Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

ECE News Story

UM Programming Team Advances to World Finals

A CSE undergrad student team will compete in the World Finals of the International Collegiate Programming Contest to be held in Prague, Czech Republic from March 28 to April 1, 2004. The contest, organized by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and sponsored by IBM, will bring together 72 teams selected from regional competitions among 1300 colleges and universities in 68 countries. The UM team, consisting of undergraduate computer science students Nuttapong Chentanez, Galen Elias and James McCann, won its berth by placing fourth in a field of 127 teams at the East Central North America (ECNA) Regional Programming Contest on November 8. A second UM team, consisting of undergraduate students William Cheng, Yuan-Min Tang, and Arthur Tomlin, placed fifth. College of Engineering professor Kevin Compton and graduate students Andrew Nierman and Jarrod Roy, all of the EECS Department, coached both teams. A UM team has not qualified for the international competition since 1997. Recent ACM competition rankings for UM were 9th and 10th for 2000, 6th and 11th for 2001, and 9th and 10th for 2002. The ECNA region includes Pennsylvania, Ohio, the Michigan lower peninsula, eastern Ontario, and most of Indiana. Universities in this region may enter at most two teams of three students in the regional contest. The only teams scoring better than the two UM teams were the University of Waterloo teams (placing first and third) and a University of Toronto team (placing second). Teams competed to solve the most programming problems in a five hour period, with total time as a tie breaker. The Chentanez-Elias-McCann team solved six of the eight problems posed and the Cheng-Tang-Tomlin team solved five. Some of the UM team members began training for the regional contest in January. In addition to the team members listed above, Gabriel Black, Marina Polishchuk, Matthew Stockton, and Robert Schroeder served as team reserves and took part in weekly practices. Team training benefited from the expertise of Nierman and Roy, who are contest veterans, and from funding of ACM student activities by Proctor & Gamble and Goodyear Tire Corporation.