Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much programming experience do I need to compete?

A: Most competitors will have had at least one year of programming experience. You will need to know how to manipulate integers, strings and arrays. It is not necessary to know advanced data structures (lists, sets, maps, stacks, queues, trees), though you may find this knowledge helpful. If we introduce a concept that you are not expected to know, we will explain it thoroughly in the problem description.

Q: What division should I be in?

A: The Novice division is designed for first-timers and competitors with one year and a half of programming experience or less. The Advanced division is designed for returning competitors and competitors with more than one year and a half of programming experience, or who have previously competed in ProCo.

Q: Is there an advantage to coding in a particular language?

A: No. Each language has pros and cons, and you should choose the language you are most comfortable with. In general, we have written the problems carefully so that language-specific features will not give anyone an unfair advantage.

Q: How will input and output work with my IDE?

A: This depends on the language and software package you’re using.

  • C and C++ programs run from the console and take input and output from the console.
  • Java with Eclipse: Input and output can be passed through the Console window.
  • Java with JCreator: By default, JCreator 4 captures output. You can pass input by typing directly into General Output window. You can also bring up the console by going to Configure > Options > JDK Tools > Run Application > Edit and unchecking Capture output.
  • Python 2.7 with IDLE: The console is built into the scripting environment.

Q: Will all the input be in one terminal entry, or will each line be separate?

A: Each problem has its own input format. For some problems, the input will be a single integer, for other problems, the input will consist of multiple lines. We have designed the problems such that parsing the input will be as simple as possible.

Q: Will my travel expenses be reimbursed?

A: Unfortunately, we will not be able to reimburse your travel expenses. You are responsible for your own method and cost of transportation. If you cannot easily find a means to come to campus, we highly recommend taking the online version of the competition.

Q: What if I forget to bring the ProCo Participant Waiver Form during the day of the contest?

A: Unfortunately, due to liability issues, you will not be able to participate in the contest. Don’t forget! You can download the waiver here.

Q: How do you pronounce ProCo? And what does it mean?

A: No, it doesn’t stand for pronunciation conundrum. ProCo is pronounced with two long ‘oh’ sounds. It started out as an abbreviation of ‘programming contest’ in distinct Stanford style, with every word ending in a long o sound. (Seriously, everything does.) But ProCo soon began to embody more than just a programming contest. Professional coding, productive cooperation, promoting computing - ProCo really is all of these things and more.


Registration for ProCo 2017 is open until May 1, 2017. Register your team here!

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