Who will advance to the Northwestern European Regional Contest (NWERC) and represent TUM on an international level? This question was answered at the TUM Tryouts over the course of an intense weekend (October 5th-7th), where successful students from the German Collegiate Programming Contest (GCPC) and from TUM's "Algorithms for Programming Contests" practical course were invited, and I was among those.

We were given a first taste of what was to come on a Friday evening at the Munich offices of Google, where algorithmic challenges were combined with an office tour and snacks. The event was started with a quiz and general information about the ICPC programming contests and TUM's involvement in them. Afterwards, in what amounted to an algorithmic speed-dating session, students teamed up in many different configurations and approached rather straightforward tasks in order to get to know each other and to warm up for the upcoming qualification contests.

The following two days were both structured in a very similar fashion. After meeting in the university's computer science building in Garching, we started into the day with a contest, where each participant approached a set of problems on his own. After a short lunch break, we analysed the results and teamed up in order to test how well different team configurations would work. For this purpose, we then competed in a regular ICPC-style contest, with three students working together at a single computer.

The result of our tryouts are, besides getting a look inside Google's offices and certainly gaining a lot of practice, that we have now decided on three teams of three students each who will advance to NWERC, which is set to take place in Eindhoven this November. In addition, we assigned one reserve contestant to each team in order to make sure that all three teams will have all odds in their favour.

But with this, the actual work now just begins: with our focus on NWERC, we will now use every minute to prepare for the algorithmic challenges awaiting us!

(by Gregor Matl)


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