© 2020

Guide to Competitive Programming

Learning and Improving Algorithms Through Contests


Part of the Undergraduate Topics in Computer Science book series (UTICS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Antti Laaksonen
    Pages 1-7
  3. Antti Laaksonen
    Pages 9-25
  4. Antti Laaksonen
    Pages 27-41
  5. Antti Laaksonen
    Pages 43-56
  6. Antti Laaksonen
    Pages 57-68
  7. Antti Laaksonen
    Pages 69-82
  8. Antti Laaksonen
    Pages 83-113
  9. Antti Laaksonen
    Pages 115-125
  10. Antti Laaksonen
    Pages 127-137
  11. Antti Laaksonen
    Pages 139-153
  12. Antti Laaksonen
    Pages 155-200
  13. Antti Laaksonen
    Pages 201-227
  14. Antti Laaksonen
    Pages 229-242
  15. Antti Laaksonen
    Pages 243-261
  16. Antti Laaksonen
    Pages 263-296
  17. Antti Laaksonen
    Pages C1-C1
  18. Back Matter
    Pages 297-309

About this book


Building on what already is the most comprehensive introduction to competitive programming, this enhanced new textbook features new material on advanced topics, such as calculating Fourier transforms, finding minimum cost flows in graphs, and using automata in string problems. Critically, the text accessibly describes and shows how competitive programming is a proven method of implementing and testing algorithms, as well as developing computational thinking and improving both programming and debugging skills.

Topics and features:

  • Introduces dynamic programming and other fundamental algorithm design techniques, and investigates a wide selection of graph algorithms
  • Compatible with the IOI Syllabus, yet also covering more advanced topics, such as maximum flows, Nim theory, and suffix structures
  • Surveys specialized algorithms for trees, and discusses the mathematical topics that are relevant in competitive programming
  • Reviews the features of the C++ programming language, and describes how to create efficient algorithms that can quickly process large data sets
  • Discusses sorting algorithms and binary search, and examines a selection of data structures of the C++ standard library
  • Covers such advanced algorithm design topics as bit-parallelism and amortized analysis, and presents a focus on efficiently processing array range queries
  • Describes a selection of more advanced topics, including square-root algorithms and dynamic programming optimization

Fully updated, expanded and easy to follow, this core textbook/guide is an ideal reference for all students needing to learn algorithms and to practice for programming contests. Knowledge of programming basics is assumed, but previous background in algorithm design or programming contests is not necessary. With its breadth of topics, examples and references, the book is eminently suitable for both beginners and more experienced readers alike.

Dr. Antti Laaksonen has worked as a teacher and researcher at the University of Helsinki and Aalto University, Finland.


Programming Algorithms Contests Software engineering Problem solving

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

About the authors

Dr. Antti Laaksonen has worked as a teacher and researcher at the University of Helsinki and Aalto University, Finland. He has served as one of the organizers of the Finnish Olympiad in Informatics since 2008, and as the Scientific Chair of the Baltic Olympiad in Informatics in 2016. He has also coached and led the Finnish team at several international programming contests, including the International Olympiad in Informatics 2009–2016, and has established experience in teaching programming and algorithms.​

Bibliographic information

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