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UCT team of first years 1st in Western Cape and 2nd overall in ACM ICPC Southern Africa Regional Programming Contest 2017

The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) Southern Africa Regionals was held on Oct 21. It topped last year in being the largest ever since its commencement 15 years ago, with 107 teams having submitted at least one possible solution. There were sites in Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mauritius, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo, and in South Africa at UCT for the Western Cape (hosting 17 teams from UCT, UWC, and SU), Grahamstown (RU, NMU), Pietermaritzburg (UKZN), and Pretoria (UP, Wits, NWU).

In this yearly prestigious 5-hour long nonstop team programming contest, teams of three students have to solve as many problems as they can, using just one PC per team. There were 8 problems to solve. Of the 107 teams who submitted something, 74 teams had at least one correct solution (up from last year’s 48). The average number of problems solved was a mere 1.4 (median 1), though, and only 47 teams solved 2 or more problems. All UCT teams solved at least one problem. The Western Cape team that had the first correct solution (in 16 minutes and 17 seconds) was the UCT team “Dijkstra's little Salesmen” consisting of Victor Gueorguiev, Andrew Mc Gregor, and Tae Jun Park.

The best teams both solved 7 problems, which made time the tiebreaker in the overall classification—a first in recent history of the Regionals—and it was just a small difference in time. The UCT team that solved 7 problems and came first in the Western Cape site and second in the overall classification was “Dysfunctional Programmers”, consisting of 1st year students David Broodryk, Yaseen Mowzer, and Bronson Rudner. Second in Western Cape and third overall was “Just Doing Java v2”, consisting of 3rd year students Jonathan Alp, Jonathan Bouwer, and Dylan Sims. Third in Western Cape and fourth overall was “Gergle Hersh Cerd”, consisting of 2nd year students Matthew Morris and Jeremy Wilkinson (the third member was unfortunately absent due to illness). They both solved 5 problems, with time the tiebreaker, and overall contributing to UCT decidedly dominating the top-5. On a further bright side for Gergle Hersh Cerd: it showed that persistence paid off, and they also received the fun award for ‘persistent programmers’ (most wrong submissions on a problem before getting it right). The team members got the site prizes of a VR headset, Bluetooth headphones, and a (paper) notebook from the ICPC, on top of the usual goodies.

Dijkstra's little Salesmen eventually came ninth overall, having solved 3 problems, as did the team “Marginally better than them”, consisting of first years Luc Hayward, Stuart Mesham, and Callum Tilbury (15th overall). The third team consisting entirely of first year students still ended up at a very respectable 20th place in the overall classification (ahead of any team from Rhodes, UKZN, and NWU). They were “The Big Test Icicles”, consisting of Ryan McCarlie, Brian Mynhardt, and Nicholas Talyor. The top performers outside South Africa this year were from Ethiopia, with 3 teams in the top-20 (14, 17, and 19), and then Kenya (21) and Senegal (31). The full final standings are temporarily available here.

It is only the second time since its commencement in 2002 that UCT will not participate in the ICPC Finals (unless this regional from all ICPC regions draws the wildcard). With the three teams of young undergraduate students having performed well and good performances of the other two first year teams, the future looks bright.

Autobots.jpg DijkstrasLittleSalesmen-1stsolved.jpg DysfunctionalProgrammers-1stplace.jpg

 DysfunctionalProgrammers-1stplaceMoreBalloons.jpg GergleHershCerd-3rdplace.jpg JustDoingJavav2-2ndplace.jpg

MariginallyBetterThanThem.jpg TheBigTestIcicles.jpg UWCcoachandUCTstaffMonitoringTheScoreBoard.jpg


last modified 2017-10-23 11:35