Thursday, March 08, 2007

Going to the ACM programming contest in Tokyo

Update: We came equal 44th out of 88. While it's generally invalid to draw certain comparisons in such competitions (since you can jump a large of number of rankings by debugging just an extra problem), I'll draw one anyway: we equalled CMU and beat Harvard :) However, pretty much all of the other unis I listed below beat us easily. The University of Auckland is a deserving South Pacific Champion with a Bronze Medal.

Overall, I'm happy that we made it this far and I'm happy with this year's performance against an elite set of world class competitors. On the non-technical side of things, we had a great time in Tokyo and at the Disney Sea theme park, paid for by IBM. It is on this high note and after nearly 10 years of contests, that I'm retiring from programming competitions.

I've been a bit quiet these last few months as I've been practising for this contest. Two teams are representing Australia this year - one from the University of Adelaide (the defending South Pacific Champion) and the other, the University of New South Wales (one of the members being yours truly).

It will be interesting to see how we'll fare against the Chinese, Russians and MIT, CMU, Harvard, Waterloo etc. considering that their teams were presumably picked from a multi-tiered qualification process (and reportedly, the Chinese education system also has high schools - not just universities - dedicated to programming!), while the qualification process for the South Pacific consists of a single competition :) In any case, we hope to improve on the performance of recent South Pacific teams.

Anyway, after all this craziness / intense competition is over, I hope to finally, finally, finally get back to opensource programming (although, consistently, every year, I seem to find a different distraction). So in a sense, I wish the competition was over more quickly :)