HP Code Wars

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HP CodeWars 2013 logo

HP CodeWars, formerly Compaq CodeWars, is an annual high-school programming competition held at Hewlett-Packard locations worldwide. The first competition was held in 1998 in Houston, Texas. In 2002, the name changed from Compaq CodeWars to HP CodeWars following Hewlett-Packard's acquisition of Compaq. In 2015, HP CodeWars events were held at HP locations in Austin, Bangalore, Barcelona, Houston, Newcastle, Palo Alto, Roseville, and Taipei.

The goal of HP CodeWars is to encourage student interest in computer programming and STEM fields, while supporting local educators in these areas.


At most locations, HP CodeWars is held on a Saturday morning in the first week of March, primarily to avoid conflict with high school Spring Break schedules. In some geographic areas, school schedules are significantly different and thus different contest dates are used. Specific event times and dates can be found at http://www.hpcodewars.org.


The contest is divided into two divisions: Novice and Advanced. Both divisions generally work the same problem set -- the Novice division provides an opportunity for less-experienced teams to have an opportunity to compete with similar teams. Although there is no formal rules regarding divisions,[1] tradition dictates that a team registers as an advanced team if at least one of its team members has completed at least one year of computer science classes.

Programming problems[edit]

The contest consists of approximately 20 problems, each with an assigned point value based on difficulty. The problems generally require input from the user, and should give appropriate output to solve the problem. The programs can be written in a number of different programming languages, including Java, C/C++, and Python.

Contest environment[edit]

Teams compete at an HP CodeWars contest via a custom browser-based environment, accessed via private wireless network. Each team receives unique login credentials, where solutions can be submitted and feedback received. Team scores are available in real time. The teams with the highest scores at the end of the three-hour competition win.

Costume contest[edit]

In addition to the programming competition, many teams vie to see who can wear the most creative costumes. Again, each local contest may have its own unique local flavor.


There is no charge to compete at HP CodeWars.


Generally, a small breakfast snack and a lunch are provided at HP CodeWars.

External links[edit]