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HSE Team Makes it to Finals of World Collegiate Programming Competition

Andrey Kashin, Roman Aleksandrov, and Nikita Zemilov

A team from the HSE Faculty of Computer Science was one of the top-ranking teams in the semi-finals of a collegiate programming tournament held in St. Petersburg this year. HSE’s team will now compete in the finals of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest, which is set to take place in the United States next May.

The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ACM ICPC) has taken place each year since 1970. Starting as a North American competition, ACM ICPC quickly grew into a global tournament with qualifying rounds seeing the participation of over 40,000 students from more than 2,700 universities in upwards of 100 countries. The Association for Computing Machinery organises the event, and IBM has been the sponsor for 20 years already.

The format of the competition is very rigid with each three-person team being given a problem set that must be solved within five hours using just a single computer. A jury then evaluates the proposed solutions, and the team gets a penalty for each mistake.

HSE participated in the semi-finals for universities from Russia, Belarus, the Baltics, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia. Nearly 200 teams came to St. Petersburg on December 3-4 to compete, including five teams from HSE. At the competition, teams were presented with 13 problems, and in order to make it to the finals, each team had to solve at least five tasks while maintaining a small time penalty.

All five teams from HSE received certificates in the semi-finals, and one HSE team, made up of Andrey Kashin, Roman Aleksandrov, and Nikita Zemilov, made it into the finals of the world championship. The finals will take place in the United States in May 2017.

‘It’s especially nice to see students from five different HSE programmes take part this year,’ comments the Director of the Faculty of Computer Science’s Centre for Student Competitions, Mikhail Gustokashin. ‘All of our teams placed at the competitions, and students have gotten internships and job offers from Olympiad sponsors and top IT companies. To prep for the competition, we hold a university-wide elective that any HSE student can participate in if they are confident in their programming skills.’

It is important to note that this is not the first time HSE’s programmers have competed successfully. In 2014, a team of alumni from the Faculty of Computer Science won the bronze medal in the ACM-ICPC finals.

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