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The Lull Before the Storm


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The National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics (University ITMO), one of the oldest higher education institutions in Russia, is serving as host to ICPC 2013.

Credit: ICPC

The 2013 ACM ICPC World Finalists have trained months, if not years, for a shot at the "World’s Smartest Trophy," which will be handed out to the World Champions tomorrow (July 3). With the contest just a day away, what have the competitors been up to? Quite a bit, actually, as IBM, the exclusive contest sponsor, has a created an exciting agenda to keep students and coaches thoroughly entertained.

Participants were thrilled to begin yesterday with the IBM Tech Trek, an event that featured inspiring presentations by industry pioneer Bjarne Stroustrup, the inventor of C++ and the UPE Abacus Award Winner, and IBM executives speaking about Big Data, the primary theme of this year’s contest and a major economic growth engine and career opportunity worldwide. The presentations featured some great examples of Big Data in the real world.

So, what is Big Data? Every day, 2.5 quintillion bytes of Big Data are created from a variety of sources, such as social media platforms, cell phones, digital photos, and videos. By applying analytics technology to Big Data, organizations in all industries can now establish predictive insights that provide a competitive advantage. For example, analytics software is able to help sort through massive amounts of Big Data and establish a real-time alarm system intended to predict rising brain pressure in patients with traumatic brain injuries.

During the presentation, Doug Heintzman, director of Strategy for IBM Social Business and ICPC Sponsorship Executive, gave insight into IBM’s role in the contest. "As the sponsor, our goal is to celebrate excellence in the next generation of computing scientists, and to provide insight and experience that will help them successfully transition into business and technology professionals. We expose students to the latest technology areas, such as Big Data, Social Business, Mobile Computing and Cloud Computing. The students are also exposed to a great variety of cultures and ways of thinking."

He also spoke to the great opportunity the contest provides in terms of networking and the pursuit of employment. "This is also a great opportunity for IBM to get a good look at the very best and brightest students of computing in the world and we hope to hire, as interns or as permanent employees, many of the contest participants to help us invent the future and build Smarter Planet solutions."

The day concluded with the Official ACM ICPC Opening Ceremonies, IBM Tech Trek Dinner and tour of the famous Hermitage Museum. Pretty inspiring!

I’ll be back tomorrow to cover the main event, but if you're interested in watching the event live on your computer, you’re in luck! ICPCLive.com will be streaming the entire event and will be updating the leaderboard in real time so you can stay on top of the action. Now I, like all of the students and coaches, will try to get a good night's sleep before the big day.

Chas Kurtz is CACM's on-site blogger at ICPC.


 

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