CS&E Undergraduate Team Advances to ICPC National Competition

Last week, Team Golden Gophers qualified for the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) national competition after placing fourth at the North Central North America Regional Contest. The Team Golden Gophers roster includes Department of Computer Science & Engineering undergraduates Chenxi Huang, Adam Wagner and Shicheng Zhou. They will represent the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities at the ICPC North American Championships in Orlando, Florida, May 25-30. 

The ICPC challenges teams of three to solve short problems specifically designed to be algorithmically challenging. Competition ranking is based on the number of problems solved and the time required to solve each problem. Huang, Wagner and Zhou solved seven of the 10 problems in 645 minutes to earn a gold medal in the competition. Huang was the lead coder for Team Golden Gophers with three years of ICPC experience. For Wagner and Zhou, it was their first ICPC competition

“Prior to transferring to the University of Minnesota, I was majoring in physics,” said Zhou. “In the months of preparation, I started learning C++ from scratch and kept learning from other people's algorithms and code. The competition was not only an intellectual exercise for me, but also a mental challenge.”

“Our takeaways from the regional event are that we should refine our strategy of finding the easiest problems first and then solving them,” said Wagner. “Our team is looking forward to competing at the national event and we are excited to represent the University of Minnesota in competition.” 

Most teams representing the University of Minnesota Twin Cities are part of the Competitive Programming Club under coach Daniel Keyes, a CS&E graduate student. Team Golden Gophers was one of five U of M teams that competed at the regional competition hosted in Keller Hall, with three of those teams finishing in the top 10 of the 105 teams that competed across the region. Five teams representing Dakota State University also competed at the event held on campus. Their travel was sponsored by a $2,000 gift from Target. 

The ICPC is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious programming contest in the world. It is a multitier, team-based programming competition that involves a global network of universities hosting regional competitions that advance teams to the national competition and eventually the World Finals. The contest aims to foster creativity, teamwork, and innovation in building new software programs, and enables students to test their ability to perform under pressure. Since 2002, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities has sent eight teams to the international final of the ICPC, to Hollywood, Prague, Tokyo, Florida, Warsaw, Saint Petersburg, Marrakech, and Phuket. 

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Results
4. Team Golden Gophers - Chenxi Huang, Adam Wagner, Shicheng Zhou (gold medal)
6. Team Maroon - Jeffrey Hu, Collin Jakubik, Kanin Suphap (silver medal)
10. Team Gold - Rishabh Agarwal, Zheng Robert Jia, Kien Pham (bronze medal)
13. Team Gopher - Sasha Hydrie, Jaden Rodriquez, Mohnish Sonsare
19. Team Ski-U-Mah - Katya Borisova, Andrew Mou, Dinh-Quan Tran