ESC Silicon Valley 2015 Heads Up: Obfuscated C Code -

ESC Silicon Valley 2015 Heads Up: Obfuscated C Code


I was just chatting to Landon Curt Noll, who is one of the judges of the International Obfuscated C Code Contest (IOCCC). Landon was telling me about The Best of the IOCCC Session that he and his colleagues will be presenting in The Fantastical Theatre of Engineering Innovation at the forthcoming ESC Silicon Valley, which is to be held July 20-22, 2015.

One of the longest (if not the longest ) running contests on the Internet, the IOCCC awards those who submit the most obfuscated working C program in 4096 bytes or less.

Obfuscate: tr.v. -cated, -cating, -cates.

  1. a. To render obscure.
    b. To darken.
  2. To confuse: his emotions obfuscated his judgment.
    [LLat. obfuscare, to darken : ob(intensive) + Lat. fuscare,
    to darken < fuscus, dark.] -obfuscation n. obfuscatory adj


  • To write the most Obscure/Obfuscated C program within the rules.
  • To show the importance of programming style, in an ironic way.
  • To stress C compilers with unusual code.
  • To illustrate some of the subtleties of the C language.
  • To provide a safe forum for poor C code. 🙂

Over the past 31 years, winners of the competition have caused C compilers to crash, exploited the C standard, and amazed the most experienced C programmers (including those who created the language).

The unofficial mascot of the IOCCC.

Now, I'm a hardware designer by trade — I only know enough about C programming to be dangerous, but Landon showed me some examples that made me say “Wow! I didn’t know you could do that!” I tell you, this is one session I've definitely marked on my ESC SV Dance Card!

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