Skip to main content

Oxford CS Programming Competition 2012 open


This competition is open to all current Oxford undergraduates, from Year 1 to Year 4, with cash prizes of £600 generously provided by Morgan Stanley. The competition is for a computer program (written in any reasonable programming language) that solves a puzzle described below. Entries must be submitted by e-mail by noon on Monday of the first week of Hilary Term, 2013. Prizes will be presented at a ceremony held in the fourth week of that term.

Flow Free is an Android and iPhone puzzle app, played on a square or rectangular grid of cells. Pairs of cells are marked with coloured blobs, and the puzzle is to link the two blobs in each pair with paths that move horizontally and vertically through the grid, never crossing each other, as shown in the diagram. In a correct solution, all cells in the grid are filled with paths. Your program must accept on standard input an instance of the puzzle in a fixed text-based format and produce on standard output a solution in a similar format.

Details of the input and output formats and other aspects of the specification are contained on Dr Michael Spivey's website. Entries will be judged on their speed and accuracy in solving instances of the puzzle, and also on their clarity and the cleverness of the techniques used. We will accept programs written in any programming language that is supported on Linux, and will use our best efforts to make them work using a recent version of Ubuntu.

A message from our sponsors

At Morgan Stanley, solving complex challenges and fuelling economic growth across continents is what we do. We offer you a career path to success, providing you with the training, mobility and responsibility to make a real difference. To learn more about career opportunities, please visit