Computer Science students nab another site win at Southeast Programming Competition

Since 2015, the College of Charleston has been a host site for the Association of Computing Machinery’s (ACM) annual International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) in the Southeast region. Eighteen teams visited Charleston for the latest installment of the competition on November 11, 2017. The event is organized locally by Drs. Jim Bowring and Tony Leclerc, associate professors of computer science, and Marilee Henry, program coordinator in the department. Other host sites in the Southeast this year included Florida International University, Kennesaw State University, and the University of West Florida.

The College of Charleston’s computer science department has done well in Division II of this annual competition, emerging as the site winners each year for the last three years and placing first place overall in 2015 out of 62 teams, fifth overall in 2016 out of 71 teams, and fourth overall in 2017 out of 73 teams. Nine College of Charleston computing students (on three teams) competed on Saturday:

From left to right: Megan Landau, Alex Swanson, Nicholas Johnson, Griffin Hiers, Sonia Kopel, Blaine Billings, Joseph Ayers, Bryce Charydczak, and Zachary Kidd.

The teams are given eleven problems and have five hours to solve as many as they can. The problems are very challenging and involve an application of complex algorithms and data structures to solve. All College of Charleston teams solved at least one problem. Seven teams in Division II of the Southeast region did not solve any problems at all. The top placing College of Charleston team (sudon’t) finished in first place at the College of Charleston host site and fourth overall in Division II – the highest placing university in South Carolina. The team name suodn’t is a play on the UNIX/Linux system command sudo (a contraction of “super user” and “do”) which is used to grant privileges to users in a shared computing environment. Emory University finished in first place followed by teams from Georgia State University and the University of West Florida in second and third, respectively.

The College of Charleston’s competitive programming team, named sudon’t, finished 4th overall on Saturday, November 11, 2017, higher than any team from notable universities like the University of Georgia and the University of Mississippi. Team members (from left to right): Griffin Hiers, Sonia Kopel, and Blaine Billings. The team coach was Sebastian van Delden, department chair.

The following universities competing in Division II: Armstrong Atlantic State University, Auburn University at Montgomery, Augusta State University, College of Charleston, Columbus State University, Emory University, Florida Southern College, Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, Lander University, Mercer University, Miami Dade College, Mississippi College, Morehouse College, Nova Southeastern University, Samford University, The Citadel, Tuskegee University, University of Georgia, University of Mississippi, University of North Florida, University of North Georgia (Dahlonega), University of Southern Mississippi, University of West Florida, Valdosta State University, Winthrop University, Wofford College.

Forty seven teams competed in Division I of this competition, including Bob Jones University (placed 11th), Clemson University (placed 10th), the University of South Carolina (placed 22nd), and Charleston Southern University (placed 25th). The University of Central Florida dominates Division 1 every year, with their seven teams this year finishing 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th. Georgia Tech placed 3rd and the Florida Institute of Technology placed 5th.  UCF will travel to Beijing China in 2018 to represent the USA’s Southeast region in the World Finals.