Programming Contests and Challenges

Are you the best programmer? Find out about your skills and your specific know-how considering programming in general, programming practices as well as programming languages. You do also have the possibility to demonstrate your individual abilities and proficiency in programming at a variety of different programming contests and challenges.

Fact is that not every programmer likes the idea of testing and proving his personal programming skills within a contest, but often, however, a programming challenge offers the chance to stretch and open oneself. Of course programming is an exercise that has to be done in your individual programming ‘comfort zone’ or rather ‘private programming area’. Often, however, it is also necessary to step outside this private area in order to get to know other programmers as well as new ways and ideas considering the world of programming. Even if you do not win a prize at a programming contest or challenge, you get offered the possibility to open yourself and go straight forwards to new opportunities, skills, know-how and practice. Furthermore it can also prove to be very interesting how other programmers and colleagues do solve programming problems or develop new functions, parameters, etc.

We do present a clearly arranged list of selected programming contests and challenges. Please mind that this list does not include all notable programming contests in existence. Of course there exist many others more which are not part of this list.

  • International Conference on Functional Programming (ICFP): This contest has already been running for a long time and takes place every year in June or July in Germany. ICFO welcomes every programmer from any location. Everybody can enter the contest using any programming language. Programmers can form teams which are not limited by size.
  • BME International: This contest takes place in Europe and is entirely free to enter. It happens once a year for teams composed of three programmers. Within the programming challenge BME International it is necessary to bring your own computers, software and other useful equipment. Furthermore it has to be mentioned that at the BME International programmers are asked to write and develop programs within 24 hours.
  • International Collegiate Programming Contest: This programming contest represents one of the longest running programming challenges ever. Strictly speaking the International Collegiate Programming Contest happened in 1970 at Texas A&M for the first time and has been organized by the ACM since 1989. With its thousands of teams the International Collegiate Programming Contest is one of the bigger challenges. Teams from universities, colleges and other high schools enter the International Collegiate Programming Contest, strictly speaking competing locally, regionally as well as in the world final. Each team is composed of three programmers which have to solve eight or more demanding real-world problems and exercises. They are given a five-hour deadline.
  • Obfuscated C Contest: This contest has been happening for more than 15 years. It takes place on the Internet – strictly speaking with email submissions. Programmers that compete in the Obfuscated C Contest are asked to write the most obfuscated Ansi C program by means of at most 4096 characters. The 19th Obfuscated C Contest was run in January/February 2007.