January 8, 2021 TCO20 North America Regional Recap

This year not only did we go back to North America with the TCO Regionals, it was also a year in which we had some of the best members in the region come back to compete. 

It was back in 2017 when we last organized two regionals in North America. After a break of two years, we decided to take the regionals back to the country where we have been hosting TCO Finals for the past twenty years.

Regionals this year had their own charm and excitement. Even though the delivery of t-shirts and goodies is something we are still figuring out at the time of writing, the idea of having members come together to meet each other online and compete within their region was achieved. 

The event consisted of Algorithm, Development, and QA track competitions, some fun games and a lot of chatter with the members after the events. While it was amazing to see some regular Algorithm developers, it was great to see some of the best veterans join the event. We had msg555, RalphFurmaniak, grigory.ai, radeye and a few more veterans who were part of the event after a decade of informal retirement.

Like all the regionals we started with the official welcomes and yearly updates from adroc, jmpld40 and me. We held a small scavenger hunt and youdare was the one who got everything right and won the Topcoder hoodie. 

Next it was time for some competitions. We started with our QA Competition and Algorithm Elimination Round. It was great to see how the QA community in the region has grown and competed passionately. 

The QA community was asked to do exploratory testing on  https://www.w3schools.com/  and also find bugs. It was a really hard task, but the QA community ended up finding twenty-six valid issues. youdare again did a great job and took the top award home. Most of the bugs he logged were enhancements and were focused on enhancing the app for members. 

In parallel, we launched the Algorithm Qualification Round. The lineup was full of exciting new and old members. The top sixteen later competed in the elimination rounds.

After an amazing qualification round and top sixteen we decided to break, have some food and play some games. We had games like Wordsgame, Typeracer, Can’t Unsee and many more! 

asocasno and ksun48 were unbeatable in the Wordsgame.

Later, it was time for the Development Competition and the Algorithm Elimination Rounds.

The Development Competition had members analyze the Topcoder SRM data and plot interesting graphs or do some analysis on it, take a look at the problem: 

Topcoder has amassed a great wealth of SRM problems since it was first founded in 2001. They are great training, learning, and educational content. In this challenge, we are seeking your help to analyze the given data and create mobile apps, web apps, APIs, etc to showcase the interesting info. 

We provided files that contain

Problem archives

SRM results

Member profiles

It was the red-rated developer MIG-29 who ended up having an exciting solution that analyzed SRM payments, competing countries and plotted a chart for SRM member rating distribution. An interesting find was that the biggest SRM prize we had paid out is  $100K, and dmwright was the lucky guy who received that prize.

Algorithm Elimination rounds were exciting, with live commentary going on all the time. Members joined in and interesting things were discussed around the format, the competitions and the problems. We had Vlad_D and KaasanErinn providing their expert and experienced views throughout the round.

Here’s how the bracket turned out: ecnerwal ended up winning the TCO20 North America Algorithm Championship as he got both the problems right. Scott_wu was the runner up with 606 points on the leaderboard.

Congratulations to the winners.

It was great to see everyone join the event and we plan to continue bringing these regional events to everyone around the world. We hope to see you participate with the same enthusiasm next year.

Harshit Mehta

Sr. Community Evangelist

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