Computing Applications

Giving Students the Competitive Edge

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ACM ICPC Executive Director Bill Poucher
Bill Poucher is Executive Director of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest.

The annual ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) shines the spotlight on the next generation of problem solvers during their university years, engaging them in a competition that develops teamwork, programming skills, and algorithmic mastery. Doors are opened for students to measure their prowess among their peers as they push human problem-solving performance beyond accepted norms. ICPC is a competition of global proportions; participation is open to every student at every university on the planet.

This year over 25,000 students from over 2,200 universities competed in regional contests that spanned the globe. The top 112 teams of three competed in the 36th Annual ACM-ICPC World Finals sponsored by IBM and hosted by the University of Warsaw. For full coverage of this event, which took place May 14–18, I encourage you to visit ICPC Digital at http://icpc.baylor.edu/digital/ for full coverage.

Allow me to recap the highlights here:

Officials from the University of Warsaw, the City of Warsaw, along with leading lights from Poland’s science and economics communities worked together to roll out the red carpet, giving the event national exposure with full TV coverage. Leading the opening events for ACM-ICPC World Finals Week was the President of the Republic of Poland, Bronislaw Komorowski.

IBM, completing 15 years of a 20-year sponsor commitment, kicked off the week by introducing their latest cognitive computing and big data research in Warsaw’s newly completed Copernicus Science Center—one of the most advanced science museums in Europe, hosting over 450 interactive exhibits.

The opening ceremony featured an extraordinary celebration of 5D Arts in the Palace of Culture and Science. We are indebted to the University of Warsaw, alumni, and supporters—specifically Finals Director Jan Madey and Rector Chalasińska-Macukow—for transforming the university into an ICPC Village with extraordinary hospitality.

The 2012 World Finals, held on May 17, 2012 at the University of Warsaw School of Management, was indeed action packed. With only seconds to go, the top two teams were neck-and-neck. Both teams solved nine of the 12 problems posed, with St. Petersburg State University of IT, Mechanics and Optics edging out the University of Warsaw to earn the coveted title of ACM-ICPC World Champions. Congratulations to Eugeny Kapun, Mikhail Kever, Niyaz Nigmatullin, and coach Andrey Stankevich!

ICPC is a competition of global proportions; participation is open to every student at every university on the planet.

Throughout the event there was spectacular TV coverage within Poland featuring highlights and interviews with the hometown team from the University of Warsaw: Jakub Pachocki, Tomasz Kulczyński, and Wojciech Śmietanka.

And the coverage did not stop there. On May 22, 2012, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin invited the 2012 ICPC World Champions to the annual meeting of the Russian Academy of Science. In a speech unfolding the national focus on science in the Russian Federation over the next five years, Mr. Putin remarked:

"Incidentally, present here at this meeting today are team members of the St. Petersburg State University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics, which won the 2012 ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest. So our victories are not limited to hockey but extend to such academic disciplines as well. I congratulate them on this achievement.

The brilliant success of our student team is a prime example of effective integration of science and education, quality training of creative and intelligent young people who will doubtlessly be in demand in all areas of life in our country such as Russian science, including fundamental [research]."

The 2013 World Finals will be held in St. Petersburg, Russia, in St. Isaac’s Square, courtesy of St. Petersburg State University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics, the Russian Duma, and IBM.

Now for the editorial.

Poland gets it.

Russia gets it, too.

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