Computer science and engineering students participate in international programming competition boot camp

Brazil ICPC 1

Five students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University participated in the MaratonIME International Collegiate Programming Competition (ICPC) Winter School, a programming contest training program held July 10-21 at the University of São Paulo in São Paulo, Brazil.

The two-week event was structured with a lecture-style setting in the mornings that included discussions about algorithms and how to solve various types of programming problems, and five-hour practice contests in the evenings. After the contests students would discuss solution strategies, and at night would try to solve problems they couldn’t solve during the contest itself.

The instructors were two former ICPC world finalists, one from Slovakia and one from Brazil. The participants from Texas A&M included senior, Brian Maule and juniors, Chase Hinesman, Nate Leake and Michael Earl. Junior, Jordan Lamkin participated remotely. The team was led by Dr. John Keyser, a computer science professor.

Brazil ICPC 2“I've never been more challenged by a set of problems. I've always finished every problem for every class here at A&M, even in Dr. Keyser's contest problem class,” Leake said. “At São Paulo, my team was solving about a third of the problems during the contest and another third afterward, whereas other people were solving all of them.”

The ICPC is sponsored by Association for Computing Machinery. The competition started at Texas A&M in 1970 and has grown to a worldwide competition involving more than 45,000 students from almost 3,000 universities in over 100 countries.

“This was essentially an intense two-week training program where our students had a chance to join with some of the very best student programmers in Brazil to practice and develop their problem-solving programming skills,” Keyser said. “I think the students grew tremendously in their programming skills over the course of this program and it was a great opportunity for the students to get to know Brazilian students and experience the culture of Brazil. Additionally, the students will be representing Texas A&M in the regional ICPC programming competition this November.”

The regional competition will be held Nov. 3-4, where teams from Texas A&M, including these students, will compete against other schools from Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma for a chance to go to the World Finals in Beijing in May.