Entries from December 2013
December 13th, 2013 ·
IBM offers colleges and universities access
to the latest advances in analytics technology and business industry expertise.
IBM’s goal through programs like the ACM-ICPC, is to inspire the next
generation of business leaders to think differently about how technology can be
used to transform business and redefine industries.
qualifying contests are already underway in the United States and will continue
through the rest of the month. Following the regional rounds, only 18 to 20
United States universities will be a part of the 120 elite three-person teams
from around the world to advance to the World Finals. The final contest will
take place June 22-26, 2014, and will be hosted by Ural Federal University in
Through all of the
hustle and bustle, Dr. Legand Burge, Howard University ACM-ICPC Site Director,
took a break to share his insights on the ACM-ICPC and what it takes to run a
successful Regionals contest.
Legand Burge, ACM-ICPC Site
Director and Howard University Chair of the Systems and Computer Science
Adedeji: How long have you been involved with the
ACM-ICPC and what are your major roles and responsibilities?
Burge: I’ve been involved in the ACM-ICPC since the
late ‘80’s when I was an undergraduate student at Howard University. We have
been hosting the competition here at Howard for over 40 years. As site director,
I coordinate everything from making sure all teams are registered to ensuring
all of the machines have the appropriate compilers or editors for the tools
that the students use to write programs.
Adedeji: Could you tell us a little bit about some of
the biggest surprises and challenges that you face with coordinating a
competition of this caliber?
The main problems that every
site director has is just making sure that the system stays up and
running. You’re talking about several
computers and the network connection and everybody must be tuned to the same
clock. We all have to stay on time. When
one site goes down, it causes the ripple effect within the entire region. One of our major challenges is making sure
that all the systems stay up. Here at
Howard, we do thorough testing, so we feel comfortable the day of.
Adedeji: How can students here in the region get
involved in the competition?
Most universities hold local
programming competitions through their local chapters of the ACM. From there, students are ranked and put
together a top team. They open these local competitions not just for computer
science students, but for any student in any major. You can even have a graduate student on your
team. I think the main thing is if
you’re interested, you should go to the chair of the computer science
department and inquire about an upcoming programming competition.
Adedeji: Thank you so much for your time! I will let
you get back to running the show here today.
December 10th, 2013 ·
The ACM International Collegiate Programming
Contest is no stranger to growth. Since IBM became sponsor in 1997, ICPC
participation has increased by more than 1100%. This year, 29,479 of the finest
students in computing disciplines from 2,322 universities from 91 countries on
six continents participated.
The coaches of
Morgan State University, long-time ACM-ICPC competitors, chat with us about
their growing program and share a few words of wisdom they left their team with
before the competition.
From left to right: Fitzroy
Nembhard, Morgan State University faculty; Vojislan Stojkovic, Morgan State University Associate Professor; William L. Lupton, Morgan State University
Associate Professor; Ashish Parajuli, Morgan
State University faculty
Adedeji: Could you tell us about your team?
I am one of four coaches for Morgan State University. We have had a great
increase of students in the last 20 years so we have two teams competing. We have a great community of 32 students and
they are some of the smartest people in the world.
work in the computer science department at Morgan State University. Participating in this contest is part of our
program to expose students to what the real world is like. It is one of several
outings we take our students on to broaden their experiences, so they can
become employees of great companies like IBM.
Adedeji: I’m sure you’ve been helping them prepare
for months. What type of materials and problem sets did you guys work on?
We have a few talks each week about programming contests. You have to understand the most important
thing is to understand the problem. After that you must map the problem and
understand the right structures and recognize that for most of the problems
they don’t need advanced structures. You
don’t need pointers or functions. You
have to know just basic one dimensional and two dimensional rays. That’s it.
Adedeji: What are the roles of the participants on
Each team member is briefed in a similar fashion. However, each role depends on
the mix of the team and each personality. One team has students with similar
skills, enabling them to work well together. The other team is very individual,
so everyone has to solve one different problem. We think that they can use
their ability to work together to get the job done. The most important thing
will be how to recognize what problems to solve.
Adedeji: What are some of the words of wisdom that
you shared with your students before coming here today?
Nembhard: The team members
are fired up and they simply came to win. We encouraged them to not overthink
the problems and to think through what’s asked of them and try to use the
simple data structures to provide the solution that is needed. The team that
solves the problems the fastest and provides the solution to the problem will
win. We told them not to focus too much on the complexities of the problem but rather
the algorithms that will get them to the solution. With that, they should be
able to relax and take their time while also solving the problem. The more
relaxed one is, the better one will be able to think through a problem and come
up with a correct solution. We know they
are good programmers and we expect them to do well.
Adedeji: Thank you for sharing that great advice. I’m
sure the ICPC participants are keeping all of those gems in mind for World
December 4th, 2013 ·
According to the IBM Tech Trends report, only
1 in 10 organizations have the skills they need to benefit from advanced
technologies such as cloud. Innovation, growth, and the ability to serve
clients is at risk. IBM is taking significant steps to shrink this gap with
sweeping changes to its skills programs. With additions like no charge
software, curriculum and learning resources for universities, professors can
bring the latest enterprise technology into their classroom. IBM is providing
tutorials, how-to guides, case studies and ready to use curriculum in an effort
to bring tomorrow tech leaders up to speed.
During the Mid-Atlantic Regionals competition
at Howard University, podcast host Yinka Adedeji sat down with George Mason
Head Coach Zach Leibowitz to discuss the school’s history with the ICPC and its
preparation for the Regional contest.
George Mason Head Coach, Zach Liebowitz
Adedeji: Could you tell us a little about you and your
Leibowitz: I graduated from George Mason in 2012 and I
will be graduating with my masters this semester. Traditionally it's just been
one coach for us but recently we have started recruiting more people to help since
our club is relatively new. We started back in 2008 and a few of the other
graduate students who have been around for much longer have been helping the
team out as well.
Adedeji: How did you prepare your team for this year’s regionals competition?
Leibowitz: For the most part, we focused on using old Mid-Atlantic
contest problems. We kept going over the basic ideas of what is behind these
problems before hand. More recently we have started to use related problems
that may be a little simpler in scope to explain to the team first followed by a
mixture of live coding and having code ready to go over with the newer people to
help them understand the ideas so we can give them a slightly harder problem to
try. It's been working reasonably well as far as getting people ready.
Adedeji: What words of wisdom did you share with your students before they came?
Leibowitz: Our team consists of one junior, one senior
and two freshman, so we are just really focusing on the fact that they have
more time to do better in the future. So I have encouraged them to think of
this as practice and as a stepping stone for next year.
Adedeji: Great idea! Hopefully all of your team’s hard work pays off big next
year. Thank you for your time!
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: http://www.ibm.com/university/acmcontest/
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.
teams were vying for the first place trophy and a coveted trip to the World
Finals in Ekaterinburg, Russia, next June.
And the winners
UMD2 from the
University of Maryland!! Congrats!
Thanks to the
hard-working contest volunteers!
was a great Mid-Atlantic Regionals contest!