Computer science and engineering students advance to regional programming competition

Students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University competed in a local programming competition that was hosted by the Texas A&M Computing Society. The event is used to select the teams that will represent Texas A&M at the upcoming Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC), which is the premiere global programming competition conducted by and for universities around the world.

Dr. John Keyser, professor and associate department head of academics, served as coach for the students. Twenty students participated in this individual competition; the top nine students were selected to form the three teams going to the South Central USA regional competition. The regional winner will go on to compete in the ICPC world finals, which will be held in the spring of 2017. The three-hour local competition was an individual contest. During the five-hour regional competition, teams of three students will compete together with just one computer shared between them.

Jordan Lamkin, Brian Maule and Nathan Villanueva make up Team Maroon; Nicole Ahles, David Earl and Nathan Leake make up the Team White; and Team Aggies is Chase Hinesman, Christopher Rech and Tao Wang.

Jordan Lamkin, Nathan Villanueva, David Earl and Nathan Leake are also members of the computer science and engineering track of the engineering honors program.

During the recently held local contest, the top students solved two to five problems, with sophomore computer science and engineering major Jordan Lamkin finishing in first place. 

“The programming contest tests students’ abilities to analyze problems, apply their knowledge of algorithms and write working code accurately and efficiently,” Keyser said. “The regional contest also requires good teamwork and resource allocation.”

For each competition, the students are given a set of problems with the goal of writing programs that can solve those problems automatically. Students are ranked based on who solves the most problems, with ties broken by the time taken to solve them. 

ICPC's origin can be traced back to a competition held on campus at Texas A&M in 1970. Since then, it has grown to be a global competitive educational program that has raised aspirations and performance of generations of the world's problem solvers in computer sciences and engineering. Last year, over 40,000 of the top students and faculty in computing disciplines from 2,736 universities from 102 countries on six continents participated in the event.