Michigan programming team advances to national finals

Student programmers from Michigan are competing in the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest, the world’s most prestigious student programming competition.

photo of programming team participants Enlarge
Prof. Emeritus Kevin Compton and the University of Michigan programming teams

Ready! Set! Code!

This fall, teams of college students around the globe have begun competing in regional coding contests with the ultimate goal of being named the best student programming team in the world. Organized by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) is the biggest and most prestigious of its kind.

The ACM-ICPC challenges university students with complicated programming problems for which they must design and implement clever algorithms. The contest pits teams of three university students against eight or more problems with a grueling five-hour deadline, and only one computer. Competitors race against the clock and the winner is the team who correctly and most quickly solves the most problems.

Amongst those competing in the first round of competition this year were four teams from the University of Michigan, who competed at the 2019 ACM East Central North America Regional Programming Contest. One of the U-M teams, The Victors, qualified to advance to the North American Championship contest, which will be held in Atlanta in February.

North America is divided into eleven regions for the ICPC. The highest-scoring team from each region will go straight to the International Finals. In the East Central region, 115 teams competed, and a team from Waterloo placed first. A handful of other high-ranking teams from the region, including the Victors, will compete in the North American contest in a run-off bid to become one of 18 additional teams that will also advance to the International contest.

photo of the Victors programming team Enlarge
The Victors (L-R): Kailun Xu, Aman Karunakaran, and Ramchandra Apte.

Aside from the Victors, U-M fielded three additional teams: The Valiant, The Conquering Heroes, and The Leaders and Best.

The Victors team is composed of CSE graduate student Aman Karunakaran and undergraduate students Ramchandra Apte and Kailun Xu.

The Valiant team is composed of undergraduate students Xinyu Hong, Daniel Lee, and Ming Zhuang.

The Conquering Heroes team is composed of undergraduate students Zhezheng Chen, Matt Wang, and Edward Sun.

The Leaders and the Best team is composed of undergraduate students Anjam Alam, Tongxu (Tony) Bai, and Xin Shu (Cynthia) Zhao.

The U-M teams are organized and coached by Assoc. Prof. Emeritus Kevin Compton. Co-coaches are CSE Lecturer Marcus Darden, CSE PhD student Shang-En Huang, and U-M Dearborn alumnus and former ICPC competitor Dennis Matveyev.

Prof. Compton has organized and led University of Michigan student programming teams since 2001, and has eight times coached teams that have advanced to the World Finals. In 2011, a Michigan team placed second in the world, a remarkable achievement. In 2014, Prof. Compton was recognized with the ACM-ICPC Coach Award for having at that time brought five teams to world finals competition.