ACU Lifeline Programming Challenge

Quick Facts

Date: Saturday, February 11, 2012
Time: check-in starts at 9:30am
Where: Third floor of Abilene Christian University's Mabee Business Building
Directors:   Ray Pettit
Judges:   Dwayne Towell Brent Reeves John Homer
Format: 1 computer, 3 programmers, 8 problems, 3 hours, and 3 lifelines.
Prizes: TBA
Cost: $30 / team OR $11 / person if registered by January 27, 2012 (includes lunch, t-shirt, and entry into the programming contest)
$40 / team OR $14 / person if registered after January 27, 2012 (include lunch and entry into the programming contest, but no t-shirt)
Languages:   C, C++, Java
Compilers:   MinGW 5.1.2 GNU gcc/g++
Java SE Development Kit 5
Python 3.2

Challenge Summary

The ACU Lifeline Programming Challenge was inspired by the ACM International Programming Contest and the ACU Lifeline Programming Contest, but is aimed at high school students rather than college students. The challenge is similar to the ACM contest--teams of three, solving problems with Java, Python, C++ or C. However, there is one huge difference: instead of three hours of seclusion, the ACU Lifeline Programming Challenge injects a little spice and allows each programming team to invoke lifelines (a timeout with a coach or mentor). This session lets the team confer with the coach for a few minutes to get their bearings and get unstuck. Coaches will have a whiteboard and a few minutes to brain-storm, diagram, critique, and focus their team.


To register for the limited spaces available, please complete this form and submit to Raymond Pettit as soon as possible to reserve your spot now.

Why lifelines?

Two reasons.

First: We have observed that many teams become frustrated toward the end of the contest period, and yet were quite motivated to engage algorithms where the rubber meets the chip. So, we capitalize on the intensity and motivation of the participants to turn it into a teachable moment; we want to allow coaches a few minutes to get their team back on track.

Second: Lifelines relieve some of the intimidation of the usual no-holds-barred, all-out, get-it-done contest. The Challenge provides a coached introduction with all the same pressures (time pressures, awards, and bragging rights), but allows support and encouragement right when it is needed most.

Details and Rules

Rules are subject to change. Final detailed rules will be given out and explained the day of the contest.

Rule Summary


Times are subject to change, but our plan is to be on schedule as much as possible.

9:00am - 9:30am    Check-in
9:30am - 10:00am    Rules and instructions
10:00am - 11:00am    Practice contest
11:00am - Noon Amazing Campus Tour Extravaganza and Lunch
12:30pm - 3:30pm Contest
12:30pm - 1:30pm No lifelines allowed
Coach pre-brief and problem discussion
1:30pm - 3:30pm Lifelines allowed
3:45pm - 4:15pm Group and individual teamwork debrief
4:30pm - 5:00pm Problem discussion
Awards and prizes

Past Contests

2010 Programming Challenge Results

2009 Programming Challenge Results

2008 Programming Challenge Results