Three teams from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering competed in the South Central USA region of the 35th annual ACM International Collegiate Programming Competition (ICPC) sponsored by IBM, with one of the teams finishing in sixth place overall.

This year’s regional competition was hosted by Baylor University in Waco.

The contest put 71 teams of three university students against eight complex, real-world problems, with a grueling five-hour deadline. Teammates collaborate to rank the difficulty of the problems, deduce the requirements, design test cases, and write programs that solve the problems under the intense scrutiny of expert judges. The winner of the region goes on to compete in the world finals in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in February 2011.

“The Battle of Brains is the Olympics of the computer programming world.  These students push their minds to the limit, manipulating technologies such as analytics, system optimization and collaboration to effectively solve a semester’s worth of computer programming in just five hours,” said Dr. Michael Karasick, Vice President of Strategy and Technology at IBM Software Group.  “The amount of talent that we have the opportunity to witness each year is truly impressive and a testament to the value of this competition.”

The Aggies finished 6th, 10th, and 18th out of 71 teams. The Maroon Team of Matt Moss, Kyle Willmon, and Robert Schumacher solved 6 out of 8 problems for the 6th place finish. Also competing were students Vivian Liu, Joseph Cox, Ryan Schmidt, Prachi Pendse, Steven Tran, and William Chen. The students were mentored by Associate Professor John Keyser and Assistant Professor Dylan Shell.

”Our teams did well, with all of them successfully solving several problems in the limited time, including two of our teams being the first ones to solve one of the toughest problems in the set.  We should also be well positioned for the future, considering that six of the students were first-time competitors, and seven can return next year,” said Keyser.

The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest evolved from a competition held here at Texas A&M in 1970 hosted by the Alpha Chapter of the UPE Computer Science Honor Society.  The details of the results can be found at