Issue 22

CCC - A shot of programming

George Platon
Co-fondator @ BuddyGuard

Short, intense and ever growing in popularity, CCC (Catalysts Coding Contest) has become a sort of "seasonal" attraction for the programming enthusiasts from (but not limited to) Cluj. The Catalysts Coding Contests (http://contest.catalysts.cc) started in the year 2007 in Austria with a relatively low number of contestants but the feedback which came after was nothing short of "awesome"! Currently, the 18th edition of the contest will be hosted in Romania, Austria and India.

CCC has gained notoriety in Cluj since 2011, when it first set foot on Romanian soil. Why notoriety? Mostly because of its unique and innovative structure. Each contestant (or team) has 4 hours to solve one problem consisting of 7 levels. There are no programming language restrictions! Everyone can pick their preferred language or paradigm in which to code. The teams can be of maximum 3 people. The feedback gotten for those problems is diverse but converges towards "it was not easy!" The difficulty evidently grows as you progress through the levels, the level 7 being usually achieved by only a handful of people.

The number of participants constantly grew as the years followed both in Cluj and in the other locations, reaching a total of 600 contestants in the last CCC which was held in October 2013.

The participation conditions are simple:

  • Team of maximum 3 people all using the same computer.
  • No programming language restrictions.
  • No resources restrictions (internet, books etc).
  • The contestant must register both online (before the contest) and at the spot if he chooses to partake in the "non-online" version of the contest.

The CCC platform (https://catcoder.catalysts.cc) offers the possibility of online participation, the user not being obliged to be physically present at any location, however, this way, he or she will not be able to receive any prizes regardless of how well they did.

More testimonies & interviews can be found on our media channel:

CCC in India!

After a few months of planning, on the 9th and 15th of March 2014, we were glad to host our first CCC contests in India, in the cities of Kolkata and Kharagpur! The number of contestants was of approximately 350 from which around half chose to participate in a team of two (more details on www.contest.catalysts.cc/en/)

Example problem: The Harvester

At the first level, Dave the farmer is presented as having a field, segmented in equal parts on X lines and Y columns. Each segment has a number associated to it ranging from 1 to X*Y. Initially, the first requirement is to find the solution which traverses all the segments in the fastest time possible. One of said solutions is to go on a serpent-like pattern (see picture below)

At the second level a constraint is imposed: the tractor cannot always leave from the top left (or bottom right) corner!

At the third level, the tractor must be able to move both from one column to the next (E → V and reverse) and from one line to the next (N → S, S → N)

The problem grows in complexity as one progresses through the levels, more tractors kicking in and more and more possibilities for those tractors to work together arriving.

The Catalysts Coding Contest has proven to be a great success both for the participants, who gain important insight on solving difficult problems and finding new people to share their passion with, and for us, as a company.




  • Accenture
  • Bosch
  • ntt data
  • Betfair
  • FlowTraders
  • MHP
  • Connatix
  • Cognizant Softvision
  • BoatyardX
  • Colors in projects

George Platon wrote also