Write Problems for Topcoder

So you've taken your best shot at some of TopCoder's algorithm problems, and you've got some ideas for interesting problems you'd like to see in competition. What's next? Here's what it takes to write problems for TopCoder:


  • Problem set for SRM: $900 (assuming no problems are shared among two divisions).
  • Individual SRM problems: $75 (D2-Easy), $100 (D2-Medium), $125 (D2-Hard), $125 (D1-Easy), $200 (D1-Medium), $275 (D1-Hard). (If a problem is shared among two divisions, then the larger of two corresponding rates is applied. For example, D1-Easy/D2-Medium shared problem is paid $125.)
  • TopCoder Open problems, Online Stage 1: $100 (easy), $150 (medium), $200 (hard).
  • TopCoder Open problems, Online Stages 2 and 3: $150 (easy), $225 (medium), $300 (hard).
  • TopCoder Open problems, Onsite Rounds: $175 (easy), $250 (medium), $325 (hard).

Minimum requirements:

  • 18+ years old
  • TopCoder Algorithm rating of at least 1500

Tips for writers:

  • There are three ways to write problems for SRMs:
    (1) Write a full problemset (3 problems each for division 1 and division 2). It is also possible to write less than 6 problems if you want to share some of them among both divisions. A popular way to share problems is D1-Easy/D2-Medium. Less popular (but still possible) ways are D1-Easy/D2-Hard or D1-Medium/D2-Hard.
    (2) Collaborate with another members (for example, your friends) and construct a full problemset as a group.
    (3) Write a subset of problemset. The subset should contain at least a D1-Medium or a D1-Hard problem (because it's harder to find problems for these slots). We will try to complement your subset with problems from another writer. Please note that it may be necessary to wait in order for an appropriate complement to become available.
  • Problemsets for TopCoder Open are normally composed of problems created by different writers. We usually start looking for TCO problems 1-2 months before the actual rounds. When we start accepting problems for a particular tournament, all problems writers are notified about that via email. If you would like to write for TCO, please send us individual problems.
  • You can submit problems as often (or as rarely) as you like - submitting a problem does not commit you to any regular writing schedule.
  • You may not participate in any contest in which problems you wrote are being used.

How to apply:

In order to apply to be a problem writer, please send a writer application from MPSQAS (this is a tool where problems are developed). To do this, launch MPSQAS as http://www.topcoder.com/contest/arena/MPSQASProd.jnlp, login using your TopCoder credentials (uncheck 'Use SSL' checkbox) and submit an application by following Applications -> Problem Writer Application. Once the application is submitted, please contact us at TAlgorithm@topcoder.com (this is step is important because MPSQAS does not automated notifications about submitted applications). Note that currently the old way to launch MPSQAS (http://www.topcoder.com/contest/mpsqas/launch.html) does not work.

Google Group:

This group (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/topcoder-algorithm-problem-writing) will be used to announce available problem writing opportunities. In particular, approximately once per month we are planning to post the schedule of upcoming SRMs and the information which SRMs currently have open slots. Similar information is also going to be posted for TCO rounds.

Please consider joining the group if you are a problem writer or if you are planning to become a problem writer at some point in future.

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