A team of computer science (CS) students from Rice University placed 55th in a field of 128 from around the world at this year’s Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC).
Representing Rice were Visit Pataranutaporn, second-year graduate student in CS; Philip Taffet, senior in CS and mathematics; and Jose Vera-Garza, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in May and has started work on a master’s degree in CS at Rice.
The team moved on to the world finals after taking first place in the South Central USA region of the ICPC last November. The competition was held May 15-20 in Phuket, Thailand, where teams of three were given one computer, 13 problems and five hours to solve them. The winners were determined by the number of problems they correctly solved, with time as the primary tie-breaker.
“The Rice team did much better this year than last, both in the number of problems solved and their final position. The team trained more this year, largely because they were disappointed in last year’s performance at the finals,” said John Greiner, a lecturer in CS and coach of the Rice programming teams since 2003.
The team from St. Petersburg State University in Russia took first place, followed by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Harvard University and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. Three North American teams placed in the top 15: Harvard, third; MIT, sixth; University of Waterloo, 13th.
“All of the members of this year’s team at Rice will be ineligible to participate next year, either because they’ve been to finals twice or because of age. For next year, we have no ‘heir apparent’ team or students, but lots of interested underclassmen, some of whom went to regionals last year,” Greiner said.
The ICPC is administered by ACM, sponsored by IBM and headquartered at Baylor University. It is the world’s oldest, largest and most prestigious programming contest, with teams from almost 3,000 universities from 102 countries competing.