Computer-programming contest world finals may await RIT

Strong third-place finish in regional finals could send Tigers to Egypt

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A. Sue Weisler

RIT finished third, behind only MIT and Harvard, in a regional computer programming competition on Saturday. Its strong finish may result in a spot in the world finals that take place in Egypt early next year.

RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences hosted the competition.

A team of student computer programmers could soon be scrambling to find their passports.

RIT finished third in Saturday’s Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest’s Northeast North American Regional Final, just a shade behind champion MIT and runner-up Harvard. But Paul Tymann, chair of RIT’s Department of Computer Science and a longtime organizer of the regional final, believes RIT has a chance to be awarded a wild card slot to participate in the world finals in Egypt early next year.

“Basically, the reason I think that we have a shot is that, in the past, our region has always received a wildcard seat,” Tymann says. “This year, both Harvard and RIT each completed three problems. In an effort to be fair, the selection committee may decide that if they pick Harvard they should also pick us.”

The competition requires each team to solve a set of eight complex, real-world problems within a fixed time frame. The problems are designed to force the teams to work together in order to solve them.

Tymann says it would be the first time in approximately 10 years that a team from RIT advanced to the world finals.

Fifty-eight teams competed in the Northeast North American region this year, with the top 12 universities advancing to the regional finals that were hosted at RIT on Saturday. RIT’s team consisted of Zach Langley, Ben Gardner and Brendan Luchen. Computer science professor Ivona Bezakova was the team’s coach.