October 29, 2009

Students Will Compete in Computing ‘Battle of the Brains’

International Collegiate Programming Contest will take place Nov. 7

By Meghan Cloonan ’10

Two teams of Lafayette students will be challenged to use their programming skills, creativity, and business sense as they compete in the regional round of the world’s most prestigious computer programming competition.

Sponsored by IBM, the 34th annual Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) for the mid-Atlantic region will take place Nov. 7 at Wilkes University.

The “Battle of the Brains” is based on a competition first held at Texas A&M University in 1970 and requires student teams to write programs to solve as many complex, real-world problems as possible within a five-hour time limit. The contest fosters creativity, teamwork, and innovation in building new software programs, and enables students to test their ability to perform under pressure.

Lafayette is sending two teams of students this year. The first is comprised of electrical and computer engineering majors Berkin Ilbeyi ’12 (Istanbul, Turkey) and Ahsan Nawroj’12 (Dhaka, Bangladesh) and computer science major Maytee Chinavanichkit ’12 (Bangkok, Thailand). Members of the second team include math major Bidur Dahal’12 (Kathmandu, Nepal), computer science major Khine Lin’11 (Yangon, Myanmar), and electrical and computer engineering major Elliott Mitchell-Colgan ’12 (Henderson, Nev.). The students have been working under the guidance of assistant professors of computer science Xiaoyan Li and Ge Xia.

“It should be a very exciting event for all of the students,” says Li. “Aside from our weekly training sessions, they actually meet regularly (and voluntarily) on their own to do exercise problems together for preparation. Indeed, as intended, it has fostered creativity, teamwork, and innovation. I believe competing in the largest and most prestigious programming contest in the world would turn out to be very rewarding.”

Other teams is the competition will be from Bryn Mawr College, Bucknell University, La Salle University, Lehigh University, Lycoming College, Saint Joseph’s University, Susquehanna University, University of Scranton, University of Sherbrooke, Ursinus College, Villanova University, and Wilkes University.

Regional champions will move on to the contest’s world finals Feb. 1-6, 2010 at Harbin Engineering University in China. Last year’s team, comprised of computer science majors Miguel Haruki Yamaguchi ’11 (Akashi, Japan) and Ian McBride ’10 (Rye Brook, N.Y.) and electrical and computer engineering graduate Andrew Jameson ’09, advanced to the finals of the regional competition.

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