The ACM International Collegiate Programming Competition draws the best collegiate programmers from around the world, but it started as a humble statewide competition.
ICPC traces its roots back to 1970 at Texas A&M University, when the Upsilon Pi Epsilon Computer Science Honor Society hosted the First Annual Texas Collegiate Programming Championship. The contest has been headquartered at Baylor University since 1989. The competition did not significantly grow until 1997, when IBM began its sponsorship of the event. Since then, participation has skyrocketed by 1,600 percent.
The 2017 ACM-ICPC World Finals mark the 20th year anniversary of IBM's sponsorship.
Before IBM's Welcome Dinner on Saturday (May 20), participants played games, socialized, and registered their teams.
Students relaxed in IBM's Chill Zone and played with fun IBM technology. Speech Sandbox VR, a demo using Unity and IBM Watson, allows users to create objects by simply asking for them. TJBot, which uses Watson, Raspberry Pi, and Node.js, allows access to Watson services. IBM eSports, which uses IBM Data Science Experience and Watson Analytics, is a competitive video game.
Inside the huge ICPC dining room, there were rows of tables surrounded by research posters from the hosting college, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, and television screens showing video of the scenic Black Hills. The dinner aimed to accommodate every taste, offering a huge variety of cuisines including vegan and vegetarian options. Students were in good spirits and were introduced to other teams they will soon face as competitors.
In the few days leading up to the ICPC competition on Wednesday (May 24), participants will attend workshops, tour the local area, and network with others in the technology field.
Kelsey Sinclair, a student at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, is on assignment for the BLOG@CACM.
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