1. Are submissions acceptable if their worst case score is unbounded?

I think it worth a default exist


3 Answers 3


No, unless explicitly allowed.

  • (Intuitively) it's quite unnatural to think about infinite score.
  • It's uncommon to have infinite score, anyway. (for example, answers don't have infinite score)
  • There may be different "types" of infinities.

However, challenge posters may say that

If an answer has the property XYZ, its score is considered to be infinite. All infinite-scored submissions are equal.

(there may be some tie-breakers, depends on the challenge)


If an answer has the property XYZ, then instead consider the asymptotic complexity of the score when [...]. Solutions with lower asymptotic complexity are better.



Submissions need to be competitive.

That's all there is to it. If you are aiming for a low score, and you end up with an infinite score, that's probably not competitive.

From the wiki:

Be a serious contender for the winning criteria in use. For example, an entry to a code golf contest needs to be golfed, and an entry to a speed contest should make some attempt to be fast.

In other words, if there is an infinite score (or an infinite-score tiebreaker), this should be decided case-by-case, on the basis of whether they are competitive or not.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ 1. This has nothing to do with whether it's allowed. \$\endgroup\$
    Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 2:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ 2. "competitive" is relative. If you get ∞ score but all existing answers are, and you still beat them in a tie-breaker then your solution is still competitive. \$\endgroup\$
    Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 2:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with the header, but I think the body should be more clear that infinite scores can in some theoretical situations be competitive, as @user202729 is saying. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 4:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ So, is it allowed? \$\endgroup\$
    Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 4:04
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm saying here that we don't need a ruling one way or another. We determine if submissions are competitive using subjective judgement, not a list of rules. I don't think we need a rule saying "No infinite scores", as it is covered by "Be competitive". \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 23:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user202729 re #2. Competitive is not relative, but it is subjective. Competitive means that there is clear effort towards achieving a low score. It doesn't matter whether or not it is better than other answers. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 23:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nathan If you already made a lot of effort and the score is still infinite, but it is better than all other answers, is it competitive? \$\endgroup\$
    Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 5:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ The key here is "effort". If that effort is visible, then yes. This is how we judge competitive answers. Whether it is better than all other answers is irrelevant. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 14:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ So, it is allowed right? ... please make it explicit in the answer. (the reason why OP ask this question is probably ∞ is not considered to be a real number) \$\endgroup\$
    Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 14:03
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ My answer is trying to shift the question, because I don't think the question "Can this submission have an infinite score" is the right question. The correct question is "Is this submission competitive". \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 14:08

No for the 1st winning criticia but yes as a tie breaker

If the winner of other aspect has inf score on the tie breaker, that's fine; if more than one has same to here, treat the two inf as same unless explictly modified


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