Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

04-10-09

ICPCteam2

Iowa State's International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals team (from L to R): Michael Siebert, Pasha Kazatsker, Yuly Suvorov and Simanta Mitra, competition advisor and a senior lecturer of computer science. Photo by Steve Jones, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Contacts:

Simanta Mitra, computer science, (515) 294-3463, smitra@iastate.edu

Pavel Kazatsker, ISU student, (515) 572-5632, pasha@iastate.edu

Mike Ferlazzo, News Service, (515) 294-8986, ferlazzo@iastate.edu

Anne Kassel, News Service, (515) 294-6881, akassel@iastate.edu

ISU team to compete in IBM-sponsored 'Battle of the Brains' world competition

AMES, Iowa -- A team of Iowa State University students has qualified to travel to Sweden later this month to vie for the "world's smartest trophy" in an IBM-sponsored contest that's known as the "Battle of the Brains."

Iowa State will be one of 100 collegiate teams from around the world that will gather at KTH - The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm from Sunday through Tuesday, April 18-21, to compete in the 33rd annual Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest (ACM-ICPC) World Finals (http://cm2prod.baylor.edu/login.jsf).

Senior computer science students Pavel Kazatsker of Urbandale, Michael Seibert of Des Moines and Yuly Suvorov of West Des Moines make up the ISU team, which is one of just 21 from the United States to qualify for the international competition. More than 7,109 teams, representing 1,838 universities from around the globe, participated in the regional competitions.

"The competition is a great opportunity for these Iowa State students," said Simanta Mitra, ISU's student competition advisor and a senior lecturer of computer science. "The team's qualification for this competition shows that Iowa State has well-qualified computer science students."

The annual event is comprised of three phases of qualifying, with teams having to make it through local and regional contests to qualify for the international event. The ISU team made the international field by finishing second out of more than 200 teams in November's North Central North America Region competition in Lincoln, Neb.

"There's a lot to be said about Iowa State's education and we are fortunate to have the support of the university and the computer science department," said Mitra.

In Sweden, teams will be challenged to solve complex, mathematical, real-world problems -- a semester's worth of curriculum -- in just five hours. Competitors are permitted to use just one computer as they collaborate to complete as many problems as possible within the time limit.

"The competition is intense," said Kazatsker. "Each problem could potentially take at least an hour to solve, since we write an entire computer program."

Competitors will develop programs for a variety of industries, including a routing program to ensure secure business transactions over the Internet, constructing a racecourse, finding the most efficient routes for hospital helicopters, optimizing traffic flow, or designing a Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation program.

"I enjoy trying to solve the variety of problems in the competition," said Kazatsker. "Computer programming is a unique way to see the world and I'm confident we can solve some of the problems."

An awards ceremony will be held at Stockholm's Concert Hall, where Nobel Prizes are annually awarded. Winners earn scholarships and prizes from IBM.

Iowa State's team earned an honorable mention award for its participation last year. Mitra is confident this year's team is ready to compete among the world's best and brightest young minds.

"They've gone through so much and with another year of education and practice, they're prepared," said Mitra.

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Quick look

A team of Iowa State students will be one of 100 collegiate teams that will gather in Stockholm, Sweden from April 18-21 to compete in the 33rd annual Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals, sponsored by IBM.

Quote

"The competition is intense. Each problem could potentially take at least an hour to solve, since we write an entire computer program."

Pavel Kazatsker, ISU senior