Concept

United States of America Computing Olympiad

Summary
The United States of America Computing Olympiad (USACO) is an online computer programming competition, which serves as qualification for the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) in the United States of America. Primarily for secondary school students in the United States, the USACO offers four competitions (December, January, February, US Open) during the academic year. Participants compete in four increasingly difficult divisions (Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum), each of which is provided a distinct set of 3 solvable competitive programming problems during each contest. Coding & submitting computer programs can be done in one of four languages: C, C++, Java, and Python. Competitors begin in the Bronze division, and advance through the levels by performing well in their current division. Following the US Open (ran in late March to early April) competition, a week-long summer training camp is held in late May-early June (with around 16-24 top USACO participants invited as USACO "Finalists"). Four students are selected from a group of finalists to represent the United States of America (USA) at the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI). Beginning in the 2020-21 season, top female participants are also invited to the camp to select the team to represent the United States at the European Girls Olympiad in Informatics (EGOI). All expenses are paid for at the training camp and the competition at IOI. The USACO was founded in 1992 by Don Piele at the University of Wisconsin–Parkside, and is currently maintained by director Brian Dean at Clemson University and a dedicated volunteer coaching staff. The USACO contains several training pages on its website which are designed to develop one's skills in programming solutions to difficult and varied algorithmic problems at one's own pace. In addition to around 100 problems, there are texts on programming techniques such as greedy algorithms, dynamic programming, shortest path, among others.
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