Will Facebook's 2012 Hacker Cup Disappoint?

Will the second annual edition of Facebook's Hacker Cup turn out to be half full or half empty?

Will the second annual edition of Facebook’s Hacker Cup turn out to be half full or half empty?

The initial Hacker Cup generated a host of complaints from participants — including disorganization, miscommunication, and even malware — so it will be interested to see what changes, if any, Facebook implemented for the sequel.

Facebook announced the details for its 2012 Hacker Cup in a note on the Facebook Engineering page.

Registration opened Wednesday, and the schedule runs as follows:

  • All registered competitors will participate in a 72-hour qualification round starting January 20 at 4 p.m. Pacific Time, and running through January 23 at 4 p.m. Three problems will be presented for competitors to solve, and all of those who solve at least one correctly will advance to the first online round.
  • The first online round will send participants who solve at least one problem correctly on to the next round. If more than 500 people are successful, the top 500 will advance, along with everyone with the same number of correct answers as the contestant in 500th place. The round will begin January 28 at 10 a.m. and end January 29 at 10 a.m.
  • The second online round will be held February 4 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The top 100 will advance to the next round and receive official Hacker Cup T-shirts.
  • The third and final online round is set for February 11 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and the top 25 will move on to the final round at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California.
  • The final round will be held at the social network’s headquarters March 17, where the 25 finalists will be flown on Facebook’s dime to compete for a grand prize of $5,000, the title of top hacker, and the inscription of their name on the Hacker Cup. The second-place finisher gets $2,000, $1,000 goes to the third-place finisher, and the remaining finalists receive $100 apiece.

Facebook Mobile Engineer David Alves said in a post on the site:

Hacking is core to how we build at Facebook. Whether we’re building a prototype for a major product like timeline at a Hackathon, creating a smarter search algorithm, or tearing down walls at our new headquarters, we’re always hacking to find better ways to solve problems.

Today we’re announcing open registration for Facebook’s second annual Hacker Cup. Programmers from around the world will be judged on accuracy and speed as they race to solve algorithmic problems to advance through up to five rounds of programming challenges. This is your chance to compete against the world’s best programmers for awesome prizes and the title of world champion.