Um_nik's blog

By Um_nik, history, 2 weeks ago, In English

Hello Codeforces!

For the last half a year I have been working on CodeChef and was proposing ideas on how to change the problemsetting practices (hopefully, for the best). For some time the changes were in brainstorming phase, but as of now many of them are implemented. Today we are ready to share the information with you. But first I would like to approach people who are going to close this blog without reading:

If you are not interested in CodeChef contests at all, I think you should change your mind. Monthly short contests (Cook-Off and Lunchtime) have interesting quality problems, on par with Codeforces in my opinion (not AtCoder level yet, but who are?). Long and Starters are more targeted to newbie participants, with more classical educational problems.

If you are interested in setting problems for regular contests, you might want to do it on CodeChef. Some reasons:

  • You don't have to set the whole round, as we work on per problem basis.
    • This may be especially interesting for proposers of hard problems — you don't have to come up with easy problems. You can also propose a lot of problems on your favourite topics, as we won't put all of them in one contest.
  • Your problem will be reviewed by me, discussed with me and then maybe enhanced. You might have different views on my persona, but it is hard to deny that I'm pretty good at this stuff.
  • In normal circumstances your problem will be reviewed less than a week since submitting proposal. (You might have to wait for it to be used in contest though)
    • We are pretty low on harder problems, so if you propose a (good) Medium+ problem you can expect it to be used soon.
  • We pay more. I know, I know, we do it not for the money. But it is a nice bonus, isn't it?

With that sorted, let's take a closer look at what have we changed.

Some of the changes are internal and it's hard to show them, but hopefully those changes will simplify the life of contest admins and they will have more time and energy to work with problemsetters and oversee the contest preparation.

  • We have separated reviewing problem proposals and admin-ing (coordinating) contests. Now we have a special person, whose job is to review proposals and try to improve them. That person is me right now, although I hope that this system will outlive me, as it is more fair and leads to better problems. Yes, better problems, as my job is not only reviewing the proposals, but also thinking on ways how to make them better. Most of the short contests in 2021 had at least one hard problem significantly improved during the review.
  • Making problems better requires collaboration with setters, which starts from communication. We used emails before, and it was... not ideal. Now we have created a dedicated Discord server, where we create private channels for me to communicate with setters. On the same Discord server we create channels with all the setters for a particular contest, where they will be able to talk with admin, tester, and generally people working on the contest. Moreover, if there is an issue that requires some managing help (like providing access) it will be easy to ping managers. I will not put a link to the server here, and I ask setters who has it to not do it too: we want only people who are interested in problemsetting there.
  • Many people hate Campus (the system which was used for preparing problems on CodeChef), and rightfully so. We don't like it either. That's why we have gotten rid of the entire UI and have built a new problemsetting portal from scratch. We have implemented many essential features which were previously lacking (bulk uploading of test files, bulk editing of time limits, and judges, statement history versions, copyable sample IO, etc), and are working on adding the missing features as well. We know we still aren't as good as Polygon, but we are working towards it. We ask setters to prepare the problem on Polygon, and then port them to CodeChef.
  • This is an internal thing, but I'm very proud of it. In general, we have a big waiting list of problems that are approved but not yet used for contests. When we need to make the next contest, an Admin is assigned, and he then chooses the problem from the waiting list. This waiting list was stored in a Google Sheet, it was hard to maintain and even harder to choose problems from it, and mostly we had to rely on our memory to choose problemsets. Now the waiting list will be stored in Notion. We will have to migrate the waiting list manually, and this work is far from done, but the future of stuck-in-the-waiting-list problems looks a bit brighter now, as we will be able to actually consider them while choosing problemsets.
  • The CodeChef problem setting portal is still not a very user friendly system. And to use it you have to somehow learn how to do it. There is a guide for it... accessible only by a link you have to somehow get. Also this guide is written several years ago. Yeah. Actually, there are more different guides, sometimes contradicting each other. But it's not much of a problem, you have close to 0 chance to find them. Well, this had to stop. Either by CodeChef dying out because the link to the guide was lost and now nobody knows how to upload problems, or by us making an effort. We have chosen the second way, and it's Notion to the rescue again. Introducing CodeChef Public Guides. It's very new, but at least there are links to all the old guides I could find. We are planning to write more articles on all things related to CodeChef problemsetting, and maintain them in relevant state. Right now there are articles on step-by-step process of setting a problem and what (not) to do when proposing a problem. I'm planning to write an article on good practices when working with Polygon next.
  • We have increased our judge server capacity and have not had a queue issue in a long while. We are in the process of scaling it 4x (and more) in the coming months, which will allow our setters to not have to worry about keeping the testfiles to a minimum.

In case I have managed to convince you to become a problem setter on CodeChef, here is the link. But please read this first.

What changes would you like to see on CodeChef, either in problemsetting or in general? Please help us make CodeChef better by filling this form.

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By Um_nik, history, 2 weeks ago, In English

In case you haven't heard: ICPC announced that in the Championship (onsite in Moscow) Division of ICPC World Finals 2020 teams will use 3 computers (one per participant). And they did that less than 40 days before the contest itself.

I think this is ridiculous and this is not the competition we have been preparing for all these years.

If you think the same, please comment under this blog in a format you deem reasonable (you can follow my format or not).

Moreover, there was a suggestion from Alex_2oo8 to ignore ICPC and self-impose the rule to use one computer at a time. If you want to do that (in case ICPC will go with 3 computers per team), you can add such a statement to your comment too.

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By Um_nik, history, 3 weeks ago, In English

Big thanks to KAN who uploaded these two contests with ghosts and everything and even tuned up TLs a bit for CF.

2019-2020 Winter Petrozavodsk Camp, Day 8: Almost Algorithmic Contest

2020-2021 Winter Petrozavodsk Camp, Day 5: Almost Retired Dandelion Contest (XXI Opencup, Grand Prix of Nizhny Novgorod)

The second contest was used as an OpenCup stage last season, while the first one was not published anywhere (except some secret Chinese servers I assume).

Selfpromotion: I really think that these two contests are amazing. The difficulty is comparable to ICPC WF or harder regional finals (but with a smaller number of easy problems, who needs them anyway).

I was the author of more than half problems from both contests, with additional problems contributed by KAN, vepifanov, I_Remember_Olya_ashmelev, kristevalex, Merkurev and WYOCMWYH. I also want to mention the authors of three original problems that were improved and reused in the second contest: Ferume, fake123 and dario2994.

Enjoy!

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By Um_nik, history, 3 months ago, In English

I'm just in a mood to shitpost. Don't take it too seriously.

Things that I have heard of, but don't know (imagine how many things I haven't even heard of):

  • Li-Chao Segment Tree
  • Segment Tree Beats
  • RMQ in $$$O(n)$$$/$$$O(1)$$$
  • Any self-balancing tree except treap
  • Link-cut tree
  • Wavelet tree
  • Mergesort tree
  • Binomial heap
  • Fibonacci heap
  • Leftist heap
  • Dominator tree
  • 3-connected components in $$$O(n)$$$
  • $$$k$$$-th shortest path
  • Matching in general graph
  • Weighted matching in general graph
  • Preflow-push
  • MCMF in $$$O(poly(V, E))$$$
  • Minimum arborescence (directed MST) in $$$O(E \log V)$$$
  • Suffix tree
  • Online convex hull in 2D
  • Convex hull in 3D
  • Halfplane intersection
  • Voronoi diagram / Delaunay triangulation
  • Operation on formal power series (exp, log, sqrt, ...) (I know the general idea of Newton method)
  • How to actually use generating functions to solve problems
  • Lagrange Inversion formula
  • That derivative magic by Elegia
  • That new subset convolution derivative magic by Elegia
  • How Elegia's mind works
  • Sweepline Mo
  • Matroid intersection

If you know at least 3 of these things and you are not red — you are doing it wrong. Stop learning useless algorithms, go and solve some problems, learn how to use binary search.

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By Um_nik, history, 8 months ago, In English

Time: Feb 7, 11:00 UTC+3

Link: Click (OpenCup login needed to participate)

Authors: Um_nik, Merkurev, KAN, WYOCMWYH with help from I_Remember_Olya_ashmelev, Ferume, fake123 and dario2994.

The contest was used for Petrozavodsk training camp and ICPC training camp.

Editorial

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By Um_nik, history, 9 months ago, In English

We invite you to participate in CodeChef’s December Lunchtime, this Saturday, 26th December, from 9:30 pm to 12:30 am IST.
Note the unusual time. It starts at 9:30pm instead of the usual 7:30pm

You will be given a total of 8 problems (6 in Div2, 6 in Div1) to solve in a duration of 3 hours.

Joining us on the problem setting panel are:

Problem Submission: If you have original problem ideas, and you’re interested in them being used in CodeChef's contests, you can share them here.

Prizes: Top 10 Indian and top 10 Global school students from ranklist will receive certificates and CodeChef laddus, with which they can claim cool CodeChef goodies. Know more here.

The video editorials of the problems will be available on our YouTube Channel as soon as the contest ends. Subscribe to get notifications about our new editorials.

Good luck and have fun!

As this is my first contest as CodeChef admin, I wanted to add few words from myself. Please do consider setting problems on CodeChef, we need your help to create great contests! One of the advantages of setting problems on CodeChef is that you don't have to create whole problemset by yourself (though it is certainly possible, you can write directly to admins to contest.admin2@codechef.com for LunchTimes and to contest.admin3@codechef.com for Cook-Offs). Many new authors can't create whole problemset without experience, and that's totally understandable! Sending problems for review allows you to get feedback for our admins (Um_nik, 300iq, jtnydv25, Ashishgup and Morphy), and if your problem is good, you will get the invaluable experience of setting a problem for thousands of participants worldwide while working side-by-side with some of the best minds in competitive programming. Some of the best problems in this contest are set by first-time problemsetters, at least on such a level, and they did a great job, I'm looking forward to working with them again.

Apologies to SeismicToss for messing up the announcement :)

The contest is unrated due to queue and server issues.

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By Um_nik, history, 12 months ago, In English

I have resumed screencasts with commentary, you can find them here

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By Um_nik, history, 12 months ago, In English

In yesterdays ACL1 I got WA on problem B. It turns out that compiler ignored the function call inside assert, the same code with function call not in assert works fine. Moreover, Merkurev explained that the reason for that is -DNDEBUG flag, and my submission works on GCC.

I don't understand computers, I just memorized some stuff that's enough for solving puzzles. I want to ask why the -DNDEBUG flag used in Clang, but not in GCC. rng_58?

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By Um_nik, history, 14 months ago, In English

Since antontrygubO_o has became CF coordinator he is trying hard to make rounds which meet his standards for quality and (more importantly) beauty. I think he is doing a great job.

For some time there is a very vocal group of people who dislike his view on things. I feel like it will be hard for Anton to maintain his work if he would think that majority of people doesn't approve.

But I don't really think that this is a majority. If you enjoy rounds prepared or coordinated by Anton, please comment here with some positive feedback.

#AdHocProblemsMatter

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By Um_nik, history, 18 months ago, In English

I have to ask Snark about updates on OpenCup twice a week. If you are as tired and don't want to miss next Grand Prix — join this Telegram channel. I will try to post anything I was able to get from Snark. Hopefully he will come to his senses and will admin the channel himself some time in the future.

UPD: Snark has admin rights now, maybe we will get the news in time.

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By Um_nik, history, 20 months ago, In English

As you may know, Petrozavodsk SU holds training camps for top teams twice a year. This time we decided to try to do screencasts of our participation, you may find them here. Unfortunately due to some technical errors we lost screencast of the first contest and the last 2 hours of the second one (we are not pros in screencast area, sorry).

Please note that if you are going to participate in Izhevsk mirror or by other means participate in these contests, you may ruin the fun for yourself.

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By Um_nik, history, 21 month(s) ago, In English

Any explanations why at the same time happened this to these legends? :O

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By Um_nik, history, 21 month(s) ago, In English

I'm thinking about doing more videos, not only screencasts of rounds. For some time now I'm using OI Checklist by Rezwan.Arefin01 (cannot recommend enough, especially if you are preparing for hard IOI-style contests) as an archive, so I'm thinking about doing videos with editorials (more like my thinking process) for some old POI problems.

So, here are some questions for you:
1. Is this interesting?
2. Should I read (and think about) problems beforehand? Pros: I will have more structured thoughts about problem, I will know for sure if I will be able to solve this problem in a short time, ??? Cons: It is kinda unfair, it may look like I'm crushing it when in reality it could take hours for me to solve, ???
3. Should I do one-problem length videos? The problem is that I prefer to open some (3-6) problems, read all of them, and then think about each problem for some time, probably starting with the one I liked more.
4. Despite these are OI-style problems with partial scoring I'm trying to go for a full solution, most of the time ignoring groups. Sometimes full solution of these problems are really-really hard. Should I do groups always, or only when I'm stuck for long time, or other options?
5. Do you have any suggestions about what kinds of videos I should make? Or other things I didn't think about concerning this particular kind?

You can look at my channel here

UPD
Thanks for your input! I thought a bit myself and here is my current position:
I'm willing to invest some time to learn basic video editing (yeah, didn't do anything before, just recording screencasts), I hope that I will even add some things to screencasts in post. This way I can read some problems, then solve them one-by-one, but make separate videos for each problem. Mostly I will do "blind" attempts at problems, since most of your want to see me struggle :) I will go through groups if they are interesting, but rarely will implement partial solutions.
About lectures and lower-level educational videos: don't think so at least for now because it is not interesting for me.
Because of learning basic video editing I will be slower at first, but I hope to do first video in next few days, so stay tuned! Also later today I will upload USACO Platinum screencast, so you can watch this if you are interested.

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By Um_nik, history, 2 years ago, translation, In English

raidFoxx, mVpick and navneet.h are trying hard to invite me to their team. I rejected this invite 5 times already.

So, guys, you wanted my attention, here it is.

I can't really think of good solution to prevent such behavior. Maybe someone can?

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By Um_nik, history, 2 years ago, In English
Tutorial is loading...
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By Um_nik, history, 2 years ago, In English

Hello!

I'm glad to invite you all to Round 576 which will take place on Jul/30/2019 17:35 (Moscow time).

There will be 6 problem in both divisions.

Round is based on Team Olympiad in Computer Science Summer School. It is (yet another) summer school for schoolchildren organized by Higher School of Economics and "Strategy" Center in Lipetsk. Almost all the problems are authored and prepared by teachers and teaching assistants in CSSS: Um_nik, Burunduk1, fake123_loves_me, MakArtKar, Villen3tenmerth, Aphanasiy, Gadget. One of the problems is authored by Merkurev (just because we are friends :) ). One more problem for the round was added by KAN.

I would like to thank KAN for CF round coordination, I_love_Tanya_Romanova, Merkurev, Rox and 74TrAkToR for testing, and Codeforces and Polygon team for these beautiful platforms.

Scoring will be announced.

Upd: We added one more problem to div.1 contest, now both contests have 6 problems (4 in common). The round is not combined, if it were, I would write "combined" in the title.

Scoring distribution:
div2: 500-750-1250-1750-2500-3000
div1: 500-750-1250-1500-1750-2250

Congratulations to our winners!
div.1:
1. Radewoosh
2. tourist
3. mnbvmar
4. Benq
5. pashka
div.2:
1. ChthollyNotaSeniorious
2. Honour_34
3. idxcalcal
4. shogunator
5. yijan

Editorial won't be published.

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By Um_nik, history, 2 years ago, In English

How do I choose contest for practice: go to Gym, set difficulty to 4+ and duration to 5h, look through the list. In some of the contests I already participated, it is clearly visible in the list.

Problem: On the top there are other contests I don't want, I have to skip them every time and this list is growing. Why would I not want given contest? Maybe I participated on a different platform, or maybe difficulty is not right for me, or maybe I want to leave it for later team training.

Obviously, CF cannot detect any of these issues. But maybe we can have button "don't show this contest for me", just like Fav button? MikeMirzayanov

Another (less useful for me, but maybe more useful for community) possible feature is to allow users with coach mode to change difficulty settings. C'mon, low red get total in 4h, how is this a 4 star.

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By Um_nik, history, 2 years ago, In English

Hello Codeforces!

Sadly there will be no OpenCup round this weekend, but instead I invite you to participate in a mirror of t.me/umnik_team Contest which will be held on Timus Online Judge this Sunday, 12 MSK. This contest was originally held on Petrozavodsk Summer Camp 2018 (if you participated in the camp, please do not participate in this contest). This is an up-to-3-person team contest with ICPC rules (one computer per team). Difficulty level is comparable to OpenCup rounds (not Retired_MiFaFaOvO-hard, but certainly not for Div.2).

Author of most of the problems is me, with huge help from Merkurev and one problem from Kronecker.

Hope you will enjoy the contest.

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By Um_nik, history, 2 years ago, In English

Last three blogs on main page of CF shouldn't be on main page. And it become quite common thing in recent CF practice. Main page should contain only something that all users should see. Of course, round announcements, platform upgrades and sponsor posts should be on main. Blogewoosh had some rights to be on main because it was cool series of blogs which had chosen CF as its platform so CF should have praise it (but it would be nothing wrong for it to be just in Radewoosh's posts like everything else). But all other stuff? Let's look at some examples for the last year.

Important: I'm not saying that these blogs are bad. Most of them are good. But why are they on main page? CF have great blogs system, every user can write something helpful. Just don't put random stuff on main.

Some algorithm stuff which is better than other algorithm stuff, I guess:
C++ STL: Order of magnitude faster hash tables with Policy Based Data Structures
Linear Recurrence and Berlekamp-Massey Algorithm
[Tutorial] Searching Binary Indexed Tree in O(log(N)) using Binary Lifting
Don't use rand(): a guide to random number generators in C++ — this one is kinda mandatory for participating in CF rounds due to bad compilers on CF, so it is good that it was on main
Blowing up unordered_map, and how to stop getting hacked on it

Random contests in gym which are better than other contests in gym, I guess:
Original Gym contest: Geometry Special 2018
2018-2019 ACM-ICPC, Asia Xuzhou Regional Contest (Online Mirror on Gym)
ROI 2018 in GYM

Promoting Errichto, I guess:
Stream
Sums and Expected Value — part 1
Lecture #3 — Exchange arguments (sorting with dp)

More sponsored stuff??
Анонс кружков от tinkoff.ru
My Course at Harbour.Space University: Advanced Algorithms and Data Structures (January, 2019) — selfpromotion, also nobody should pay 1000 euro for a course no matter what this course is. This is just abusing position as Codeforces CEO

IDK
Lunch Club at ICPC WF
The D programming language in competitive programming
Codeforces Contests Picker Goes Live: Celebrating ICPC Season
Team dashboard
Let's bring souvenirs to the ICPC World Finals
Unnecessary blogs on main

MikeMirzayanov's personal blog:
Hello, ITMO! — yes, there are some inforamtion about platform improvements but it is just an excuse to write this post
Codeforces Round #547 (Div. 3) — round announcement? Um_nik is totally crazy. Well, yes, but the photo and "I'm so cool I made a round in 6 hours" is nonsense. Also how about wait in line for half a year like others do?

It looks like it is just a question of whether Mike saw and liked the post. MikeMirzayanov, CF main page is not your personal blog. Please don't use it as your favorite tab.

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