The Problems

About the Contest Problems

For the past several years, the World Finals Contest problem set has consisted of eight to twelve problems for contestants to attempt in a five hour period. The problems are of varying difficulty and flavor. In selecting problems for the contest, we look for two problems that could be solved in an hour by a first or second year student, two that could be solved in an hour by a third year student, and two that will likely determine the winners. No problem is completely trivial. Our goal is that every team solve at least one problem, that every problem is solved, and that no team solve them all.

Every contest problem is presented in a real-life scenario. World Finals Contest problem sets have contained problems to optimize subway schedules, model air traffic control, analyze logic circuits, optimize fence placement, track robot movements, map race courses, simulate airport luggage collection, estimate oil reserves, and so on. Contestants must look through the scenario for each problem in order to discern the underlying essential problem and develop algorithms for its solution. 

Each problem description consists of text, a sample input set with and accepted output set. Most problems have helpful illustrations as well. Problem descriptions are limited to two pages maximum length. Problem authors should assume that English is the second language of the reader, and they must thoroughly explain any culture or discipline-specific aspects. 

If you are interested in contributing problems for consideration in the World Finals, you should first look at example problems. The World Finals problem sets of the recent past are an excellent source of examples.


The World Finals supports only four languages, C/C++, Kotlin, Java and Python.

Problem Archives

ICPC Problem Archive

ICPC Valladolid Problem Archive

ICPC Live Archive

Updated 22Jan2012

Last modified on 08:54 AM Aug 24, 2017