The 2017 event is June 17 at UNM-LA, from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm. We will probably be in building 4. We'll put up signs so you know where to go.
What To Expect
After we introduce the staff and what we do, and give you a very short introduction to the event, we will give you a URL and let you figure out everything else (with hints now and then). You're going to be a little confused at first, but it's okay, everybody is. We want you to struggle: Queen of the Hill is all about trying weird ideas to see how they play out.
We hope you were able to convince a friend to come with you. But if you couldn't find one, it's okay: we'll help you get onto a team with other girls your age, and you may find you have a new friend at the end of the day.
If you'd like to bring your own computer, please do so. We won't be able to help you fix it during the event, but as long as you can connect to WiFi and run a web browser, you're good.
If you'd rather not bring your own computer, that's fine too. UNM-LA is providing loaner laptops for the event.
A faster or newer computer will not help in any way. We've had teams at Def Con who've done amazingly well using nothing but cell phones and a ton of scratch paper.
Bring one or two dozen sheets of scratch paper, and a pen or pencil. There is a 100% chance that you will need more than two pieces of scratch paper.
We expect everybody to act respectfully toward one another, even though you're competing for points. But we also expect you to be creative and mischievous, without getting unruly.
As with many things in life, you will get out of Queen of the Hill what you put into it. But we're not going to force you to have a productive experience. If you decide you want to spend the day watching YouTube or playing games, we're not going to stop you, but we're also not going to give you time we could be spending helping girls who are engaged with the event.
Cheating (spoiler alert: it's impossible)
We've been running these things for eight years now and have seen it all, so don't worry about breaking our system (you can't) or getting busted for cheating (you won't). You read that right: we've tried really hard to think of any ways you might find to cheat, and we want you to give it your best shot. If you want to use your mobile phone, go ahead. If you find something useful on the Internet, use it.
We have gone to great lengths to set up a scoring system that feels fair. If another team makes 8 points for solving a puzzle, you can make the same 8 points for solving the same puzzle. So it's always possible to catch up, even if you don't get the answer first. Of course, if your team works very quickly, you have a good chance of staying ahead of everybody until the end.
There is no penalty for submitting the wrong answer. It's okay to guess, but at some point guessing becomes a waste of time.
We've also set up the scoreboard so that if your team is full of less-advanced members, you can focus on a single category of puzzles and compare your progress to the team in first place.
Staff will be in the room to answer questions and provide hints. Everybody is allowed to ask for as many hints as they want, and if you feel like you need help understanding a concept, we'll have lots of smart professionals standing by to set you in the right direction. But we're not going to just give you the answers: you'll still have to work for them after we've helped you understand what needs to be done.
You leave with bragging rights, but nobody gets a prize.
Sometimes teams like to take selfies in front of the scoreboard at the end of the day. And if you were stuck on something, we'll tell you how to solve it after the event ends.
This event is for girls only: if you're a parent and want to watch for a little while, that's fine, but we're going to ask you to watch from outside the room. When you sign your girl in, we'll ask for a cell phone number where we can reach you. Unless you initial that your daughter can leave on her own, you'll need to check her out before we'll let her wander off.
Parents should expect to become bored with watching their daughter look at a computer monitor: www.visitlosalamos.com has a list of things to do in town. It is absolutely okay to swing by occasionally and check on how things are going, if you want to.
Lunch / Snacks
Lunch will happen at around 12:00, but participants usually want to work through lunch and won't want to leave. You're encouraged to pack a lunch with plenty of snacks.
Everybody will appreciate parents who bring an extra bag of healthy or unhealthy snacks to share, or a pack of drinks. They're computer nerds, so Pepsi and Funyuns are sort of the national cuisine; but hummus and baby carrots are winners too.
Hang on, what about _____?
Feel encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a question that isn't answered here!
Want to help?
If you are a mathematician, scientist, or engineer, and would like to help us run things, please email me at email@example.com.