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Three male Texas A&M students in a meeting room, standing in front of the whiteboard. All are smiling at the camera and giving a thumbs up.
From left, Matthew Tran, Naixin Zong and Tanner Hoke are the second Texas A&M University programming team in the last 20 years to advance to the world finals round of the International Collegiate Programming Contest. | Image: John Keyser

A team of students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University participated in the 2021 International Collegiate Programming Contest’s (ICPC) North America Championship competition in August. 

A total of 48 teams competed in the national championship round, and the Texas A&M team, named Tamoo, placed 11th in the United States and 15th overall, qualifying them to advance to the world finals round, where they will face off against the best problem solvers in the world for the title of ICPC champions. This is only the second time in the past 20 years that a Texas A&M team has advanced to this stage of the competition.

The members of the team include Tanner Hoke, Matthew Tran and Naixin Zong. Dr. John Keyser, professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, serves as a coach for the students.  

“I’m happy with how we performed in the championship round,” said Hoke. “Our goal as a team was to move onto world finals, and we’ve achieved that. Personally, I’ve hoped since my freshman year to be able to move on to this final level of ICPC, and it feels great to finally be here.”

To reach the North America Championship round of the contest, the team advanced through regional and divisional rounds where they defeated some of the top schools in the country.

Since forming in 2020, the team has held several practice sessions while also juggling classes, jobs and internships to reach this point. During the competition, they were given 13 real-world problem statements and three and a half hours to solve them. The problems covered topics such as recovering a travel log with missing entries to reconstruct an individual’s path to determining the largest cleaning robot a company could buy to clean an entire room. 

“Thanks to support from our coach Dr. Keyser, as well as the College of Engineering, we received well-designed training problem sets for our practice sessions,” said Zong.

The world finals round is expected to take place in 2022.

Visit the ICPC North America Championship’s website to view the contest scoreboard.