U Students Win Programming Contest

November 17, 2015

The team, “Uncompilables,” which includes students William Li, Liam Machado, and Samuel Zachary, beat 52 other teams in the U.S. and Canada to win the competition. Their first-place finish qualifies them for the World Finals in Thailand next May. 

"William, Liam, and Sam performed brilliantly — their years of practice prepared them well. Thanks to these three, the U has finally beaten the Canadians (and their training program) in grand style,” said Peter Jensen, associate professor in the U’s School of Computing and team coach.

The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) is the premiere global programming competition conducted by and for the world’s universities. The competition is operated under the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM), is sponsored by IBM, and is headquartered at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

Teams of three students represent their universities in multiple levels of regional competition. Volunteer coaches prepare their teams with training and instruction in algorithms, programming and teamwork strategy.

In the contest, teams attempt to solve as many programming problems as possible in five hours. Each year, the event has always been competitive with the Canadian teams usually winning due to their yearlong training programs. The Uncompilables team members solved the same number of problems (eight) as the second-place team but won the contest because they were slightly faster.

The last time the University of Utah won the regional competition was in 1998.

More news from the School of Computing