• Three MIT students, senior Brian Jacokes, junior Eric Price and senior Hubert Hwang compete in the Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Finals held in March. The team won fourth place overall out of 88 teams.

    Photo / David Hill

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MIT programmers strike gold


A team of MIT programmers won a gold medal in the world finals of the 31st Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest, held mid-March in Tokyo.  

Overall, the MIT team placed fourth among the 88 teams from all over the world that qualified for the ACM-ICPC world finals, which are sponsored by IBM. The 88 teams were selected from more than 6,000 teams, representing 1,756 universities, that participated in the regional competitions last fall. MIT's team of Brian Jacokes, Hubert Hwang and Eric Price was one of only 20 U.S. teams that made it to the finals. The MIT team was coached by Professor Martin Rinard of electrical engineering and computer science and by student coaches Jelani Nelson, Daniel Dumitran and Ivo Riskov, and was supported by staff member Mary McDavitt.

Each team of three students was challenged to solve 10 complex, real-world computer programming problems--such as improving the efficiency of the baggage claim process at airports and decreasing the time it takes to load cargo ships traveling overseas--under intense deadline pressure. The teams were awarded medals based on the number of problems they solved in the shortest amount of time.

The world champion team came from Warsaw University, followed by Tsinghau University in second place and St. Petersburg University of IT, Mechanics and Optics in third place.

In 2006, an MIT team won a silver medal (8th place) in the competition.

"These superstars will extend society's ability to address challenges, strengthening and improving the world of tomorrow," said Bill Poucher, ICPC executive director and Baylor University professor.  "They are team players who will make a difference by enhancing the avenues we use to interact with each other."

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 11, 2007 (download PDF).


Topics: Computer science and technology, Awards, honors and fellowships, Contests and academic competitions, Students

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