The third day was marked by rises and falls of Harbin in our eyes. Everything started with the opening ceremony - it was badly organized, protracted and boring. Right before the opening ceremony the audience went to the assembly hall of the Harbin Engineering University, but the participants were less privileged and had to suffer. We were all gathered in a long basement room, we had to form a line according to predetermined numbers, and wait. As you know, 103 teams take part in the finals, so, about 450 people (coaches and volunteers included) packed into that basement. It was stuffy and crowded there. The Russian teams demonstrated their inherent quick-wittedness, they decided not to stand in the crowd, and moved closer to the entrance, it was cooler and there was more room there.
Finally, to solemn music (be careful, phonogram!) the teams one by one climbed the stage, took pictures and went down to join the audience. As after that according to the program some outdoor activities were planned, many participants had prepared sensibly beforehand, they had put on the presented warm trousers, sweaters, etc. With such a "formal" look they got to the opening ceremony and the shoot. My standing ovation.
The second day we spent sightseeing - we went to the excursions organized by the host country, some places we visited on our own.
In the morning we had some free time, and we went to the local Arbat (or Kirov Avenue, as you wish). Actually, when we walked not far away from the hotel, we found out that we vaguely knew how to get back. But still we didn't want to go back, that's why we went on moving away, guided by little information we had. It was really cold - but we were well-prepared. I put on a down-filled coat, that we'd got on the first day, over my proper one, foe example. Vova put on the presented trousers over his own jeans, and seemed happy. The parts that got cold were our faces.
On our way to that avenue we asked for the directions many times. The problem was that we didn't remember its name. 80% of passers-by said they didn't speak English, 20% said they did, but it was the only thing they could say in English. Finally, using the international language of gestures, we got the direction and found the avenue. Personally I was disappointed, there was nothing to look at there. Of course, it was interesting to walk past old buildings, but we had no desire to "Russian goods" shops. They sold home-made vodka, chocolate called "Russian fir (pets)" (they meant "pelts"), and other goods of doubtful quality.
Everyone got a set of warm clothes. The hats in the photo looked more like scarves at closer inspection. Moreover, we got a set of mustard plasters, which are recommended to be worn under your clothes to keep the body warm.
The Indian team got very excited, when I asked them how popular the TV series The Big Bang Theory is in India.
We flew 7 hours to Beijing, and 2 more hours from Beijing to Harbin. At Sheremetyevo Airport we met several other Russian teams. The teams from Samara, Izhevsk, and, it seems, Ural were on the same plane. And some other teams. Moreover, we flew with Andrey Styskin, who works for Yandex, and will take part in the conference in the context of the contest. Separate teams could be clearly distinguished on the plane: 3 young people, each with a laptop, or a netbook. However there were exceptions.
Our University will take part in the Contest for the 7th time, and for the team Saratov SU#1 this will be the 2nd Finals. It seems to be high time to introduce myself. I'm Mike Mirzayanov, and I'm this team's coach (and also all other teams from my university). In reality I'm the director of Programming Competitions Training Center, but in this case it doesn't matter. I became a part of this so-called olympic movement quite long ago, but since that time I've managed to take part in the finals of the ICPC, and in the finals of Google Code Jam, and onsite competitions by TopCoder (TCO and TCCC both). In brief, I do know what computer programming competitions are, but we won't speak about me.
We will speak about our team Saratov SU#1 and their participation in the coming World Finals. I plan to write a series of articles about our trip to China. No one knows, on whom Lady Luck will smile, and whether we'll return triumphant or defeated, but I hope my account will seem interesting to someone. Any questions? Ask them in your commentaries, and I'll answer them with pleasure.
The World Finals of the 33rd International Collegiate Programming Contest for was held in the capital of Sweden, Stockholm. The contest was held in Europe for the third time: in 1999 it was held in Eindhoven (the Netherlands), in 2004 - in Prague (the Czech Republic). It was the first time the key role in the competition had been played by the University: it was held in the library of the Royal Technological University. One hundred best teams of the world took part in the final, while the preliminary rounds saw 7109 teams from 1838 Universities and 88 countries competing. It was the sixth time the Saratov State University had took part in ACM-ICPC World Finals.
The participants were placed in two hotels in the historic centre of Stockholm, Gamla Stan district. Our team was placed in the Grand Hotel Stockholm, the city's oldest hotel, built in 1874. The breathtaking view on the Old City and the Royal Palace made this hotel the favourite place for many film stars, politicians and other celebrities. The Grand Hotel is the only hotel in Sweden with the prestigious status The Leading Hotels of the World.