Wednesday, October 3, 2012

TopCoder Open 2012 Finals preview

This year's TopCoder Open finalists are a very diverse group of people. The most telling statistic, in my view, is the time when they first acquired 3000+ rating on TopCoder (not surprisingly, all of them did at some point :)):
So we have four people that I'd call veterans, playing the TopCoder algorithm games at the top level for at least five years, and that group is clearly separated from the other four, who have only reached the top recently. None have been the TopCoder Open champion yet, though!

Here are the micromatch scores between the today's finalists (the first number is how many times the person on the left has been ranked higher in rated TopCoder rounds, the second number is how many times the person on the top has been ranked higher):


A funny aspect of yesterday's Wildcard round was that fourth-placed people from both Semifinals advanced, meaning that we'd get just the same set of finalists if four advanced from each Semifinal and there was no Wildcard. Historically, Wildcard round advancers has won TopCoder tournaments once (tomek in TCO 2008), got second place twice (ZorbaTHut in TCCC 2004, JongMan in TCO 2007).

What strategy would people use at today's finals? Judging from the semifinals, [[iwi]] will go Hard-Easy-Medium while everybody else will use the usual Easy-Medium-Hard order. I'm pretty sure the TopCoder admins want to make sure at most one person will solve all three problems, which might well in practice mean nobody will solve all three, so starting with Hard (or doing Easy-Hard-Medium) does look like a viable strategy. I'd propose Easy-Hard-Medium switching to Medium if Hard is not solved (and it's not clear how much is left) about 30 minutes before the end.

Also take a look at vexorian's finals preview at

What other stats on finalists would you like to see? :)

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