Battle of the Brains

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Inside the IBM Chill Zone and IBM Tech Trek - An Interview with Andrew Hately, Distinguished Engineer and CTO, IBM Cloud Performance

May 5th, 2016

Welcome back! It's hard to believe, but we're exactly two weeks away from ICPC World Finals in Phuket, Thailand! Today on the Battle of the Brains podcast, we're thrilled to have Andrew Hately, Distinguished Engineer and CTO, IBM Cloud Performance, on with host Courtney Thomas to discuss the IBM Tech Trek, IBM Chill Zone, and the technology trends he thinks will shape the future.


Countdown to Phuket - An Interview With ICPC Deputy Executive Director Jeff Donahoo

April 29th, 2016

We're getting closer to ACM-ICPC World Finals in Phuket, Thailand! To help get everyone ready and excited for this year's contest, "Battle of the Brains" host Courtney Thomas sat down with Jeff Donahoo, ICPC Deputy Executive Director. Their conversation covers everything from what competitors can expect on-site to how to support your favorite team, even if you can't make it to Thailand.

Welcome to ICPC 2016!

April 15th, 2016

With just 33 days to go until students arrive on-site in Phuket, Thailand for World Finals, we are all gearing up for the world's oldest, largest and most prestigious programming contest.

Now in its 40th year, the Annual ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest, or ICPC for short, serves as a proving ground for the top collegiate programmers, challenging them to solve a series of complex real-world problems in just five hours. Huddled around a single computer, the 128 teams of three students will race against the clock in a grueling battle of logic, strategy and mental endurance.

For the last 19 years, the contest has been sponsored by IBM, one of the fastest-growing enterprise cloud companies. In addition to competing in the World Finals, students on-site in Thailand will be exposed to the latest technologies from IBM through speakers and interactive o, on-site demos of IBM Bluemix and IBM Watson. The participants will also have the opportunity to meet with current IBM professionals to learn about industry trends and professional opportunities.

Keep checking back here as we get closer to World Finals for interviews with IBM and ICPC executives, information on our host city Phuket and, of course, more information about what this year's world finalists can expect heading into the competition.

A Pictorial History of the 2015 World Finals

May 26th, 2015

What an amazing ACM-ICPC World Finals in Marrakech! Congrats to ITMO, the World Champions and first team ever to solve all 13 problems. We'll be back next spring, but until then, here are some of our favorite photos from the event.
















Beautiful Marrakech, the World Finals Host City

May 4th, 2015

Next stop: Marrakech, Morocco! Get excited for the World Finals of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest, sponsored by IBM. Each year, the ACM-ICPC invites over one hundred teams and coaches from all over the globe to compete for the World’s Smartest Trophy. This year, the 39th annual Battle of the Brains will be held in the beautiful Marrakech, Morocco – a city filled with rich culture and gorgeous sites. Is there anything better than computing with a view?


With nearly one million citizens, Marrakech is the fourth largest city in Morocco. The red walls of the city, built in 1122-1123 AD, have given the city the nickname of the "Red City" or "Ochre City." Marrakesh grew rapidly and was soon established as a cultural, religious, and trading center. Like many Moroccan cities, Marrakech comprises an old fortified city packed with vendors and markets. In addition to Marrakech being one of the busiest cities in Africa that serves as a major economic center and tourist destination, visitors can look forward to gorgeous weather, as the average high temperature in May is 85˚F (29˚C). Be prepared, though, as daily highs can surge past 100 ˚F (37 ˚C)!


When planning your stay in Marrakech, hopefully you can take a day or two before or after the contest to explore! Be sure to consider the many attractions that make this destination such an exceptionally diverse landmark. First, get ready to tour Jemaa el-Fnaa Square! This place is known worldwide for being the core of the city’s activity. Next on the list is the Marrakesh Souk, the largest open-air market in Morocco. There is so much more to check out like renowned gardens, stunning city walls and gates, palaces, mosques and more. 


Whether you are interested in Marrakech’s delicious food, incredible architecture, famous markets, or really just exploring the land, we promise there is something for everyone to love. Check out a list of optional World Finals excursions here! We hope you’re as excited for the World Finals as we are! See you in Marrakech in less than two weeks!

Get Ready for the World Finals with ICPC Deputy Executive Director Jeff Donahoo

April 28th, 2015

It's hard to believe, but the ACM-ICPC World Finals in Marrakech, Morocco, are just three weeks away! To help set the stage for the event, "Battle of the Brains" host Chas Kurtz sat down with Jeff Donahoo, ICPC Deputy Executive Director. Their conversation covers everything from event activities to helpful advice for competitors as they make their final preparations for the contest. 


InterConnect 2015 Keynote Presentations

April 22nd, 2015

Are you a programmer interested in Watson? Or an ICPC 2015 contestant intrigued by all of the possibilities offered by cloud computing? Or even just a tech enthusiast looking to broaden your knowledge?

If you’re reading this, odds are good that you’ve answered yes to at least one of those questions, so the videos below will certainly be right up your alley.

In February, IBM hosted its signature cloud and mobile conference, InterConnect 2015. The following thirteen keynote presentations were among the event highlights. If you couldn’t make it to Vegas for the conference, sit back and enjoy:

World Finals Preview with Jeff Donahoo

June 10th, 2014

Why was Ekaterinburg selected as this year’s World Finals host city? How can ICPC fans who can’t make it to Ekaterinburg follow the contest? What exciting activities are on tap for the World Finalists? Jeff Donahoo, ICPC Deputy Executive Director, shares answers to these questions and more in this pre-World Finals podcast with "Battle of the Brains" host Chas Kurtz.



A Conversation with Alain Azagury, IBM’s New ACM-ICPC Sponorship Executive

May 22nd, 2014

"Battle of the Brains" host Chas Kurtz sits down with Alain Azagury, IBM's new ACM-ICPC Sponsorship Executive. Azagury, who also serves as Director of IBM Software Group Technical Strategy and is a member of IBM Academy, discusses his career, Watson and this year's contest. Azagury1.jpg


Ekaterinburg at a Glance

May 7th, 2014

Guest Post by

We are thrilled to have our friends at share some background information about Ekaterinburg, the vibrant host city of ICPC 2014.


Yekaterinburg, alternatively romanized as Ekaterinburg, was named after Tsar Peter the Great’s wife Catherine I. Between 1924 and 1991, the city was named Sverdlovsk after Yakov Sverdlov, the Communist party leader. The region is still officially known as Sverdlovsk Oblast.  

The city was founded in 1723 by Vasily Tatishchev, a Russian statesman and historian, and Georg Villim de Gennin (originally, Wilhelm de Hennin), a military officer and engineer, who was, according to different sources, either a German or Dutch.  

Officially, it is the fourth-largest city in Russia after Moscow, St.Petersburg, and Novosibirsk.


Yekat is the first city in Asia and the last city in Europe, which makes it equally attractive to international companies and tourists. Since its foundation, the city has seen lots of historic events on its way to the 21st century.

In Yekaterinburg, history and modern life blend. The Romanov places, the Russian Constructivist styles of architecture, parks, churches and monasteries – every day may be different, just plan your trip carefully.



If you travel alone or with your family, Yekaterinburg has a lot of amusements to choose from. The city is famous for its theatres and music halls, museums and art galleries.  Enjoy a wide range of amusements: bars and pubs, jazz and techno clubs.


Because of long-standing contacts with Asian people and nations from the Caucasus mountains, the Ural region may offer food to please anyone’s taste buds. You will find quite a few German, Indian, Italian, Mexican, Serbian, Syrian, Georgian cafés and restaurants. Would you like to boast to your friends how you ate borsch and drank vodka in Russia? Visit Russian and Ukrainian restaurants. We guarantee that you will find dishes to your taste.  

Yekaterinburg is a fast growing megapolis, where history and modern life blend seamlessly.