ZCO 2017 Discussion

I gave the ZCO in pune. And yes even I had to change my computer for at least 10 times.I solved the second question but wasn’t able to implement 1st question properly due to these server problems.
I have mailed iarcs about the problems faced, hope everyone does the same.

ZCO problems:
Q1. Given an array S and a number T, find the number of solutions for S[ i ]+S[j]+S[k]+S[l]=T, where i<j<k<l. N<=5000.
Q2. In a 2D plane (NxM), there are lasers and boxes. Every laser travels horizontally and when it encounter a black box, it stops and if it encounters two white boxes it stops. You are given the location of these boxes and the rest are initial locations of lasers. Find the sum of all the distances travelled by the lasers. n,m<=10^6 and b,w<=10^5.

1 Like

Apparently, we all got selected, like last year.

Can anyone post their solutions for reference?

Lasers travel towards right and even if it encounters a black box after a white box it stops.

Totally awful and horrible. I changed 13 PCs because of crashing of dev cpp and session expired error. Even server responded only for first problem TWICE during whole 3 hour contest and then dev cpp started giving errors like permission denied while testing locally on top of that server started giving errors like XYZ is not valid command or batch file. When I clicked on debug mode to use gdb dev cpp crashed EVERYTIME

The experience I had was really unexpected. I used java for the exam. My centre was Cochin. As you all know there is no IDE for java and you can’t test your code against your own inputs. So the debugging was really hard. In fact, this was not the big deal!

Hardware Issues:

Most of the students in my centre had to switch between computers twice and many had to switch multiple times. Some keys in the keyboard didn’t work. When I asked them about this, they tried connecting another keyboard, but the tcs ion platform automatically shut down saying that it detected another hardware. So I had to tolerate my keyboard. These things significantly reduced the time I got to program.

Problems in problems:

I don’t whether this happened only to those who use java. The example input and output given to the problems were different than the specified input. I mean, in the second question,

It says that the input will consist of only one line with 4 + 2*(w+b) space seperated integers. But the example input were like

n m w b

then w lines saying the position of w

then b lines saying the position of b

I spend a lot of time on this. At last I had to use Scanner with nextInt() method to read input as I didn’t knew how the input were given. I tried in both ways using BufferedReader and StringTokenizer. But it didn’t work and raised NoSuchElement exception. As you all know nextInt() method will increase running time.


Overall a very bad experience. I didn’t get any time to properly solve first problem. I request all of my friends who had similar experience to send email to ICO co-ordinator and IARCS. Request them to reschedule ZCO again or to let everyone who ZCO participate in INOI.

I got an email stating
Thanks for reporting the problems at Cochin. There were also other
problems at other centres. We will directly allow all ZCO candidates
present on Sunday to write INOI in January. A formal notification
will be sent out as soon as we receive the attendance lists from TCS.

I had to change my working computer 4 times. I submitted my code for the third subtask of the second problem and then the system crashed. I got a blue screen of death. After changing my system, I wrote my solution for the first problem, and just when I submitted, I was locked out and my session ‘expired’. Had to change my PC again. Also, the code I wrote didn’t get submitted and there was not much time left to rewrite the whole thing. The PC changing process also ate away at my time. I was just standing idly for at least half an hour. I don’t understand how TCS ION hasn’t been fixed yet after so many years of such situations.

ZCO Delhi was a very bad experience. Firstly the keyboard didn’t work and I don’t even remember how many times devc++ crashed and i restarted the system. Even the people there gave up as the they were not able to fix it. If they fix something another bug arises like problem in compilation, server paused,etc.
I don’t know what they will do and why don’t they upgrade. What’s the point of having ZCO like this?

Well guys do you know whom to mail our problems to and how will we be notified if we are selected?
And btw it was a HORRIBLE experience for me too. I gave my exam at kolkata.

I’ve had a bad experience at Kolkata as well.
Aside from all the problems others have mentioned, whenever I clicked the ‘Submit Code’ button, I got the following error message:

'iONOAP' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program, or batch file"
which makes me wonder if my submissions have gone through properly. ```

I gave the ZCO in Java language. The code did compile but when I clicked on “Submit code” button, the platform isn’t just ready to accept my submission. What do you all think? Shall we all be selected for the INOI exam.

This was the first time that I was giving any ZCO, And let me explain-

I would like to inform you that the experience of giving my first ZCO exam was pretty much horrible! Randomly I was disconnected after every 15 to 20 minutes.

Now and then my session used to expire! We need to change our computers every-time whenever something happened, thus we had to leave our code in debugger! Oh, Debugger, what can I say about Dev-C++, All participants were not even able to give the Input and see the output as the output window was showing itself for micro seconds and closing automatically!

I don`t know about what happened in other cities, but in lucknow, this was the condition of each and every participants. After all this how we are supposed to solve any prolem ? Even participants are talking about it on various forums!

Congratulations to all the ZCO participants I stated my problems to Madhavan Mukund sir and got reply just now
“Thanks for reporting the problems at Chandigarh. There were also
other problems at other centres. We will directly allow all ZCO
candidates present on Sunday to write INOI in January. A formal
notification will be sent out as soon as we receive the attendance
lists from TCS.”

1 Like

Yup, I got it too. That`s awesome as I was only able to solve 2 subtasks of first and 2 subtasks of second problem.

And yes we are all selected for INOI and if given a chance I would surely like to kick the butts of the technical stuff , looks like they didnt cared for us , I suggested a solution to that console problem that to use the normal command line to execute the program so that we can test it properly but who cares , they dont even seem to listen me and yes why DevCpp? Any linux distro with text editor can do a better job than it , I also sat from Kolkata but luckily my computer neither hanged nor got expired , hush but around me there was storm going on of shifting pcs , ehhh.

Cheers guys, I mailed Dr. Madhavan about the issues I faced.This is the reply I received:
“Thanks for reporting the problems at Chennai. There were also other
problems at other centres. We will directly allow all ZCO candidates
present on Sunday to write INOI in January. A formal notification
will be sent out as soon as we receive the attendance lists from TCS.”

1 Like

Congrats to all who are gave ZCO, you are probably directly selected for INOI. This might be good for ZCO people but is unfair for ZIO people(me being as one of them).

Why do you say unfair?

What about those who didn’t qualify for INOI? If they would have given ZCO they could have been selected without any effort. I suggest a retest

A collective forum is created on Quora here: link text


Please answers to this question as it will be looked into by IARCS and Prof. Madahavan Mukund personally.

Upvote/Thumbs Up this post to bring it on the front page!