Aggie Maroon team places second in Battle of the Brains contest

Texas A&M University's Maroon Team took second place in the 2011 ACM ICPC South Central USA Regional Programming Contest, aka the Battle of the Brains, Oct. 29 at Baylor University.

The competition consisted of 60 teams from universities in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, all vying for a spot to attend World Finals in Warsaw, Poland, May 14-18, 2012.

Team Maroon members were Kyle Willmon, a senior computer science major; Ryan Schmidt, a junior computer science major; and Robert Schumacher, a senior computer engineering major.

"While the Battle of the Brains exposes students to IBM's Smarter Planet Initiative, the contest itself embraces a global theme. Thirty years ago, the contest pulled from just a few countries. Today, contest participation has grown more than 800 percent, with teams from 90 countries on six continents participating in their individual Regional phases," said Doug Heintzman, director of strategy at IBM Software Group and sponsorship executive of the ICPC.

The regional teams are given eight problems and are ranked according to how many problems they can solve correctly, and then by the total amount of time taken to solve the problems. Texas A&M's Maroon team was one of three teams to answer four of the eight problems, doing so in a total time faster than the other two teams. A team from the University of Tulsa finished first, solving five of the eight problems, and a team from Rice University finished third.

Team Maroon also has a chance at a wildcard slot for the World Finals.

Texas A&M's teams' coach Dr. John Keyser said, "It was exciting to finish well, but a bit disappointing to be passed near the very end by the winning team. The Maroon team solved all four of its problems in the first two hours and 45 minutes, during which time Tulsa solved only one. But, in that last two hours 15 minutes, Tulsa solved four more, moving into first place."

Team Aggies and Team White finished in 15th and 23rd places, respectively. On Team White were Joseph Cox, junior in petroleum engineering; Taahir Ahmed, senior in computer engineering; and Nick Barnes, senior in computer engineering. On Team Aggies were Prachi Pendse, senior in computer science; Nik Melnyk, sophomore in computer science; and Jayant Notani, freshman in computer science.

View the Standings for the 2011 ACM ICPC South Central USA Regional Programming Contest.

The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest evolved from a competition held here at Texas A&M in 1970 hosted by the Alpha Chapter of the UPE Computer Science Honor Society.