RIT Hosts Elite Universities for International Computer Programming Contest

Northeast and Canadian schools attend regional contest

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Some of the world’s brightest problem-solvers from top universities in the northeast gathered at Rochester Institute of Technology in November for a race against the clock, a battle of logic, strategy and mental endurance.

The IBM-sponsored Northeast North America Regional Contest of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest was held for the ninth consecutive year in RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences.

Student teams from RIT and 11 other colleges and universities in the northeastern U.S. and portions of Canada—including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, McGill University and University of Rochester—took part in the competition.

“Hosting the regional finals provides us with the opportunity to bring the brightest students in the northeast to RIT,” says Paul Tymann, chair of RIT’s computer science department and contest director for the Northeast North America region.

RIT’s team, which placed sixth in the competition, consisted of computer science students Zach Langley, third-year; Dan Johnson, third-year; and Philip Salvaggio, fifth-year. Computer science professor Ivona Bezakova was the team’s coach.

“The winning team is the one that solves the most problems correctly, in the shortest cumulative time,” says Tymann. “This year’s winner was MIT, by only 10 minutes.”

This worldwide competition, established nearly 40 years ago, gathers more than 8,000 teams from 88 countries during its preliminary rounds through December. One hundred and five teams will be selected to compete at the world finals, to be held May 14–18 in Warsaw, Poland.

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