HMC Teams to Compete in Intercollegiate Programming Contest

November 5, 2012

Four Harvey Mudd College teams will compete in the IBM-sponsored ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest Nov. 10 at Riverside Community College in Riverside, Calif.

Winners of the regional contest will move forward to the World Finals, slated for June 30-July 4, 2013 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The HMC student teams consist of Andrew Carter ’13, Carl Walsh ’13, and Matt Prince ’13; Josh Oratz ’13, John Wentworth ’13 and James Kaplan ’15; Jordan Librande ’13 and Jordan Ezzell ’13; and, John Sarracino ’14, Emil Guliyev ’13 and Peter Fedak ’13.

The contest challenges students to solve complex, real-world programming problems within a five-hour period. To win, teams must solve the most problems in the fewest attempts in the least cumulative time.

“It’s a programming competition that challenges students to develop algorithms quickly, thoroughly and accurately. The many excellent teams in the region make it a tough contest,” said Zach Dodds, professor of computer science and ACM coach. “We have a one-unit CS class, Programming Practicum (CS 189), with which students prepare for the event by practicing those problem-solving skills.”

Each year that one of HMC’s teams has placed first at the regional competition (1996, 1997, 1998, 2009 and 2010), the team has gone on to represent the College at the World Finals. In 1997, HMC’s team of Brian Carnes ’97, Brian Johnson ’98, Kevin Watkins ’98 and Dominic Mazzoni ’99 (coached by Robert Keller, professor of computer science) won the World Finals.In fact, HMC is the only undergraduate institution to have won the contest, joining a list that includes MIT, Caltech, Waterloo, Stanford and Harvard.

The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest operates under the auspices of the Association for Computing Machinery and has its headquarters at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. The contest involves a global network of universities hosting regional competitions that advance teams to the ACM-ICPC World Finals. Participation has grown to several tens of thousands of the finest students and faculty in computing disciplines at nearly 2,000 universities from more than 80 countries on six continents.The contest fosters creativity, teamwork and innovation in building new software programs, and enables students to test their ability to perform under pressure.