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Russian, Chinese Universities Claim Top Spots in ACM Programming Competition


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Of the top 12 winners at the 2009 ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) competing for the best computer programmers in the world, four teams were from Russian universities, one was from Georgia (a former member of the USSR), one was from China, and three represented universities in the United States and Canada. First place went to St. Petersburg University of Information Technology, Mechanics and Optics (Russia) for the second year in a row, followed by Tsinghua University (China), St. Petersburg State University (Russia), Saratov State University (Russia), the University of Oxford (UK), and Zhejiang University (China).

In North America, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (U.S.) finished in seventh place, followed by Altai State Technical University (Russia), University of Warsaw (Poland), University of Waterloo (Canada), I Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (Georgia) and Carnegie Mellon University (U.S.). This international competition, now in its 33rd year, has been run by ACM, a society of 94,000 computing educators, researchers, and professionals worldwide, since the mid 1970s as the premiere programming competition. Financial and systems support for the competition is provided by IBM.

The contest took place in Stockholm, Sweden with 100 teams competing in the final round. Earlier rounds of the competition featured 7,109 teams representing 1,838 universities from 88 countries. Full results are available at the ICPC Web site.

ACM President Professor Dame Wendy Hall hailed the importance of problem-solving abilities demonstrated throughout the competition from teams around the world. "It is clear that computational thinking, which is at the heart of the information technology revolution, is the engine that is driving innovation in these countries. As we seek to strengthen computing education and fill the talent pipeline for future workers, it is an important reminder that, while U.S. enrollment in computer science programs may have increased, we need to continue investing in programs that attract women and other underrepresented groups to this field," said Dame Wendy, professor of computer science at the University of Southampton, UK, and a renowned researcher in Web science including multimedia and hypermedia.

In the U.S., ACM recently created a high-level committee of acclaimed computer scientists and educators to improve opportunities for quality education in computing and computer science. Chaired by Bobby Schnabel, dean of the Indiana University School of Informatics, ACM's Education Policy Committee (EPC) is developing initiatives aimed at shaping national education policies that impact on the computing field.

ACM is also instrumental in efforts to help high school students, teachers, and parents better understand the kinds of careers enabled by studying computer science. For example, Computing Degrees & Careers is a concise brochure in pdf format detailing expanding job opportunities for students with computing degrees.

As part of its education program, ACM founded the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) to support and promote the teaching of computer science at the K-12 level. CSTA provides opportunities and resources for teachers and students to improve their understanding of computing disciplines. It recently published A Model Curriculum for K-12 Computer Science to prepare young people to excel in computer science. CSTA also produced a new computing careers poster as a valuable resource for teachers.


 

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