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Spring 2012 - Week 1 (January 20, 2012)

Topic: Solving Problems Quickly

Description

The topic of the night will be "Solving Problems Quickly" in a variety of situations. There will be a number of mini-contests throughout the practice, including problem sets of various size (from 1 problem and up) and teams of various sizes (from strictly individual competition to larger groups).

Most of the problems are on the "easy" side (no dynamic programming...) with difficulty ramping up towards the end of practice. The reason for focusing on this topic for an entire practice is so that, in real competitions, we allow ourselves more time to focus on the harder problems. UAkron's teams have proven to be quite strong problem solvers, but we've had a tendency to have a slow start, often taking a while to finish solving the "easy" problems. By speeding up execution of this portion of the problem set we will allow ourselves more time to solve even more of the harder problems. Speed of solving easy problems is also particularly important in the local spring contests where there tend to be more schools at around the same skill level and time becomes a primary distinguishing factor.

Problems & Rules:
Solving Problems Quickly (.pptx)

Selected code samples
Anagrams (.java)
Tower of Defense (.java)

For some more thoughts on this practice and improving your ability to solve "easy" problems quickly, read this blog post.