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15 November 2011, 15:01

Obfuscated C contest returns after five year break

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IOCCC logo The International Obfuscated C Code Contest (IOCCC) has returned and announced the start of 20th competition; the contest had been on hiatus, with no results published for the last one, which was held in 2006. Now, the contest is back and, from 12 November 2011 to 12 January 2012, entries are being accepted in the competition to write the most obscure or obfuscated C program which will illustrate, perversely, the importance of programming style, stress C compilers with strange code, and demonstrate the subtleties of the C language. Although the competition is already open, online submissions will only be accepted from 1 December 2011 as the submission system is being upgraded.

The last IOCCC event, the 19th contest, began in 2006 and the results have now been released. Two pages on the site list the winners by year and winners by name for all years. The 2006 winners included a circuit simulator (EDAMAME Award), a multi-threaded email address to gif converter (Most Useful), a program that played audio by displaying patterns on a monitor (Most Obfuscated Audio), a rational number calculator laid out as 1/2 (Most Irrational), and the best of show winner, an 8080 emulator.

The IOCCC contests began in 1984 when two developers' discussion about how bad the code related to a bug was overflowed into a posting to the net.lang.c Usenet group inviting people to obfuscate code. When they began to receive entries from outside the USA, they decided to add the word International to the contest's name. There are no prizes to be won, just the honour of seeing your entry on the IOCCC web site. The rules and guidelines are available for prospective entrants to review. The IOCCC will also be making announcements on Twitter.


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