Last weekend, a student team placed fifth among 191 competitors in the Mid-Atlantic Regional portion of the annual Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) International Collegiate Programming Contest.
The competition involves a global network of universities hosting regional events that advance teams to the world finals.
“The contest fosters creativity, teamwork, and innovation in building new software programs, and enables students to test their ability to perform under pressure,” says Xioayan Li, associate professor of computer science. “Quite simply, it is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious programming contest in the world.”
Comprised of computer science majors Brandon Mulcahy ’15 (Macungie, Pa.) and Nicholas Escalona ’14 (Mercer, N.J.) and electrical and computer engineering major John Gehrig ’15 (Belmont, Mass.), the team outperformed students from schools such as Johns Hopkins, Duke, and Virginia Tech. Another Lafayette team, made up of electrical and computer engineering majors Yiming Chen ’15 (Beijing, China) and Sethi Rameel ’15 (Rawalpindi, Pakistan) and computer science major Lucy McKnight ’16 (Felton, N.Y.), placed 59th.
The students were coached by Li and Ge “Frank” Xia, associate professor of computer science, and Jeff Pfaffmann, associate director and head of computer science, who accompanied them to the event. They organized a semester-long series of weekly training sessions designed to expose the students to different categories of computer programs and help them gain the critical skills needed. The sessions also focused on the importance of teamwork in a collaborative environment.