Some Notes on Facebook Hacker Cup Qualification Round

Monday, January 10 was the last day to submit your answers to get qualified for Facebook Hacker Cup. It started from January 7, and lasted for 3 days. There were three problems presented on the competition website, to be solved by participants. Problems were provided with sample input and output, and there were no time limits to browse through the problems and to develop your code. To answer each problem, competitors had to download an input and submit their output, yet they only had 6 minutes, after they downloaded the input, to submit their answers through the form provided. There were absolutely no limitations on choosing the programming language (I used Perl), nor on the way you code your solution, cause there were no need to upload your source code. All three problems were fairly easy to solve, except one (called the peg game), that was not explained clearly. Anyone who solve at least one problem, would be qualified for the first round.

This competition could attract a fairly large number of young people around the world, and by that means, it can be counted as a success. Nevertheless, there were some fundamental design problems regarding the competition website itself, which is the topic of this post. These are some of the points that came into my mind:

In general, it is a very good move from Facebook to gather all this people to compete against each other and express their opinions. I Specially liked the way people could express their opinions on the event wall, there were lots of interesting posts, and most of them could be counted as a feedback ( Which was effective at least for taking off the time limit). I hope in the next round, geeks do not design the website, and get help from more experienced people in this area to take all the basic requirements into considerations.

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