Battle of the Brains

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2008 Gold Medal Team Receives Laptops, Talk Regionals, PLUS bonus interview!

October 9th, 2008

On Monday, October 6, IBMer and regular podcast host Mark Guan had the pleasure of hand delivering three IBM laptops to last year’s 2nd place World Finalists and Gold Medal Champions from M.I.T. -- Andy Lutomirski, Bohua Zhan and Fernando Xuancheng Shao.

Due to some technical glitches, the audio of our interview was scrambled. But, we wanted to share their story so we transcribed the recording and pasted the text below. They discussed their plans for this year’s Regionals and beyond.

As a bonus for our regular visitors, we found the audio of an interview with the M.I.T. team following their tight wire finish at the World Finals. They spoke with Doug Heintzman, a regular in our podcast series. (see audio link at bottom of posting)

A special ‘thank you’ to Professor Martin Rinard and his assistant Mary McDavitt for their help getting us together with the students.

Enjoy both interviews!

IBM’s Mark Guan: So, Andy, what’s the plan for next year?

Andy: The plan for next year… I’m coaching.

Mark: You’re coaching!

Andy: Well, it depends on your point of view. I’m no t really eligible for this actual contest.

Mark: Good for you. So who will be on the team?

Andy: We don’t really know yet, the final competition will determine that – it was held yesterday.

Mark: So where will the Regionals be held?

Andy: Oh the regional’s, it’s actually the preliminaries first, they’re in-town, it’s very close – I don’t remember exactly where the preliminaries are, I think it’s in Rochester again.

Bohua: So you’re gonna fly there, right?

Mark: Moving from contestant to coach, what do you have to do to qualify – do you have to qualify for a coach?

Andy: No, I sort of got drafted actually. It’s a self-perpetuated group of people so I was just drafted to replace one of the coaches who graduated.

Mark: That’s great… So you getting ready to go to Stockholm?

Andy: I hope so! I think we have a pretty good team to get there.

Mark: Yeah, I’ll see you there. So, recruiting… Fernando, are you gonna stay on the team?

Fernando: Well I would try to stay on the team this year. I think this year there are more people at MIT that want to, the competition is tougher, there are more challenges.

Mark: Yeah, it’s more challenging. Any plans?

Bohua: I’m taking a year off.

Mark: Maybe next year. What year are you now?

Bohua: I’m a sophomore.

Mark: You’re a sophomore. So you still have another couple years to go for. Fernando, what year are you?

Fernando:I’m a senior.

Mark: You’re a senior, so you’re graduating next year. Wow! But Andy… already graduated? Or…

Andy: I’m a grad student. I used up my last year of eligibility.

Mark: What’s your plan – to do some doctorial degrees?

Andy: Yeah, my plan is to get a PHD and move onto other things.

Mark: That’s nice. In computer science?

Andy: No, physics.

Mark: Physics! What are your majors?

Fernando:I’m a double major in computer science and math.

Mark: Computer science… AND math

Bohua: Math and physics.

Mark: So, wow, you’re the only one who does computer science, Fernando.

Fernando:Yeah I’m the only one who has computer science in their major.

Mark: That’s cool – If you move from a master’s degree to doctoral degree, do you guys have any plans – can you think of anything after graduation that you want to do?

Bohua: I think I’m gonna get a PhD in math after I graduate.

Mark: And then, probably you’ll be a teacher or something in the future?

Bohua: It’s possible.

Mark: That’s pretty ambitious, pretty nice. Andy, what do you plan after your doctorate degree?

Andy: That’s a good question, I don’t know yet. Maybe industry, maybe staying on academia, maybe starting a company.

Mark: Sure, starting a company, that’s pretty nice.

Andy: Oh, yeah.

Mark: So I will see you and you in Stockholm.

Fernando: Hopefully you will see me.

Andy: You will definitely see me.


Photo: From left to right Professor Rinard, Bohua Zhan, Andy Lutomirski and Fernando Xuancheng Shao.


  • Gosia!

    there are no CS like brazilians and poles, so… sorry guys, but you have no chance:P Maths and Physics won’t give you a hand in the battle with your PC during Stockholm stay:P Some do not need glasses…:D GOODLUCK!

    Jan 26, 2009 at 2:32 pm