Programming Contest Downloads

[Note: All bootable DVD-ROM images include (for testing) a "user" account with the password "user". To create a create a bootable USB from the DVD image, use Fedora's LiveUSB Creator or equivalent program.]

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Fedora Core 22 Distribution

Fedora Core 24 Distribution

2017 Greater New York Regionals

The 2017 Regionals are being held in a distributed fashion, which requires teams to create their own bootable USBs or DVDs (see instructions, below). Different brands of PCs require different techniques for booting from external media. Check your user manual for details. Many (but not all) iMac and Mac laptops should work, as well.

Once you have your bootable media working, you should be able to boot your system (PC or laptop) from it. The system should automatically login as user "contestant", but this does not always happen. If it doesn't, just hit ENTER twice when you see the login screen.

At this point, you should try bringing up the Firefox browser. It should take you to the home page 'http://contest-server:8017/, where you will find the usual contest webpage, including instructions for configuring a printer, if you need one. There is also a menu item (on the left) for making submissions during the contest. Ignore this for now. [Note: Wireless access will not work; there are too many problems with wireless drivers to support them on the image.]

There will be an extended practice session from noon on Tuesday, November 14 through noon on Saturday, November 18. Each team will be given an account name and password for the PC^2 web interface (which is accessed through the problem submission menu item mentioned above). Use this time to get acquainted with the PC^2 web interface for submittin solutions to the practice problems as well as clarification questionss to the judges. You will also want to make sure you can use the contest programming environment effectively.

It is vitally important to use this practice time to find and fix any and all hardware and software issues. There will be no hardware support on the day of the contest, and software support will be limited to issues that affect judging and contest results.

For the actual contest, you will be given a different password for the same account name.

Miscellaneous Stuff

Instructions for 2017 Greater New York Regionals

The rules for booting USBs and DVDs have changed somewhat in the past few years. Not every technique works for all machines. The instructions below cover most of the possibilities.

Method #1: Creating a bootable USB using the dd command on Linux

  1. Download the compressed contest disk image from the contest server using the link above or with the command:
  2. You must have permission on the Linux system to write to disk volumes.

    Insert your USB thumb drive. It must be at least 4GB in size.

  3. Determine the name of the system assigned to the device. Often, this can be done using the system messaging command 'dmesg'. For example:
    # dmesg | tail
    [318414.220371] scsi host1: usb-storage 1-4:1.0
    [318415.975281] scsi 1:0:0:0: Direct-Access     SMI      USB DISK         1100 PQ: 0 ANSI: 4
    [318415.975842] sd 1:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg0 type 0
    [318415.976368] sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] 8052736 512-byte logical blocks: (4.12 GB/3.84 GiB)
    [318415.977165] sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
    [318415.977171] sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 43 00 00 00
    [318415.977983] sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] No Caching mode page found
    [318415.978068] sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] Assuming drive cache: write through
    [318415.984414]  sdb: sdb1 sdb2 sdb3
    [318415.987209] sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI removable disk
    In this case, "sdb" is the device name chosen for the USB drive. The device PATH is /dev/sdb
  4. Now, write the image to the thumb drive:
    gunzip < gny-2017.img.gz | dd of=/dev/sdb bs=1M status=progress
    (This could take between 8 and 30 minutes to do depending on your thumb drive and system. It should print progress messages as it is copying.)
  5. When it finishes, remove the thumb drive. You should be able to boot off the drive on a laptop or desktop.

Method #2: Creating a bootable USB using Fedora Media Writer on Windows

You may need to prepare your USB drive first (see below).
  1. Download and install Fedora Media Writer V4.1.0 from this link:
  2. Download the ISO contest image from the link:
    (The image is about 1.7GB so be patient).
  3. Insert your USB drive (at least 4gb recommended - 2gb may work, but no guarantees)
  4. Start Fedora Media Write as "Administrator". Find "Fedora Media Writer" in your Start menu, expand the folder then right click on "Fedora Media Writer" and select "Run as Administrator"
  5. Choose "Custom Image" (the bottom choice)
  6. Browse to the location where you downloaded the ISO contest image, and select the ISO file.
  7. When the "Write Custom Image" window pops up, make sure that the correct USB disk is selected and select the red "Write to disk" button.
  8. This will take some time - maybe 5 to 10 minutes.
  9. Check for errors on the window. If none, the choose the "Close" button.
You will also need a "TEAM-SAVE" drive (see below).

Method #3: Creating a bootable USB using the diskutil command on MacOS

  1. Download the ISO image.
  2. With USB drive not inserted, run diskutil list.
  3. Insert USB drive, and again run diskutil list to the new drive / your USB drive. The drive will be referred to by /dev/diskN (where N is a number).
  4. Run diskutil unmountDisk /dev/diskN.
  5. Run sudo dd if=path/to/2017-Contest-Image.iso of=/dev/rdiskN bs=1m. This operation takes about 5 minutes. You can press control-T in the console to send the INFO signal and see the progress about this operation.
  6. When finished, run diskutil eject /dev/diskN
You will also need a "TEAM-SAVE" drive (see below).

Method #4: Burn a bootable DVD

If all else fails, download the ISO image, and burn it to a

You will also need a "TEAM-SAVE" drive (see below).

The "TEAM-SAVE" Drive

[Note: This is only necessary if you use Method #2, 3 or 4. Do not do this if you use Method #1; (the drive you create that way has its own TEAM-SAVE partition).]

In order to have the system save your work periodically so you don't lose anything if the system must be rebooted, you will also need another thumb drive (any size you like). You have to format it as FAT32 and give it the label "TEAM-SAVE". This thumb drive should be inserted before you boot the system using the boot disk created above. It must REMAIN IN THE SYSTEM DURING THE ENTIRE CONTEST if you want your files saved. The system will copy your files every 5 minutes to this thumb drive. So, to boot the contest system, insert the TEAM-SAVE disk in one USB slot. Insert the contest bootable USB created in steps 1-9 above in another slot. Boot the laptop or PC.

How to prepare a USB thumb drive for the contest ISO Image on Windows

  1. Select a thumb drive that is at least 4GB in size. (2GB may work, but no guarantees)
  2. Insert the drive into the Windows PC
  3. Create an Administrator command prompt window. Usually from the Start Menu, choose Accessories, and Right-click on "Command Prompt" and choose "Run as Administrator"
  4. At the command prompt, type: diskpart
  5. Type list disk" once diskpart starts
  6. Find the USB disk in the list. Make sure you select the correct one!!!
  7. Type select disk X (where X is the number of the USB disk). Very important to get this right or you can destroy your Windows hard disk.
  8. After selecting the disk, type: list part This will show all partititions on the drive.
  9. For each partition (if any), do:
    1. Type select part P (where P is the partition number as shown in the list)
    2. Type delete part override
  10. The thumb drive should have no partitions on it now. We need to create one for the contest system. type: create part primary
  11. Now the partition must be formatted properly:
    1. Type select part 1
    2. Type format fs=fat32 label="Contest" quick
  12. When the format completes, quit the 'diskpart' utility by typing: exit That is all. Now you can use the Fedora Media Writer to copy the ISO image onto the USB drive.