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Student Competitions

Russian Team Wins Battle of the Brains

Three students from St. Petersburg National Research University of IT, Mechanics and Optics are champions of the International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals, held May 20 in Marrakech, Morocco. In the 39th annual global programming competition, the students solved 13 problems within a five-hour period to get what the sponsoring organization, the Association for Computing Machinery, called the "World's Smartest Trophy."

More than 120 teams competed in the final round, culled from an original field of more than 38,000 students from 2,500 universities in 101 countries.

The final contest began with each three-member team receiving problems that involved math, logic, graphs, charts, geometry and other categories. Each team shared one computer to solve the most problems in the five-hour contest, writing a computer program for each solution.

This year's questions included real-world scenarios pertaining to efficient delivery of baggage onto and off airplanes on different routes, balancing cranes used at a construction site while finding the ideal location to place surveillance equipment with several constraints, and reconfiguring a sensor network.

Coming in second was a team from Moscow State University and third place went to the University of Tokyo.

A team from UC Berkeley finished sixth, the highest score for an American team.

"I am excited to see what all these students will do with the mastery they've gained from this contest and from each other as they continue their academic and professional pursuits," said Baylor University Professor Bill Poucher, who serves as executive director of the competition that began at the Texas university nearly 40 years ago.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.

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