2.10. General tips

Memory use

Remember that a competition is different from real world programming. In the real world you should try to conserve memory. In competitions you usually have a set memory limit, and you get the same number of points irrespective of how much you use. For example, if you are using a hash table then you can make the hash table much bigger than you really need. You should also not be afraid to use larger types (32-bit vs. 16-bit integers, for example) than necessary, as overflows caused by using undersized data types aren't always easy to detect.

Multiple passes

In spite of what was said above, sometimes there is a shortage of memory. In some cases it is possible to work around this by making several passes through the input file. To illustrate this, consider the following problem: A number of coloured rectangles are placed on top of each other, with vertices at integer coordinates and aligned with the axes. You must find the area of each colour that is visible.

Although there are better ways to solve this problem, a simple approach is to create a 2D array in memory to simulate the area in which the rectangles are being placed, and for each rectangle, draw it in on the array. The problem is that the constraints of the problem may make the canvas too large to fit into memory. If it is only slightly too large then the problem can be solved by splitting the canvas into a few smaller pieces, and making a separate pass through the input file for each piece of the canvas. For each piece one can store the area of each colour and then total this across all the pieces to get an answer.

[Prev] [Next] [Up]

Last updated Sun Nov 28 22:04:38.0000000000 2004. Copyright Bruce Merry (bmerry '@' gmail dot. com).