CMU Programming Team Shines in ICPC World Finals

CMU's International Collegiate Programming Contest team of Zack Lee, Christopher Lambert and Andrew Yang finished seventh and earned a silver medal in the final competition held earlier this month in Bangladesh.

Carnegie Mellon University's International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) team recently notched an impressive performance in the competition's World Finals.

The team — computer science major Christopher Lambert and recently graduated computer science majors Andrew Yang and Zack Lee — finished seventh and earned a silver medal in the final competition held earlier this month in Dhaka, Bangladesh. This was CMU's first silver medal and highest finish to date.

"This is, by far, the best performance of any CMU team going back to at least 1997," said Daniel Sleator, a professor in the Computer Science Department and the team's coach. "Considering that the competition is drawing more and more contestants each year and is getting better and better each year, this year's result for our team is truly remarkable. We beat several international powerhouse teams, such as St. Petersburg State, Moscow State University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the University of Warsaw and St. Petersburg ITMO University."

The team's previous best performances in the world finals include 13th place in 2013 and 12th in 2009. 

The ICPC pits top global computer programmers against each other. During competitions, teams must solve complex problems that can require hours of thinking to first come up with a solution and then hundreds of lines of code to implement it. Teams often have to code algorithms on the spot to solve the problems. Programmers have to code fast and without errors.

In the world finals, teams had five hours to solve as many of the 12 problems as possible. The CMU team solved nine problems, including three in the last hour. The result put the team in a five-way tie for third. The tie-breaker — the total time it took a team to solve the problems plus penalties for wrong answers submitted — landed the team in seventh place. MIT won the competition, solving 11 problems.

More information about the ICPC is available on its website.

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