UChicago computer programming team again advances to world finals

Steve Koppes
Associate News DirectorUniversity Communications

For the second year in a row, a team of three University of Chicago undergraduates has qualified for the World Finals of the International Collegiate Programming Contest, organized by the Association for Computing Machinery.

The team, called "Works in Theory," placed second in the Mid-Central USA regional contest, allowing the team to qualify for the 2010 World Finals, which will take place Feb. 5 in Harbin, China. Only 100 teams in the world out of 7,000 from more than 1,800 universities in 88 countries have earned this distinction.

The team members are Matthew Steffen, third-year in Computer Science and Mathematics; Korei Klein, third-year in Mathematics; and Louis Wasserman, second-year in Mathematics.

Borja Sotomayor, a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science, and Michael O'Donnell, Professor in Computer Science, coach the team.

Held annually, the ICPC contest engages teams from around the world, who compete in solving computer-programming problems. The contest starts with a regional phase, from October through December, when each of the ICPC world regions holds competitions. The University of Chicago falls under the auspices of the Mid-Central USA region, which includes Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee. Based on the results of the regional contests, teams are invited to participate in the World Finals.

Every year for nearly a decade, the Department of Computer Science has sent teams to compete in the Mid-Central USA regional contest, and UChicago teams have previously qualified for the World Finals in 2001, 2002 as well as this year. The University's ACM Student Chapter, which handles team registration and training, coordinates the participation. This year, the Department of Computer Science assembled two teams, which placed first and sixth at the Chicago site, and second and 16th in the entire Mid-Central USA region (out of more than 150 teams in the region).

Additional Information

About the Association for Computing Machinery
The ACMis the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire, discuss, share resources and address the field's challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession's collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development and professional networking.

About the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest
The ICPC is a multitier, team-based, programming competition operating under the auspices of ACM and headquartered at Baylor University. The contest involves a global network of universities hosting regional competitions that advance teams to the ACM-ICPC World Finals. Participation has grown to tens of thousands of the finest students and faculty in computing disciplines at almost 2,000 universities from over 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. It is the oldest and largest programming contest in the world.

About the University of Chicago's ACM Student Chapter
The University of Chicago's ACM Student Chapter facilitates communication and collaboration, both within the University's computer science community and with the larger community. It organizes a variety of events throughout the year, including round-table discussions, guest lectures and gaming nights. The chapter coordinates the university's participation in the ACM ICPC by encouraging students to form teams and assisting them in organizing practice sessions and solving problems in preparation for the contest.

Contact Information
Borja Sotomayor (UChicago ICPC coach)
Department of Computer Science
University of Chicago
borja@cs.uchicago.edu