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HSE University Computer Science Teams Place First and Second in NERC ICPC 2022

Team Undertrained+Overpressured

Team Undertrained+Overpressured
Photo: NERCNews / VK

Two teams from the HSE University Faculty of Computer Science (FCS) in Moscow have taken first and second place in the semi-finals of the 2022 International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC). The last time a single university took both first and second place was in 1997. Almost 250 teams took part in the event, five of which were from HSE University in Moscow. A team from HSE University in St Petersburg took fourth place. The winning team was awarded the winner’s trophy of the ICPC semi-finals, while the HSE University teams that placed second and fourth won gold medals.

The following HSE University teams took part in NERC ICPC:

1st place: Undertrained+Overpressured (Ivan Safonov, Maxim Gorokhovsky, Timofey Fedoseev), HSE University in Moscow

2nd place: Yandex PTU (Konstantin Frolov, Filipp Gribov, Vladimir Romanov), HSE University in Moscow

4th place: Lemon Tree (Konstantin Makhnev, Maxim Surkov, Vasily Alferov), HSE University in St Petersburg

14th place: Dirizhabl’ (Alexey Arzhantsev, Dmitry Akulov, Mikhail Pogodin). HSE University in Moscow

22nd place: Sovetskiy Soyuz (Alikhan Zimanov, Sergey Pankevich, Temirkhan Zimanov), HSE University in Moscow

25th place: Just4Keks (Anton Bukov, Vladislav Mosin, Vladislav Epifanov), HSE University in St Petersburg

49th place: Mystery Machine (Fedor Korolev, Kirill Chernikov, Mikhail Gusev), HSE University in Moscow

52nd place: Brawl Stars (Mikhail Zhelezin, Elizaveta Martirosyan, Leonid Yakhtin), HSE University in Nizhny Novgorod

76th place: HS of Abbreviations (Artem Zakharenko, Mark Ipatov, Timofey Vasilevsky), HSE University in St Petersburg

135th place: 1 (Maxim Zarkov, Mikhail Kuznetsov, Ilya Doroshenko), HSE University in Nizhny Novgorod

ICPC is the largest international student programming competition. It has been held since the 1970s. The Northern Eurasia Regional Contests (NERC) are a semi-final stage of the ICPC held simultaneously in St Petersburg, Almaty, Yerevan, Minsk, and Barnaul. The full results have been published here.

Team Yandex PTU
Photo: NERCNews / VK

A total of 213 ranked places were awarded at NERC ICPC (214th place was shared by 40 teams that earned 0 points). The date and venue of the finals of the 2022 competition are not yet known. The finals of ICPC 2021 will be held in November in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Each university can only be represented by one team in the finals.

Photo: NERCNews / VK

‘The only other time in the history of the NERC that one university won both first and second place was with SPbU in 1997. But back then, there were much fewer participating teams and universities. Our result is a historic achievement not just for HSE University, but for our region as a whole,’ said Mikhail Gustokashin, team coach and Director of the Faculty of Computer Science Centre of Student Competitions. ‘Basically, we prepared for the contest in a training camp, where we solved last year’s problems in the same format as the competition: three people per computer over five hours. But individual preparation is also vital, and our students are very good at that—they all started taking part in student competitions in mathematics and computer science while they were still at school. We don’t know yet when the finals will be, as the schedule has been repeatedly postponed due to the pandemic. That means we have time for further training to get the best result possible. We are also going to ask our winners to take part in classes with younger students so they can share their experience.

I would like to point out that our students are particularly creative when it comes to looking for motivation to win. For example, a three-person team was given two tasty bananas and a not-so-tasty apple that no one wanted to eat. The students agreed that whoever submitted a solution containing an error and received a penalty for it would be given the apple. Thanks to this practice, we managed to almost completely avoid penalties and moved up the leader board. So that’s the secret to our success.

I’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to the competition’s organisers, jury, technical committee, volunteers and sponsors. Everything went amazingly. My only request of the organisers would be to make the winner’s trophy smaller in future—otherwise, transporting it from St Petersburg won’t be easy!’

Ivan Safonov, 4th-year FCS student, Team Undertrained+Overpressured (1st place)

Before joining the Faculty of Computer Science at HSE University, I studied at St Petersburg Lyceum 239, then joined the Faculty of Mathematics at SPbU. But after half a year, I realised that I wanted to study more applied things linked to programming, and I transferred to the FCS. My track is Machine Learning and Applications. Now my plan is to finish my undergraduate studies and apply to a master’s programme in the faculty.

I regularly take part in various competitions with similar tasks—both team training and individual contests. These things help you stay sharp. For me, it is also very helpful that I run a student programming competitions group for school children, so I’m very familiar with a lot of useful practices.

NERC ICPC 2022 is my fourth semi-final. I already have quite a lot of experience—last year, I managed to make it to the finals in Moscow. We qualified two-and-a-half years ago, but the dates were moved due to the pandemic.

I enjoyed taking part this year. Everything went to plan and we managed to win. The most memorable part was Problem B because it was the most difficult task in the competition. We had to build a Minkowski sum of the complex convex type and answer multiple queries of its value at a point. In theory, it’s quite a standard task, but there were a lot of details to implement. I spent about two hours on it, but I am very glad it worked out.

We knew that we’d won by the end of the competition, as we had a table of results (it was frozen for the final hour, but we could still figure it out). So, we tried to keep doing our best until the end and calmly completed another problem.

Konstantin Frolov, 1st-year student, Team Yandex PTU (2nd place)

I studied at Lipetsk School No. 2 until the ninth grade. In the tenth grade, I studied at AESC MSU, and transferred to the School of the Centre for Pedagogical Mastery. I came to the FCN after winning in the All-Russian Olympiad for School Students. Here, I’m studying and getting to know my interesting classmates and teachers.

We didn’t study very intensively for the competition—we were all primarily focused on our own things. We realised some of the tactical mistakes we were making in the quarter-finals, and we fixed them for the semi-finals.

Overall, the competition was a great experience! This was my first NERC, but not my teammates’. The most memorable problem was three-dimensional geometry. We did that one last, and it took us an hour. We didn’t think we would do it, but our efforts paid off.

We were very happy when we saw the results. This was my first event like this, and I won a medal straight away. It was very nice and unexpected.

My future plans involve studying, of course. And my teammates and I are going to try and get the same result next year—or an even better one!

Vladimir Romanov, 3rd-year student, Team Yandex PTU (2nd place)

I graduated from AESC MSU before joining the Faculty of Computer Science. I applied to the programme in Applied Mathematics and Information Science at HSE University because in my opinion, it is the best programme in Russia. Another plus is that most of the people I know came here too.

Compared to other student competitions I’ve taken part in, I didn’t do much to prepare for ICPC NERC.

Everything about the competition went smoothly—there were no issues during the tour or after it. The geometry problem stands out to me—it required a lot of teamwork from us. Throughout the competition, we always occupied a prize place in the leader board. So we didn’t feel like we’d won the medal unexpectedly—we were calm about it.

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