Facebook: Hack away and win a Cup!

Facebook launched the Hacker Cup for the first time in 2011, in an attempt to test hacking skills so algorithmic problems could be solved. Hacking, according to Facebook, is essential to how they build, as it serves to find a better solution to existing problems.

Keeping that perspective fixed in mind, this year’s Hacker Cup is open for registration, for programmers who can solve the given algorithmic problems within the least amount of time. The competition consists of five rounds, with the first four rounds being held completely online.

A 72-hour exclusively online qualification round on January 20, 2012 (at 4PM PT), marks the beginning of the competition. All registered contestants who solve at least one of three complex algorithms correctly, by January 23, 2012, at 4PM PT will move to Online Round 1.

Online Round 1 will last for 24 hours, from 10AM PT on January 28, 2012 to 10AM PT on January 29, 2012. Participants will be given a number of online problems out of which they are expected to solve a minimum of one, correctly. In case more than 500 people solve at least one problem correctly, Facebook, on its page for the 2012 Hacker Cup, said the top 500 would advance to the next round. All those who solved the same number of problems as the contestant in the 500th place would also qualify for the next round.

The next couple of rounds are expected to be a lot tougher as they last only for three hours.

Online Round 2 will be from 1:00 PM PT to 4:00 PM PT on February 4, 2012, during which contestants are expected to solve the given sets of algorithmic problems in order to qualify for the next round. The top 100 participants who score the highest will qualify to the Online Round 3 and will be notified via email. They will also receive an Official Hacker Cup t-shirt.

Online Round 3 begins at 1:00 PM PT and ends at 4:00 PM PT on February 11, 2012. The 25 contestants who make it to the last round on March 17, 2012, will be notified via e-mail, and will be flown to Facebook’s Headquarters in California.

The final 25 contestants are expected to obtain their own passports and entry visa for their entry into the USA. Facebook, however, promises to reimburse up to $100 USD for the travel expenses and visa application fee for the finalist.

Last year’s Hacker Cup along with $5,000 USD was won by Russian “world champion” Petr Mitrichev. Anh Tuan Mitrichev won $2,000 USD for the second place, and Tiancheng Lou, a PhD student won $1,000 for coming third.