Battle of the Brains

Battle of the Brains header image 1

Journey through Regionals: Visual Tour of the ICPC @HU

December 2nd, 2013

This fall, Battle of the Brains podcast host Yinka Adedeji traveled to Howard University in Washington, D.C., to give our viewers and listeners at home an inside look into the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest Mid-Atlantic Regionals competition.

IBM’s sponsorship commitment to the ICPC is part of a company-wide effort to advance the next generation of technology leaders and problem solvers who have combined skills of computing science and business management.  For more information, visit: 

Today’s post is a photo essay of the contest. Be sure to check back over the next few weeks for interviews with team coaches, Howard’s Site Director and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director.

                  The Contest was held on November 2, 2013, a beautiful day in D.C.

The twenty-three teams were vying for the first place trophy and a coveted trip to the World Finals in Ekaterinburg, Russia, next June.

And the winners were…

UMD2 from the University of Maryland!! Congrats!

Thanks to the hard-working contest volunteers!

 It was a great Mid-Atlantic Regionals contest!

Battle of the Brains Interview with David Barnes

November 26th, 2013

David Barnes, Program Director of Emerging Internet Technologies at IBM, joins Battle of the Brains host Yinka Adedeji to kick-off our regionals podcast series. For the first time, the podcast is presented as a video! We hope you think it's as cool as we do!

The Era of Cognitive Computing with Steve Hamm

August 2nd, 2013


IBM Software Group's Amy Angelini is joined by Steve Hamm, strategist, writer and IBM's corporate communications videographer, to discuss cognitive computing. Steve also discusses his new book, Smart Machines: IBM's Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing, which was co-written with John Kelly, director of IBM research. Steve helps listeners explore the cognitive era, its role in the advancement of healthcare, and Watson's ability to sense, reason, learn and interact in new ways.

Tell Steve what you think about his interview by tweeting to him @SteveHamm31, and be sure to mention @BrainBattleICPC to include us in the conversation!


World Final On-Site Interview with Jeff Jonas

July 2nd, 2013

jeffjonasibm.jpgJeff Jonas, IBM Fellow and Chief Scientist of the IBM Entity Analytics Group. As one of the world's leading Big Data experts, Jonas was an ideal choice to speak to students at this year's ICPC, as Big Data is the theme of this year's contest.

After giving the keynote speech at the IBM Tech Trek, Jonas sat down with Chas Kurtz to discuss Big Data.


Inside ICPCNews with Jeff Donahoo

June 24th, 2013

"Battle of the Brains" host, Chas Kurtz, sits down with ICPC Deputy Executive Director, Jeff Donahoo, who shares insight on the ICPC and how to follow the contest for those who can't make it to St. Petersburg next week.


Follow #ICPC2013 live at!

Thanks to our listeners for tuning in. As always, you can visit the IBM website for ICPC news and updates at

For those of you headed to St. Petersburg, please visit for more information about World Finals, including the event schedule and practice problems. In the meantime, keep practicing and good luck!


Why do I go to the ACM-ICPC World Finals?

June 17th, 2013

By Ivan Romanov, Guest Writer

We are thrilled to share the ACM-ICPC success story of Ivan Romanov, who has leveraged his experiences at the contest to expand his professional network, portfolio of work, and more. Here's Ivan's take on why he's attended the World Finals five times.

I have been to the ACM-ICPC World Finals five times already, and never in the same role. I'm going to share with you my reasons for visiting this event over and over again and my different roles each time.

My first time at the World Finals was back in 2002. At that time teams at World Finals were allowed to have on-site reserve participants with them, and I was honoured to accompany the first-ever team from Saratov State University that made it to the Finals held in Hawaii, USA. That was a legendary team of Ilya Elterman, Andrew Lazarev and Mike Mirzayanov, named Saratov SU#3. They became European Champions, won silver medals and became the biggest sensation and surprise of that Finals.

More than three years passed before my team qualified for the World Finals. It was our very last chance to show a good performance, since me and my teammates Roman Alekseenkov and Igor Kulkin were reaching the maximum age for ACM-ICPC participants. Luckily, we used that chance fully. Instead of describing the emotions, I'll just show you the picture from the 30th Finals hosted by Baylor University.


After graduating I led the development of Code Game Challenge - a fun competition that we first hosted during Saratov Subregional contest 2006. Mike Mirzayanov and I were cordially invited to the Finals 2008 in Banff, Canada, to present the Code Game Challenge at the Competitive Learning Institute (CLI) led by Bill Booth. I'm happy that many years later, the game strategy for 2013 ICPC Challenge has been developed by the team from my University.

People whom you meet at the World Finals make visiting the event a really great and rewarding experience. Here is Roman Elizarov, World Finals 2013 Director, in Banff in 2008.


Winning the ACM-ICPC World Finals in 2006 gave me a great opportunity to work for IBM. As a part of IBM TechTrek team I was pleased to showcase two technologies developed at IBM Zürich research lab. That was in 2009 in Stockholm, Sweden, and it was again a completely new role for me at Finals.

In 2012 in Warsaw, Poland, I tried a new role of being a spectator at the World Finals. Every role has its pros and cons. Being just a spectator, I slept in the cheapest hostel next to the contestants' luxury hotels, but for that I enjoyed more freedom there. I also enjoyed ACM-ICPC events becoming more and more spectacular.


For me, it's really easy to remember when St. Petersburg NRU ITMO became World Champions over the past six years. ITMO always won during my last three visits (2008, 2009, 2012) and never won when I could not come to the World Finals (2007, 2010, 2011).

This year's World Finals takes place in St. Petersburg, Russia. It's not a question of whether I go or not, but which role should I try this time?

Check Out Our New YouTube Channel!

May 22nd, 2013


**Photo credit: Mashable

Did you know we launched the BrainBattleICPC YouTube Channel this spring? If not, be sure to check it out! We'll be updating it throughout the year with exciting new content involving ICPC and IBM initiatives.

Six videos have already been added to the site:

  • ACM-ICPC IBM Recruitment
    • IBM's sponsorship commitment to the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest is part of a company-wide effort to advance the next generation of technology leaders and problem solvers who have combined skills of computing science and business management.
  • Top Coders
    • Top Coders from across the globe discuss computer programing and their experiences at the IBM-Sponsored ACM-ICPC World Finals.
  • ACM ICPC Finals 2012
    • The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) traces its roots to a competition held at Texas A&M in 1970 hosted by the Alpha Chapter of the UPE Computer Science Honor Society. The idea quickly gained popularity within the United States and Canada as an innovative initiative to raise the aspirations, performance, and opportunity of the top students in the emerging field of computer science.
  • IBM Mobile Business: More Than Devices, It's The Data Between Them
    • Mobile business is more than devices, it's what you can do with the data in between them. The mobile world is open for business.
  • IBM Social Business: New Ways of Working
    • Social business means new ways of working. It's a production line of knowledge that never stops building. How social is your business?
  • IBM Big Data and Analytics: Make Right Decisions More Often
    • Big data and analytics can help predict trends down to the customer. Sales down to the shelf. What can big data and analytics do for you?

As always, you can visit the IBM website for ICPC news at For the latest ICPC updates, visit the official contest site at And don't forget to follow us on Twitter at!

World Finals Kick-Off: Dr. Bill Poucher Shares Inside Scoop on What to Expect in St. Petersburg

May 21st, 2013


The ACM-ICPC didn’t become the world’s largest and most prestigious programming contest overnight. Luckily for us, we had the opportunity to connect with the individual most responsible for the contest’s evolution over the years. Podcast host Yinka Adedeji sat down with ICPC Executive Director Dr. Bill Poucher to give listeners an inside look into what’s in store for this year’s competitors.

Who do you want to take home the Worlds Smartest Trophy? Tell us via Twitter by mentioning @BrainBattleICPC or using the hashtag #ICPC2013!

**Photo credit: Ivan Romanov, Live Journal


St. Petersburg Express

April 24th, 2013


All aboard the IBM-sponsored ACM-ICPC Express! Next stop, St. Petersburg, Russia, for the 37th annual Battle of the Brains World Finals. Each year the ACM-ICPC invites hundreds of students and coaches from around the world to a beautiful city for their chance to vie for the World’s Smartest Trophy. This year we are delighted to present St. Petersburg, Russia, as our contest host.


With nearly five million citizens, St. Petersburg is Russia’s second largest city, trailing only Moscow. Not only is the city a critical port along the Baltic Sea, but it is also a major international hub that is widely regarded as Russia’s most westernized city. In addition to the spoils of modern architecture and a rich history, visitors can look forward to beautiful weather, as the daily average temperature is 73˚F (23˚C) through the duration of their World Finals stay!


When booking your summer travel be sure to consider the many attractions that make this destination such a unique cultural hot spot. Guests will arrive in St. Petersburg during the “White Nights,” a period between late May and early July where the sun does not drop far enough below the horizon to create darkness at night. You can take advantage of the extra light to visit the city’s 2,000 libraries, 221 museums, 80 theaters, 62 cinemas, and 45 galleries and exhibition halls.


Whether you are interested in St. Petersburg’s illustrious music, film, and literature scene or you are just interested in checking out the city’s world famous history, there is something for everyone to enjoy. For a full list of World Finals activities please visit


As always, you can visit the IBM website for ICPC news and updates at You can also follow us on Twitter at and check out videos on our new YouTube channel at

World Finals, Here We Come: Doug Heintzman Helps Wrap-up Regionals 2012

December 14th, 2012

As we enter the holiday season and begin to wrap-up the regionals phase of the IBM-Sponsored ACM-ICPC, host Yinka Adedeji catches up with Doug Heintzman, Director of Strategy for IBM Software Group and Sponsorship Executive of the ICPC. Listen as he shares some competition insights and insider secrets for those moving on to the World Finals in St. Petersburg next year.

Check back for more podcasts with all the inside tips and tidbits from contest executives, past World Finals participants, and IT professionals. You can also brush up on practice problems and follow us on Twitter.