installed. Teams may prepare template files to be used as the framework for solving tasks.


Each team shares ONE single computer with a single keyboard and pointing device (eg, mouse, trackpad, etc), and a printer if desired. Teams may use materials such as paper and pens without restriction.  Multiple screens are allowed.


Team members may consult reference manuals, textbooks or notes during the competition. 

Team members may not consult, nor communicate with, any person outside of the team (either directly or indirectly) during the competition except for the team supervisor, judges or the competition organisers.

Communication with the  team supervisor should not include anything on how to solve the tasks.

Task Assignments

Teams may divide the tasks between themselves in any way they wish.


All used code must be submitted. Code not written by team members must be clearly identified. 

By participating in the competition each team member agrees that all intellectual property in source code belongs to the competition. Amongst other things, we may release your solutions on the competition web page.


Judges will award points for each task attempted. Marks are awarded for producing the correct output for each test input.

Marks will be deducted for incorrect program behavior on any inputs or missing or dubious test runs.

Judges may, at their discretion, award a small number of consolation marks to submissions that show significant progress toward solution but do not produce correct result. 

Judges decision is final. Judges reserve the right to vary any of these rules to ensure fair play and appropriate recognition of good work. Teams who misreport their output or who break any rules will be disqualified.

Main Round

Internet Connection

Students will need to be online throughout the competition to access the tasks and to submit their solutions and test results. There are five tasks plus a Junior task (see below). Teams may not use the internet during the competition apart from accessing the progcomp website and any sites linked directly from it. It is expressly forbidden to use web searches to obtain information of any kind about the problems to be solved.

Teams can incorporate any software written beforehand by the members, or obtained from third parties provided the source is disclosed in the submitted code.


On the day of the main round teams will not be able to access the tasks before 2:00pm, and no submissions will be accepted after 4:00pm. 

At the conclusion, program submissions will cease, so do not leave submitting to the last minute! Submit as you go and submit often (you may submit as often as you wish - only the last submission for each task will be marked). Server load might be high during the last few minutes and the submission process may take extra time. 

As each task is solved, the output corresponding to each marking data file, and the source code for the program, should be pasted into the relevant text boxes on the task web page and submitted.

To be safe we suggest you also make printouts of your code and of the input and output (eg screen dumps).

Junior Task

There is a Junior task that may be attempted only by a Junior team (one with no member in Year 11 or 12). A Junior team may attempt a maximum of 5 tasks in all, and are considered for the Grand Final on the basis of the total score obtained.

Competition Material

Competitors and supervisors should refrain from discussing the tasks with others until the conclusion of the competition. Under no circumstances may any of the materials be released to third parties without the written consent of the competition organisers.


The registered supervising teacher is responsible for ensuring and certifying that the competition is conducted and submitted under all of these rules.

Grand Final


The same team members as in the Main Round must compete.  Substitutions are not allowed. 

Finalists are expected to behave with decorum and respect throughout the competition and to comply with directions of the organisers. The school-appointed supervisor is ultimately responsible for the team's behaviour. Rowdy supporters may be asked to leave the venue.


The Supervisors should accompany the team to the Grand Final. They should help by getting the team to the venue in good time, introducing participants to the organisers, speaking to the public about the students' backgrounds and speaking to any media present. The Supervisor will be responsible for the students at all times.  


Free parking is available at UNSW during Open Day. The closest carpark to Building K17 is the Barker St Carpark.


The competition area will be open from around one hour before the start for setup. Please contact us in advance if you have any special requirements or requests.

Competition Area

UNSW will supply desks and chairs. The wall area above the desks will contain a sign with the school's name (we will provide this). Teams may bring additional promotional material for their school if they wish, subject to the constraint that it can be attached with Blue-tack and doesn't exceed 2m in width/height.


Teams must bring their own primary computer, with a single keyboard and one or two monitors. The computer may be loaded with any software considered useful in solving programming tasks.

Teams may, at their discretion, also bring a second computer that may contain manuals or similar documentation. The second computer must not be used for analysis, programming, testing or any other task. If in the opinion of the organisers the second computer is being used for more than consulting documentation, the team will be required to turn it off. Teams are entitled to bring their own printer, if they wish. No printing facilities are provided otherwise.


Each team is provided with one printed copy of each the tasks.

Each team is provided with an electronic copy of the tasks, plus test data for each task (where appropriate) as text files in DOS and Unix format (in separate directories). The data is transferred by USB flash drive.

Clarification of the task requirements can be requested at any time.

When a team solves a task they will be asked to demonstrate their solution with a small number of data sets or values. This will take a minute or two. If the solution is judged to be incorrect or incomplete the team may continue to work on the problem. There is no penalty for this apart from time lost during the assessment. Partial marks are awarded for solutions that work under some circumstances (to keep the leader board ticking over).

The time for each successful assessment is recorded. If teams finish on equal points the first to reach that total finishes higher on the table. At the conclusion of the competition, however, one in-progress task may be submitted for assessment (these are all assigned the same time so a tie could still eventuate). Teams should thus not leave assessment to the last minute. In the rare event of equal points and equal times then positions in the open round will be used to break ties. If teams are still equal a short sharp tiebreaker question will be provided.

Winners are sometimes asked for a copy of their code, which may be released on web sites to publicise the competition.