See Answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

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Frequently Asked Questions about the North America Championship - NAC 2020

1. What is NAC?

The NAC is a new competition designed to provide a World Finals style experience for teams in North America. Teams from the US and Canada will be invited to a multi-day event at a 5-star facility with meals, first-class hotel rooms, entertainment, and, of course, a fantastic contest provided to all participants.

2. What are the advantages of a North America Championship?

This event provides three very important things:

  • It gives more teams an opportunity to experience a World Finals-level event. There will be 60 teams in 2020, and we hope to grow the contest.
  • This event will allow teams from across the US and Canada to compete for the title of North America Champion in a head-to-head competition. Only teams who participate in the NAC will receive a North America ranking.
  • The reality is that interest in the ICPC worldwide is growing very, very quickly and the number of teams from North America that will be allowed to compete at the World Finals will continue to decrease as the number of teams competing in regional contests in NA becomes a smaller percentage of the teams in the world. Only a few years ago, North America sent 25 teams. In 2020, the expected number is 18.

3. When is the NAC?

In 2020, the NAC will be Wednesday, February 19 (arrival day) to Sunday, February 23 (departure day) with the competition on Saturday, February 22, 2020.

4. Where is the NAC?

The NAC will be hosted by Georgia Tech College of Computing in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. Georgia Tech has prepared an outstanding contest venue at the Georgia World Congress Center, first-class accommodations at the Omni Hotel adjacent to the CNN Center, and several surprise events that will satisfy even the most seasoned World Finals attendee.

5. If I qualify, what do I have to do?

Once your team advances you will receive an email telling you how to register for the NAC. A letter of invitation and periodic updates about hotel rooms and other information will be posted on your dashboard. If you are at a Canadian university and need help with a visa, the host will provide a letter and other assistance with that process. You will be asked if you need help with a visa when you register. The host contest manager coordinating all visas is Alyshia Jackson who can be reached at alyshia.jackson@icpc.global.

6. What do I have to pay for?

Teams need to provide their own transportation to Atlanta. Once in Atlanta, everything else is covered by the host, sponsors, and the ICPC. This includes transportation from the airport, hotel rooms for three team members and a coach (double occupancy), all meals and ceremonies, an excursion, and a celebration event.

7. Is there information about the contest on a host website?

Yes. Georgia Tech College of Computing has created a site icpcnac2020.cc.gatech.edu to provide information to contestants about Atlanta, the venue, the hotel, and other logistics. The schedule of events will be posted there and at the ICPC site nac.icpc.global.

8. How do teams qualify for the NAC this year?

The full rules are found at nac.icpc.global but here is a quick overview. Teams will compete in the regionals, as in past years, but this year 55 teams from North America will qualify for the NAC. If you are in a region where the same team goes to the World Finals almost every year, here is your chance to experience a World Finals event – and take another crack at the team that beat you in the regionals.

9. How many teams will qualify from each regional this year?

A total of 55 teams will advance to the NAC. The breakdown by region is given below:

2019 ICPC North America Regional Contests # of Teams Invited to ICPC NAC 2020 2019 ICPC North America Regional Contests # of Teams Invited to ICPC NAC 2020
Pacific Northwest 5 East Central 6
Greater New York 5 Rocky Mountain 4
Mid-Atlantic USA 7 South Central 4
Mid-Central 6 Southeast USA 5
North Central 7 Southern California 5
Northeast 6 Total: 60

Note that Coaches are expected to accompany their teams to the event (NAC and WF)

10. Roughly, what is the schedule for the NAC?

  • Wednesday, February 19 - arrival day and evening team registration (6 -10 PM)
  • Thursday, February 20 - excursion and Opening Ceremony
  • Friday, February 21 - practice contest day
  • Saturday, February 22 - The North America Championship, Closing Ceremony, and Celebration
  • Sunday, February 23 - departure day.

11. How do teams qualify for the World Finals in Moscow in 2020? Where does the NAC come into that process?

There are two paths to the 2020 World Finals:

  1. Win a regional contest – The winner of the regional contest automatically qualifies for the WF in 2020. [Note: This is scheduled to change in 2021.] The team that wins the regional will also receive an invitation to the NAC.
  2. Win a medal at the NAC – all the medalists from the NAC will advance to the WF.

Additional teams will qualify from the NAC based on their performance. This year, 18 teams will advance from North America to the World Finals: the 11 regional winners and the top 7 teams from the NAC who do not already have an invitation to the WF. There may be overlap between the regional winners and the NAC medalists – or maybe not.

12. Is that likely to change next year?

Yes. We anticipate changing the rules next year so that all teams that advance to the World Finals will do so by their performance at the NAC.

13. If a team wins a regional contest and is automatically promoted to the 2020 WF, do they have to attend the NAC?

No. The top team will advance to the 2020 WF whether they attend the NAC or not. However, teams are highly encouraged to participate for the following reasons:

  • Up to $2,000 will be made available to the regional winners to defray expenses for attending the NAC. This is available for teams that fly as well as teams that drive to the event.
  • Teams will gain additional practice and experience to help them prepare for the WF
  • Regional winners who attend the NAC will be eligible for up to $4,000 in funding to help defray the cost of getting to Russia. If a regional winner chooses not to attend the NAC, they will not be eligible to receive either the $2,000 to attend the NAC nor the $4,000 to attend the WF.
  • Teams will not receive a North American ranking unless they compete at the NAC.
  • It’s going to be an awesome event! If you have been to a WF, you will not be disappointed by the NAC. If you have not been to a WF, prepare to be wowed.

14. If the top placing team in a regional decides not to attend the NAC, will another team from the same region be invited to take that spot and how will it be filled?

If the winning team from a regional declines the invitation to the NAC, that spot will be awarded to the team (in any region) that was closest to qualifying for the NAC but did not, where “closest” is a function of the difference between the last team to qualify and the first team to not qualify (problems solved, total time, penalty points, additional considerations).

15. What awards will be given out at the NAC?

The NAC is a championship event so first and foremost the NAC will crown the North America Champion. Neither performance at the regionals nor performance at the World Finals will factor into the title North America Champion. You must attend the NAC to earn that title. In addition to the championship trophy, and the gold medal, there will be two silver medals, and three bronze medals. Conference awards based on geography (roughly four divisions of the US and Canada) will also be awarded. All schools will be given a North American ranking. If you attend, you are guaranteed to be ranked a top 55 school in North America. US and Canadian rankings will be discernible from the overall rankings. Additional awards may be given to recognize outstanding achievement before or at the contest.

16. Who is running the NAC?

The NAC is an ICPC contest and is part of the ICPC contest structure : Contest structure

ICPC is encouraging all the regions in the world to create this additional level of competition. Amazing support from Georgia Tech’s College of Computing allowed us to realize the model this year. Jeff Donahoo serves as Executive Director of the contest, Troy Peace from GT serves as Host Contest Director, and a large number of volunteers are working hard to bring this exceptional event to you.