On October 28th and 29th, four UT Dallas teams competed in the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) for the South Central Region. This is the most intellectually demanding programming contest for university students, as well as the largest worldwide programming contest. Regional Contests from all over the world select teams that compete in the World Finals. Winners of this fall’s regional contests will travel to the Rapid City, South Dakota area for the world finals in May 2017.
Dr. Ivor Page is currently the faculty sponsor and advisor/coach to the UT Dallas programming teams. During Dr. Page’s training sessions, he and his teams worked diligently to master algorithms that are typically beyond the normal computer science curricula, as well as solve old problems from challenging past regional contests. UT Dallas teams have done well in nation-wide contests in the past. Based on these contests, US teams are selected to compete in the World Finals. The UT Dallas programming team came in 14th in 2007 when the world finals were held in Toyko, Japan.
Dr. Page had this to say about his students and the contests, “We have come close several times to winning our Regional Contest, but we have not won since 2006. Last year our top team came third, solving the same set of problems that the first-placed team solved. This year our top two teams came 5th and sixth” Dr. Page continued saying, “Our 5th placed team is made up of two sophomores and a first-year graduate student: Darrin Wiley, Terrence Park, and Wenting Zhou. They solved the same ten problems that the top four teams solved. The difference is that we submitted more incorrect solutions than the top four teams before getting the correct answers. Being second in such a huge region with so many excellent universities should make us extremely proud, however we expect and intend to be first in the future!”
The UT Dallas CS team of Nikoli Cartagena, Zachary Richied, and Zachary Sullivan came 6th solving 9 problems. Two other teams from UT Dallas CS placed 8th and 20th, respectively, in the competition.
“UT Austin took the first four spots, and UT Dallas was right behind with fifth, sixth and eighth. While we want to be #1, we are in august company; two of our teams came ahead of all other schools in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, which is quite an achievement” noted Professor Gopal Gupta, Department Head of Computer Science.
Dr. Page is the head coach of the UT Dallas Competitive Programming team consisting of about a dozen students. Along with Dr. Balaji Raghavachari, assistant coach, the teams meet every Friday with their coaches for training and practice sessions. Dr. Page also organizes practice competitions through the CodeBurners group every 2 weeks.
To read about last year’s story on Dr. Page’s team competing at the 2015 ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) for the South Central Region.
ABOUT THE UT DALLAS COMPUTER SCIENCE DEPARTMENT
The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 2,100 bachelor’s-degree students, more than 1,000 MS master’s students, 150 PhD students, and 86 faculty members, as of Fall 2016. With The University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the CS Department is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for software engineers and computer scientists.