Computer programming team places second at regional, advances to world finals

Steve Koppes
Associate News DirectorUniversity Communications

For the third year in a row, a team of three University of Chicago students 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 on Nov. 6 in the Mid–Central USA regional contest. Two other UChicago teams placed third and 23rd in a field of 142 teams from universities in Illinois, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee. Due to regional performance, “Works in Theory” was invited to participate in the world finals on March 3 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Only 100 teams in the world, out of 8,700 teams representing more than 1,900 universities in 86 countries, have earned this distinction.

The team includes Korei Klein (Class of 2011, majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics), Denis Pankratov (second–year PhD student, Computer Science), and Matthew Steffen (Class of 2011, majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics). Borja Sotomayor, a lecturer in Computer Science, coaches the team.

The ACM ICPC is an annual contest in which teams compete by solving computer programming problems. The contest starts with a regional phase, spanning October through December, when each of the ICPC world regions holds contests. The University of Chicago falls under the auspices of the Mid–Central USA region, spanning Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee. Based on the results of the regional contests, teams are invited to participate in the world finals.

The Department of Computer Science has sent teams to the Mid–Central USA regional contest for nearly a decade, and previously qualified for the world finals in 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010. The University’s ACM student chapter, which handles team registration and training, coordinates the participation.

About the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

The Association for Computing Machinery is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, 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 International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC)

The International Collegiate Programming Contest 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 several tens of thousands of the finest students and faculty members in computing disciplines at almost 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. 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.

For more information, contact Borja Sotomayor (UChicago ICPC coach)
Department of Computer Science
University of Chicago
borja@cs.uchicago.edu