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Battle of the Brains: High School Programming Competition Hosts Largest Contest in its History

This October, the biannual Battle of the Brains: High School Programming Competition held one of the biggest competitions in its decade-long history. The contest drew in more 135 teams comprising more than 450 high school students from all over North Texas, including teams coming from top schools in the DFW Metroplex, Austin, and Houston. Registration for the Fall 2018 competition was free, thanks to State Farm sponsoring the event.

The contest, which follows ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) style, is held twice a year on the UT Dallas campus with UT Dallas CS professors, Drs. Ivor Page and Jey Veerasamy, overseeing the contest. UT Dallas Computer Science undergraduate students assisted during the competition by moderating the contest, answering technical questions, proctoring and helping teams get the best from our computer systems. These students included Xander Wong, Henry Wang, Cindy Yu Hsin, Alex Armstrong, Justin Tang, Jack Craig, David Richey, William Ingarfield, Vince Le, Max Xie, An Q Nguyen, and Darrin Wiley. Dr. Veerasamy and his team of graduate students provided practical assistance with event logistics and coordination.

The day began at 9 am with UT Dallas CS Ph.D. students presenting research being done in the department as well as a tour of the UTDesign and Makerspace locations and opening remarks from Dr. Gopal Gupta, UT Dallas Computer Science Department Head. At 11 am, students adjourned to three separate computer labs to start the 40-minute practice portion of the contest. Immediately following was the main contest, which went for three hours. Teams of up to three high school students completed simultaneous novice and advanced contests. Every team was given the same ten problems to solve for both levels and was allowed to use only one of the UT Dallas’ lab computers.  To solve the problems, the students were allowed to use only Java 8.45 MinGW C++, MinGW C or Microsoft C/C++. While the competition was in full swing, the UT Dallas Center for Computer Science Education & Outreach kept the teachers/coaches busy by providing them with the option to attend lectures given by CS professors on topics such as Data Science.

Below is the final list of winning teams for both the advanced and novice levels.

Advanced Level Winners Novice Level Winners
1. St. Dominic Catholic School A1 1. Townview School of Science and Engineering N11
2. Richardson High School A4 2. Allen High School N1
3. Coram Deo Academy A1 3. Richardson High School N3


You can view the problems and the results from the Fall 2018 competition by clicking here.

Click here to view all the photos from the Fall 2018 Battle of the Brains: High School Programming Competition.


The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 2,800 bachelors-degree students, more than 1,000 master’s students, 190 Ph.D. students,  52 tenure-track faculty members, and 41 full-time senior lecturers, as of Fall 2018. 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.

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