SWERC follows the ICPC regional contest rules.

Exceptionally this year, because the contest will take place online, some of these regulations are changed. The modified parts are in bold.


The SWERC eligibility criteria are those outlined in the regional contest rules. In particular, all contestants must satisfy the 2020 eligibility decision tree. Contestants must be students registered at a university in the SWERC region, and must be able to prove this fact (with a student card, a proof of enrollment, or some other official document).

Contest material

Exceptionally this year, and unlike from the rules of the world finals contestants are allowed to use their own computers and electronic devices, and to use one computer per team member.

Team members are not allowed to communicate with the outside world during the contest, or to share any information about the contest problems or about their own solutions before the contest ends.

Contestants are allowed to use the Internet to search for information about algorithms, code snippets, etc., as long as they do not communicate with anyone or communicate any details about the problems. They are allowed to re-use code or pseudocode from online sources (e.g., classical algorithms). However, the code reused must be annotated with a comment indicating clearly the URL of the source from where the code was taken. The source must be publicly available and must have been posted online before the contest began.

Communicating with others, sharing information about the problemset, or reusing online code without acknowledging the source is grounds for immediate disqualification.

Each team may have a Team Reference Document (also called "notebook"), following the world final regulations. You can refer to the preparation instructions for indications about what the notebook can be used for. This year, the document must be submitted as a PDF file, no later than February 28, via the submission mechanism emailed that was emailed to teams. The regulations about the format of Team Reference Documents are unchanged:

This document may contain up to 25 pages of reference materials, single-sided, letter or A4 size, with pages numbered in the upper right-hand corner and your university name printed in the upper left-hand corner. Text and illustrations must be readable by a person with correctable eyesight without magnification from a distance of 1/2 meter. It may include hand-written comments and corrections on the fronts of pages only.

You must include a comment in your source code whenever you are reusing code from your Team Reference Document.

Please see more explanations about these rules in the FAQ below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

We clarify some points here about the rules for this online edition of SWERC.

FAQ: Communication and team constitution

Can our coach help during the contest?

No, this is strictly forbidden, teams cannot communicate with their coach during the contest in any way.

Can friends from our university help us if they are not participating?

No, this is strictly forbidden, teams cannot get help from friends or communicate with anyone during the contest.

Can I say "good morning" to my roommates / parents / etc. during the contest? What if I receive a phone call?

You should focus on the contest and cannot communicate with people outside of your team. Of course, in practice, you may briefly speak with other people not involved in the contest if necessary. If you do so, please do not say anything about the problems (e.g., do not tell them about the number of problems, about your progress, etc.).

We recommend that you warn in advance anyone nearby that you won't be available during the whole contest duration to avoid distractions. We also recommend that you switch off your phone and log out from social networks during the contest.

Can I tweet or post on social media?

This is not permitted during the contest, to avoid leaking any information about the problem set. But outside of this, we encourage you to spread the word about the event throughout the week-end.

Can I share the problem set with people who are not participating?

No, this is not permitted during the contest.

Can I talk about my score after the contest but before the awards ceremony?

Please don't. While this does not violate the rules, we think it's more fun if some element of suspense is kept while the final ranking is revealed.

FAQ: Practical modalities

Are members of one team required to be physically at the same place?

No; members of a team can be either at different locations or physically at the same place. If they are at different locations, they can coordinate together with any private communication platform that they like.

Can multiple teams from the same institution participate from the same place?

This is not forbidden, but in this case there must be strictly no communication across different teams during the contest. We recommend that the different teams participate from separate rooms to avoid any accidental influence.

Can I eat or drink during the contest?

If you are in a room where it is allowed, then sure.

Can a team collaborate via a git repository on a hosting platform like Gitlab or Github?

Yes this is possible and encouraged, but you must ensure that your repository is private, i.e., cannot be accessed by anyone except the members of the team during the contest. (You may publicly share your code after the contest.)

Will the problems be different this year given the event's new format?

The problem set is similar to previous years, and is not designed to encourage the use of Internet resources, i.e., we expect that the problems can be solved with little to no Internet use by the most skilled teams.

FAQ: Copying code

Can I look at books, at Wikipedia, at research articles, or at Youtube to learn about an algorithm?

Yes, but if you use code or pseudocode, you must indicate the source (name of the book or URL).

Can I copy code from the documentation of my programming language or libraries?

This is allowed if you indicate the source. Of course, if you only copy a very short snippet (e.g., a function name or a short line), then you needn't indicate the source. If in doubt about whether your snippet is short enough, please indicate the source.

Can I copy code from Stack Overflow / Topcoder / etc. ?

Yes, if you indicate the source (URL of the webpage).

Can I copy code from existing ICPC problem solutions?

Yes, if you indicate the source (URL of the solution).

What counts as a "publicly available" webpage?

A webpage is publicly accessible if it can be accessed by anyone, without a password, account, or other restrictions, and it is indexed by usual search engines. It should be available from before the contest start, and should expect to remain online so that judges can check them. In particular, this includes usual sources of code such as Stack Overflow, Topcoder, Wikipedia, etc. If necessary, judges will determine whether a given URL indeed counts as a publicly available webpage.

Can I reuse private code that I have written before the contest?

No, unless it is part of the Team Reference Document (aka notebook) submitted by your team before the contest.

FAQ: Team Reference Document

Can multiple teams from the same university have the same Team Reference Document?

Yes, but all teams who wish to use it need to submit it by the deadline.

Must I indicate when I reuse code from the Team Reference Document?

Yes, you must indicate it with a comment to that effect. Note that this is different from previous years.

Can I submit source code files as a Team Reference Document, instead of a PDF file?

No, the Team Reference Document (if any) must be submitted as a PDF file, so that can verify that it is eligible according to ICPC rules.

Can our team have a Team Reference Document online? (instead of submitting it)

Yes, teams can put their Team Reference Documents online, in which case there are no restrictions on length or format. However, the file must be publicly available, linked from the public Web, and indexed by search engines. It is not permitted to host it at a private URL or on a file sharing system at a private link.

Basically, if other teams can reasonably be expected to find the Team Reference Document, it is OK, otherwise it is not allowed.

Of course, when reusing code from an online Team Reference Document, you must indicate the source (URL of the Team Reference Document).

Can we use code from another team's Team Reference Document?

If it is publicly available online, then yes, this is permitted, but you should indicate the source (URL of the Team Reference Document).

If it is not, then no, this is not permitted.

Can I copy and paste code from my Team Reference Document directly instead of retyping it?


FAQ: Rule violations

What happens if I notice a violation of the contest rules?

If you are aware of a violation of the rules, please bring it to the attention of the judges by submitting a clarification request on Domjudge, and we will investigate.

What happens if we do not respect the rules?

Violating the rules may lead to immediate disqualification, in addition to being reported to the ICPC organization. Judges will use their best judgment to identify cases where the rules have been violated, determine if the violation was deliberate or not, and penalize it appropriately. As per the ICPC regulations, the contest director, based on the input of the judges, may decide to disqualify a team, a university, or alter the contest ranking if they believe that the rules have been violated.

Programming languages

The main programming languages of SWERC are C, C++, and Java. In addition, the contestants have the option of using Kotlin, OCaml, or Python. Note that OCaml can only be used at SWERC, not during the World Finals. For details about versions, see the Environment page.


The scoring rules are the ones described in the ICPC regional contest rules. We clarify that the total time of teams is measured in minutes (not seconds).

In case there is a tie, the following local tie-breaking rule is used (from the SWERC 2016 page): If two teams solve the same number of problems and have the same total time, the team that first submitted its last accepted problem is ranked higher. In case a tie still remains, the team that first submitted its second-last accepted problem is ranked higher, and so on. In the event that this does not resolve the tie, the ranks will be determined by chance.

Team composition

All teams who want to participate have to follow the registration procedure as described in the registration page. There is no onsite attendance requirement this year.

Registration is open to institutions from Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Israel. By special request teams from other countries may be allowed to participate in this region. Further, as per the regional contest rules:

An institution may send contestants to only one regional contest in a given year.

The rules pertaining to the number of teams that may be sent by each institution are described on the registration page.

Code of conduct

We are dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, or religion (or lack thereof). We do not tolerate harassment of SWERC participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate during SWERC, including talks, contests, and social events. Participants violating these rules may be expelled from SWERC without a refund at the discretion of the organizers.

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact the organizers.

(The SWERC code of conduct is inspired by Conference Code of Conduct.)

Insurance and expenses

The SWERC organizers do not cover the accommodation, transportation, and other expenses of participating teams.

Each team should make sure that they have appropriate insurance (e.g., against accidents or diseases) to participate to SWERC. Insurance is the responsibility of the teams, not of SWERC organizers.

SWERC organizers do not accept any responsibility for the personal belongings of participants at the contest venue. In particular, contestants should be aware that some belongings, such as electronic devices, cannot be taken to the contest area (see contest material). Contestants are advised to leave such items under the responsibility of a trusted party (e.g., the team coach), or not to bring them at the contest venue altogether.

Intellectual property

The SWERC organizers do not assert copyright on any code written at SWERC, and do not require SWERC competitors or coaches to license their code in any specific way. Solutions submitted by SWERC contestants will not be distributed to third parties without the consent of their authors.

Likewise, in Team Reference Documents, we allow contestants to use third-party code that they have not written, including copyrighted code; and we allow them to use this code in their solutions to SWERC problems. However, it is the responsibility of contestants to ensure that their use of third-party code in Team Reference Documents and in SWERC solutions is compliant with any copyright requirements that apply to this third-party code. SWERC organizers accept no responsibility for any legal consequences arising from such use.

Gold sponsor

Jane Street

Bronze sponsors

Jump Trading Sopra Steria

Institutional sponsors

Région Île de France

World Finals sponsor


Lisbon local sponsors

Critical TechWorks Unbabel