Discussion of North American Super-Region Organization

May 14th, 2012 | Categories: North America Super-Region

This post is for general discussion of the organization of the North American Super-Region, and questions of how the super-regional organization might be changed to encourage more participation, give more teams a next-level contest experience, and improve North American performance.

  1. avatar
    August 20th, 2012 at 15:51

    I sent this email to the North American Regional Directors on Monday, Aug. 20, to kick off the discussion.



    I hope everyone had a restful summer. In Warsaw, there was some discussion of having a “North American Super-Regional Championship” contest. For any Regions that chose to participate, their top teams would advance to this next level. From that contest, the top team from each Region would advance to Finals, as well as some number of wildcards. The goals are to increase participation, by having a contest that more teams could advance to, and to increase performance at Finals, by sending better teams.

    Due to the way the ICPC rules work, teams must advance to Finals from Regionals. So there can’t be a Super-Regional contest. (Super-Regions are really just administrative conveniences.) Having an ICPC contest involving teams from multiple Regions would involve serious reorganization. We would need to write a proposal and present it to the International Steering Committee; the entire process could take 2 years. Regionals in the fall of 2012 and Finals 2013 are set and will not be affected.

    I would like to propose a restructuring of the North American Regions to the ISC. Participation from the current Regions would be voluntary. Anyone who would like to participate should help me draft the proposal. I would also like anyone who opposes the idea to write a rebuttal for the ISC; I certainly want everyone to have a voice.

    We can look to the way Asia and Northeast Europe work for examples of organizational structure.

    The way Asia works is it is a single Region, with a bunch of sub-regions, each of which have their own independent contest. Teams may participate in as many sub-regions as they wish. The top university from each sub-region goes to Finals. The remaining universities get points based on how they finished at the sub-regions;
    the remaining slots are assigned based on those points. There is no “final round” contest.

    In Northeast Europe (Russia) they have 3 tiers — Regional quarter finals, Regional semi finals and Regional finals. I don’t know how many teams advance from quarters to semis, or semis to regional finals.

    Given these two models, I propose a combination: Two or more current Regions dissolve; a single new Region is formed. We would recommend a Director for the new Region. The former Regions are now sub-regions and their former RCDs become directors of their sub-regions. Each sub-region has a contest in the fall; the top teams (one per school) from that contest advance to the Regional contest. Based on that contest, the best school from each sub-region advances to Finals, with the remaining wildcards based on placement. IBM would fund the Regional contest; the Regional contest would fund the sub-regions, which would also seek additional funding.

    I would want to write the proposal so that it’s easy, in the future, for a current Region to join the new Region without the 2 year ISC approval process.

    It is important to note that, according to the ICPC rules, each Region is guaranteed only one slot. So n current Regions turning into one new Region would give up n-1 guaranteed slots. However, looking at Asia and Northeast Europe as guides, I believe this would be compensated for by Participation wildcards. In the proposal, I would ask the ISC to guarantee the new Region at least n Participation wildcards for three years, to help the new model get established. (n would increase if more current Regions joined the new Region.)

    Of course, the devil is in the details. A very quick list of open questions:

    * How many teams from each sub-region should advance to Regionals? If it’s a constant, is that incompatible with Regional growth?

    * Should only one team from each school be allowed to advance to Regionals?

    * Should participation of the current Regions be all-or-nothing, or should a subset of current Regions be allowed to participate?

    * (Inspired by the Eurozone.) What if a current Region participates, doesn’t like it, and wants to go back to being an independent Region?

    * Should the top team from each sub-region advance to Finals, like in Asia, or should the teams that advance be determined by a “final round” Regional contest, like in Russia?

    David Van Brackle, the head judge for Southeast, is allowing us to use his personal website to host our discussion. You will need to make an account.


    I think having a linear discussion on his site will be easier than having a branching discussion by email. We can also have Google Hangout meetings for video chats.

    Bill very kindly spoke with me for about 80 minutes about this idea. He is genuinely supportive, but insists that the ICPC rules and procedures are followed. So, anyone who’s in favor please join me in the discussion and let’s start hammering out the proposal. (I expect you academics have far more experience writing proposals than I do.) As I said earlier, I also encourage the “loyal opposition” to participate; having more viewpoints can only make the discussion stronger.

    I hope to see you all in the discussion, and in St. Petersburg.

    Thank you,


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