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Gauging Interest in Training Program

Revision en1, by Geothermal, 2019-12-15 07:07:24

Hi all!

I'm currently considering opening up a competitive programming training program of some sort. The details are definitely still in the works, though, and I wanted to discuss some preliminary ideas with the community to get feedback on what would be most helpful (and on whether there would be any interest in this).

I'm interested in starting a training program for three main reasons:

  • To make competitive programming more accessible to those without access to resources like college courses or training camps

  • To provide a space in which questions are encouraged and actively answered (especially since I think this generally isn't the case in the community at large)

  • To help competitive programmers build problem-solving skills and intuition, which I think aren't sufficiently emphasized by most contest training resources

I think one of the most frustrating things about being a new (or even intermediate) competitive programmer is that it's generally pretty difficult to get help from people more experienced than you. My hope is that creating a community with the explicit intent of training competitive programmers less experienced than myself will alleviate this problem, and perhaps will help establish a norm of helping newcomers within the overall competitive programming community.

However, I'm not sure exactly what such a program would entail, so I'd love to get some input from the community on what would be most helpful. I would most likely organize this through a Discord server, which would include places to ask for help with problems, to discuss competitive programming in general, and to discuss how best to train. However, I think it'd probably be best to incorporate some element of active training into the program--some preliminary ideas I've considered include:

  • Regularly published problemsets, including tasks of varying difficulties. Most likely, I'd publish relatively short problemsets a few times a week (something like one problem at each of three overall levels, with each trainee attempting one of the problems). For the next few days, those interested could work on solutions and message me for hints and feedback, and afterwards, I'd post my solutions, with a particular focus on outlining how I came up with my overall approach.

  • Topic lectures introducing important algorithms and discussing several problems applying them. These would probably be most useful for people with some experience (e.g. stably rated above 1400-1500), since below that there aren't really too many specific topics to cover.

  • Scheduled community virtual contests, with discussion sessions afterwards to talk through the problems and discuss ideas, especially with a focus on the intuition underlying the solutions.

  • For a smaller group of people with more competitive programming experience, I'd be open to providing personal assistance with training, problem/topic selection, overall contest strategy advice, etc.

  • If enough strong competitors are willing to get involved, it might make sense to have some sort of mentor-trainee program in which newcomers are matched with more experienced programmers in order to get help and advice.

The target audience for this would depend on who's interested--I think that at least in theory, I'd be able to work with anyone up to around (and including) the 2200s. My main goal would probably be to help novices have their questions answered and come up with a good general training plan while working more personally with more advanced competitors to focus specifically on building up intuition and shoring up weak areas.

Of course, all of this is very vague, since the above isn't any sort of finalized plan. At this point, though, I have a couple requests: 1. Post below if you would be at all interested in this. It'd be helpful for me to figure out how many people would want to be involved as I decide whether starting this up would be worth the effort. 2. If you have any thoughts on which (if any) of the above ideas you'd find helpful, or any other forms of training that would be useful to you, please share them--in the event I do decide to make this happen, I'd like to know what I can do to be of as much assistance as possible.

Thanks to everyone who read this far--if you have any questions or comments, please be sure to post them below!

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  Rev. Lang. By When Δ Comment
en1 English Geothermal 2019-12-15 07:07:24 4420 Initial revision (published)