NotRedCoder's blog

By NotRedCoder, 3 years ago, In English

All red coders (or have been red coders), when did you observe you were getting really good? Like almost solving all problems you encounter or like 3-4 problems in Division 1 rounds? How many problems had you solved by then? Also, please describe your CP journey or story. I just want to know your story. I want to know how geniuses (for a lack of a better term) are made.

 
 
 
 
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3 years ago, # |
Rev. 2   Vote: I like it 0 Vote: I do not like it

What you mean by this varies a lot, a problem challenging for me may not be challenging for you or vice versa. Maybe a better question you could ask is how someone practiced or the process they went through to improve. Well I think the answer would this would be to solve lots and lots of problems a little harder than what you are easily able to solve and keep on increasing the difficulty. Don't just learn 50 new algorithms and then start practicing. Either solve problems and learn algorithms when you encounter them and solve more problems based on them or learn a single algorithm and practice lots of problems on it.

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    3 years ago, # ^ |
    Rev. 6   Vote: I like it +14 Vote: I do not like it

    I don't need any advice, I am just curious about what makes people so different. There are so many people with different stories, I am just curious about them, I am already yellow here on codeforces and I have been doing CP for about 2-3 years but red looks unachievable for me right now.

    Benq, 300iq, ko_osaga, Radewoosh and Errichto became red in around 2 years.

    tmwilliamlin168 took it even further and became red in less than a year.

    Note that the users I have picked, I am almost sure that they had no CP experience prior to Codeforces. I just want to know their story, maybe they can give some advice if they want. It is upto them. I just asked this as a curious guy.

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      3 years ago, # ^ |
        Vote: I like it +150 Vote: I do not like it

      I had CP experience before joining CF. Same for most people who became red in 1-2 years. And I had spent 10 years doing a lot of math in school already.

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        3 years ago, # ^ |
        Rev. 3   Vote: I like it -29 Vote: I do not like it

        Oh, I never knew that. If you don't mind, would you like to share that experience? And with regards to 10 years doing a lot of math, you were doing math since age 6-7? Well, that takes some serious dedication.

        Okay, it may be false for you but what about every other person on this list? These guys are geniuses. How does their brain work? I want to know.

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          3 years ago, # ^ |
            Vote: I like it +93 Vote: I do not like it

          I did HackerRank a few months before CP, so I highly doubt that your research is correct.

          I had 6 years of programming before starting CP, and I always liked doing math / logic puzzles.

          Benq did like tons of math before starting CP

          300iq might've used some secret Russian OJ, ko_osaga might've used some secret Korean OJ, and Radewoosh might've used some secret Polish OJ.

          Even if CF was their first exposure to CP, I will bet that they had years of some form of "unusual" (programming, math, logic) training prior to CP.

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            3 years ago, # ^ |
              Vote: I like it +79 Vote: I do not like it

            Yep, not everybody knows CodeForces at the beginning of CP journey, people usually start with other websites. To be honest, I think that the majority of "Red Coders" joined CodeForces because they were already better than their, hmmm, classmates? Friends? Everybody in the country? Not to start the journey.

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              3 years ago, # ^ |
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              Moreover, I'm convinced that starting CP from CF is bad. People become obsessed with ratings before they learn how to solve even basic problems. My first rating counted one thing: number of accepted problems.

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                3 years ago, # ^ |
                Rev. 2   Vote: I like it +64 Vote: I do not like it

                Agree. That's why imo ProjectEuler is a great place to develop your skills, even if you are already red or even black-red on Codeforces. You can go back in time to the times where you were spending a few days on a single problem and force yourself to not ask on CF "I'm stuck for a five minutes, can somebody help me?"

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                3 years ago, # ^ |
                  Vote: I like it +20 Vote: I do not like it

                Can't agree more: Online judge culture is too underrated these days.

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                3 years ago, # ^ |
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                I agree. Where do you think beginners should start CP from?

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                  3 years ago, # ^ |
                    Vote: I like it +14 Vote: I do not like it

                  Any Online Judge (collection of problems with ability to submit and get automatic verdicts) where you have bunch of easy enough problems and you can sort them by some kind of difficulty (actual "difficulty" or just number of people that solved the problem).

                  It is better if there are NO editorials and ability to watch others submissions (or it is possible only after you have accepted the problem on your own).

                  You can use CF Archive, but it does have editorials and it is tempting to look at them.
                  I used Timus. There are also SPOJ, UVa and a lot of other I don't even know about. It is better to stick to one OJ because all of them have enough easy problems with very gentle learning curve, and it doesn't make sense to solve all the easy problems in the world.

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                  3 years ago, # ^ |
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                  Then how did you learn new concepts without any help? I don't think normal people can come up with data structures like segment tree on their own.

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                  3 years ago, # ^ |
                    Vote: I like it +13 Vote: I do not like it

                  I had friends/coach who I could ask if I should know anything fancy to solve this particular problem.

                  Usually it works like this: you can't solve a problem in 1 hour (that's some arbitrary cut-off), you skip it. Then you return to it a month later and see if you can solve it now. After several cycles you will have only problems that require some technic you don't know yet, you ask someone if there is some technic for this problem.

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                  3 years ago, # ^ |
                    Vote: I like it -24 Vote: I do not like it

                  Most of the Indians start CP after entering in their college and that too for getting jobs so it is really hard to find someone who can help. So, we are entirely dependent on editorials and others solutions to learn something new. Your approach might not be that efficient in such cases

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                  3 years ago, # ^ |
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                  Sorry, but I don't want spend time on people who do CP for getting jobs.

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                  3 years ago, # ^ |
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                  Just curious to know how red coders cope with the frustration when a contest went terrible. Like I solved 4 problems in last to last contest but only managed to get 1 in last contest. How do you deal with such situations?

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                  3 years ago, # ^ |
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                  No. Never. "MOST" people (INCLUDING Indians) who do CP do it because they love doing CP, and problem solving in general. If you do CP because you're forced to do so, please don't.

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                  2 years ago, # ^ |
                    Vote: I like it +12 Vote: I do not like it

                  I would like to point out the fact that there are many Indians who are actually grand masters in codeforces and do it completely for fun. (I can definitely write a list here, but it would be easier for you to look yourself)

                  Please don't bring "country" related discussions in areas where they are totally unnecessary

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              3 years ago, # ^ |
                Vote: I like it -55 Vote: I do not like it

              "Everybody in the country?"

              Weird flex but ok.

              Anyways, I would then rephrase my question as follows:

              How did you become better than everyone in your country?

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                3 years ago, # ^ |
                  Vote: I like it +16 Vote: I do not like it

                I wasn't thinking about myself. I kinda meant what Alex said: starting and sticking to online judges can be a bit better.

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                3 years ago, # ^ |
                  Vote: I like it +22 Vote: I do not like it

                "Weird flex but ok."

                Man, being the best in your country is not a weird flex, its a totally common/unsurprising flex. Are you an uncle by any chance? Because you dont seem to be able to apply internet memes correctly.

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            3 years ago, # ^ |
            Rev. 2   Vote: I like it +36 Vote: I do not like it

            Lol I actually took 1.5 year from CP beginning to be red, because in 2015 red was for 2200+. I didn't trained for Olympiad before, and in middle school, I failed KMO/KOI both in regional qualification. I hated math until high school.

            But since I solved about 8000 problems in 5 years in secret Korean OJ, and I guess my training was tougher in the younger days, I surely trained a lot.

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              3 years ago, # ^ |
                Vote: I like it +8 Vote: I do not like it

              What were your number of solves on this OJ until you reached red? How did you progress through this OJ? I mean in what order did you learn topics and advanced in them? For example, to progress in tree problems, I first did basic problems, then studied LCA, Euler tour then tree DP, etc. However, I cannot solve Centroid and HLD problems right now because I don't come up with those solutions naturally (or due to my limited experience).

              How often were you stuck and how much time did you give to some problem before looking up the editorial?

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                3 years ago, # ^ |
                  Vote: I like it +42 Vote: I do not like it

                What were your number of solves on this OJ until you reached red?

                Man.. I don’t care and you shouldn’t either

                How did you progress through this OJ?

                Check this out

                I cannot solve Centroid and HLD problems right now because I don't come up with those solutions naturally (or due to my limited experience).

                I also have some Centroid and HLD problems I can’t solve, wanna try? :)

                How often were you stuck and how much time did you give to some problem before looking up the editorial?

                I don’t have a standard. If I am not interested, or I simply think I have done all I can, or I think it’s better to learn how do this, et cetera, then I see solution. If I didn’t reached that condition, I don’t.

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              13 months ago, # ^ |
                Vote: I like it +1 Vote: I do not like it

              "my training was tougher in the younger days"

              anime sounds emerging

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      3 years ago, # ^ |
      Rev. 6   Vote: I like it +7 Vote: I do not like it

      listen,never think that red coders became red within a very short time.They practiced a lot and now have their success.Remind it that there is not only https://codeforces.com to practice,but also have https://atcoder.jp/ , https://www.hackerrank.com/ and others(These two are so good for CP).There they solved problems a lot.World's best competitive programmer tourist started programming at the age of 6,and now he is 26,it means that he practiced about 20 years and now..........So,now it's clear that "Practice makes a man Great".You are a yellow coder,you get reputation from Candidate Masters,Experts,and ratings under you,Good luck for being a red coder.I am new in CP,but I know what they really did.A huge respect to them.

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        3 years ago, # ^ |
          Vote: I like it -16 Vote: I do not like it

        Being yellow is easy AF, you just need little problem-solving skills and know the basics well. For learning the basics, I recommend solving A2OJ ladders, there might be around 300 problems across the ladders 1300-1800, you can do those in 4-5 month to learn typical techniques and train your intuition — when certain greedy works or not, when to use binary search, etc. Then you have to be a little fast in Div. 2 contests which will come from experience and being confident.

        Being red is another story, you need to excel in Div. 1 contests or combined rounds, the ad-hoc problems you need to solve require very intelligent observations, you need to be fast in the "easier" problems (rating 1800-2000) and you need to solve mostly all problems solved by >= 200 users (the hardest of which might be even difficult to solve if given ample time, let alone in the contest).

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          3 years ago, # ^ |
            Vote: I like it +240 Vote: I do not like it

          You have obvious bias. After I became purple I was sure that purple is easy and yellow is impossible. After I became yellow I was sure that yellow is easy and red is impossible. After I became red I was sure that red is easy and getting to onsites is impossible.

          I remember very well how I thought that red people are from other planet and I will never be able to reach that. But I just continued to work.

          Now I sometimes teach young people and I get a little angry when they can't write easy segment tree or dijkstra. I can't even understand how they can not understand such basic concepts. Though I remember that my rating was higher when I learned these concepts.

          Obviously different people have different understanding of what is easy. Something is easy when I can do it without much work. When you say that being yellow is easy — well, you are good enough to easily be yellow. Not good enough to easily be red. Yet. You will be, if you'll continue to work, continue to solve problems harder than your comfort zone.

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            3 years ago, # ^ |
              Vote: I like it +40 Vote: I do not like it

            This is probably the most motivational comment of the week.

            I wonder what do you consider difficult now.

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              3 years ago, # ^ |
                Vote: I like it +6 Vote: I do not like it

              amiya (I know that he changes the handle every year, I just don't bother remembering them) contests are pretty hard I would say...

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                3 years ago, # ^ |
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                Changing handle name is fine but why he changes his name ? last time as far as I remember his name was "Yuhao Du" but now his name is "Xiuhan Wang".

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            3 years ago, # ^ |
              Vote: I like it +10 Vote: I do not like it

            Awesome man!

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            3 years ago, # ^ |
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            I am continuing to solve problems outside my comfort zone but have seen no progress for some time. These problems generally require me to think for a lot of time (~2 hours) or I generally can't come up with a solution, in which case I look at the editorial.

            Let's take the example of the last contest div1E, I could not come up with the dfs-tree solution and couldn't see why the constraint 20% was given and didn't get the random idea that if the root is an interesting vertex then we can get some recursive dependencies. But after reading the solution, everything was clear to me. Do you think such a problem is little or way too outside my comfort zone? Because I can understand the solution but coming up with it is god damn hard.

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              3 years ago, # ^ |
                Vote: I like it +15 Vote: I do not like it

              It's hard to judge based on zero previous interactions with you :)

              I'd say that you could have solved this problem if you would return to it after month or two of stewing it in your subconscious which is why I'm recommending OnlineJudges instead of (or more like alongside) regular contests. And I think that in long term it would have greater effect on your progress.

              I can't say for all people, but for me it is psychologically difficult not to read editorials after regular rounds. For me regular rounds are just these bite-sized pieces of CP which should be swallowed in one/two takes (solve the contest + read the editorial). While in OJ you could left the problem which doesn't succumb now and return to it month later with new capabilities.

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                9 months ago, # ^ |
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                And when you learn recursion at beginning have you ever feel why I am not to solve simple problem like reverse array using recursion

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            3 years ago, # ^ |
              Vote: I like it +24 Vote: I do not like it

            Not the Um_nik we deserve, but the Um_nik we need. :)

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            2 years ago, # ^ |
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            UwU Thanks. I know my rank is bad but your comment make me cry and inspire me a lot, I wish there are x10 upvote button <3

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    3 years ago, # ^ |
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    You still play Club penguin?

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3 years ago, # |
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I'm NotRedCoder, but here is my journey.

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3 years ago, # |
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I wish someday I will observe that I am getting really good...

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    3 years ago, # ^ |
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    You are really good :)

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    3 years ago, # ^ |
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    Yes right, you're so bad. Your max rating is just 3098. WTF. If I had such a low max rating I wouldn't be even able to show my face to my mom.

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    3 years ago, # ^ |
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    Typical insecure hot girl asking if she is still hot. But in CP.

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3 years ago, # |
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Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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3 years ago, # |
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Out of all red coders I know, awoo inspires me the most. His rating graph is like a visual representation of persistence. I am sure lot of people think the same. So, I request him to say a few words about his journey.

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    3 years ago, # ^ |
    Rev. 2   Vote: I like it +67 Vote: I do not like it

    Idk what do you want to hear. Indeed I got my color by perseverance. No math background, no prior experience. Learnt just enough topics to have the same skill in most tags. Solved just enough tasks to know popular classic ideas. Math problemsolver mindset would be a nice thing to have but meh, red is achievable brute-force way as well.

    I stopped really caring about my rating. I treat every contest as a consistency gain instead of rating gain or loss. I think exactly that boosted my self-esteem and made me realize how much I've achieved.

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      3 years ago, # ^ |
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      Thank you for replying. Is CF problemset your primary source of practice? Or did you solve a lot of problems in any other OJ / CF gym?

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        3 years ago, # ^ |
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        Primary one is cf I guess but I don't restrict myself to one platform. I solve problems wherever I can find any: atcoder, topcoder, codechef, random icpc-style contests.

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          2 years ago, # ^ |
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          ig im replying at wrong place but wanted to know HOW do you know if you're improving or not? Recently i've noticed i couldn't solve even basic questions. (some insight : heard of cp few weeks back and there's not even a single day i didn't think of cp.) I can do whatever it takes(even 10+years) but i want to avoid mistakes

          seeing Accepted really gives next level excitement and motivation to solve even more questions. (this is 2nd copy of the same question which i asked Um_nik

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            2 years ago, # ^ |
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            Save some (let's say 10-20) problems that you can't solve right now somewhere without reading editorials. Try those problems again 2 months later and if you can solve any of them on your own, that's clear indication that you have improved.

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    13 months ago, # ^ |
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    Hopefully I will be the next awoo