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2007 ACM Contest Winners Announced 110

Posted by Zonk
from the they-are-the-winner dept.
prostoalex writes "2007 ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest is over with Warsaw University (Poland) winning it this year and solving all of the problems. The runner-up, Tsinghua University (China), finished with 7 problems solved, while St. Petersburg University of IT, Mechanics and Optics (Russia) and MIT (USA) are tied up for the third place with 6 problems solved. There were 6000 teams initially in the running, and in the final round of the competition only 88 remained."
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2007 ACM Contest Winners Announced

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm surprised that no Indian universities achieved a higher ranking. They place much emphasis on competing in these sorts of programming challenges.

    On one hand, it is essential to be able to quickly come up with creative solutions for a wide variety of problems. But it is also essential to focus on the other aspects of software development, including maintainability and quality. From my experience, those who come out of Indian universities have the problem solving skills, but they lack the full spectrum of
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      let's bring in nationalism in a CS competetion because you're a short sighted non thinking nerd
    • I'm not...the emphasis is one thing: list of nice wishes and expectations of Indian professors. The talent + strong theoretical mathematical background are another.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bob54321 (911744)

      I'm surprised that no Indian universities achieved a higher ranking. They place much emphasis on competing in these sorts of programming challenges.

      Could it be that that there are no clear cut top universities for learning to program in India - i.e. they are all reasonable? If that was the case, the programming talent would get spread out and the universities would not progress as far as those who manage to attract all the programming talent in a country. Just a speculation...

      Also, what portion of t

      • by jorghis (1000092)
        > Could it be that that there are no clear cut top universities for learning to program in India - i.e. they are all reasonable?

        I dont think this is the case. IIT is generally regarded as one of the best engineering univerisities in the world. Everyone who wants to be an engineer/scientist in India applies there. If anything, the best engineering undergrads in India are more concentrated than the best engineering undergrads in the US.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Curious. I've only heard Indians claim that.
          It's probably wishful thinking. I know a couple of profs at IIT Mumbay and there's no way they
          could be teaching at a top-tier american university.

          You don't happen to be Indian, do you ?
      • by seriv (698799)
        Really, this competition comes down the amount a team practices for the competition itself. Software development has really very little to do with the competition. There are three people on a team, and only one person sits at the computer at a time (at least in the regional competition, but I think the global is similar). It is a competition to see who can find a solution to a particular problem the fastest. As long as you are decent CS student who has studied algorithms, you will have the basics to do this
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Hawkxor (693408)
          In MIT's case, they didn't really practice too much - but since the team basically consisted of USA IOI members from previous years (and they clearly practiced for that), they still perform well.
      • by debuglife (806973)
        Contrary to popular belief - the only people in CS departments in top indian schools are mathematicians. They are mathematicians who are doing CS because 1. There is a dearth of good math schools in India and 2. They want to milk the job prospect of a CS education. Unfortunately, the real hackers, the people who can really invent things are told that they are dumb, and stupid, because they cant do math. wtf. and that is why people will still want to leave india.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nick1000 (914998)
      I am at the CS dept. in one of the highest ranked Indian universities in this years' ACM ICPC (I won't disclose which, but I am sure the same scenario exists at all institutes here).

      Contrary to what you are saying, our institute places absolutely no emphasis on such programming challenges. Unlike some Russian univs (I don't know about US ones) we have no regular coaches. Nor do we have any year long "focussed" practice either.

      We just attend the regular courses and if we feel like it, we try our skills a

      • This was the way it was at my school too. When we went to the competition, we had to beg a professor to "coach" us, since you can't legally enter the contest without one. Even then, we ended up doing a good chunk of the paperwork that the coach would normally fill out. There was no "development abstraction layer" for us.

        However, he did take time out of his schedule to come chill with us in San Antonio at the finals. The school also did offer to fly us out, but another entity took care of that angle. I
    • IIT, Madras is at Rank 44 and IIT, Bombay has been honored too.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Indians boast a lot but are actually miserable performers in practically everything, from sports (zero olympic golds) to software. The hindu code coolie or phone answerer is essentially an indentured servant for western corporations, doing grunt work that requires no originality or creative talent.

      The indian educational system churns out tons of rote-learning "engineers", 95% of whom are unemployable. Its a pretty pathetic situation.

      The dream of every educated indian is to escape from India!
    • Come on guy! Argument whether Indian IITs are always at bottom when compared with the top nations is so meaningless. Just about everyone except Indians knows the ugly truth that thousands years of inbreed by the stupid caste discrimination produced the largest number of low IQ people. The only castes that are competitive compared to the west are the upper caste s. Those upper castes Indians normally emigrate here via H1. They usually have the self-granted and undeserved arrogance like some of the posters he
  • In Soviet Russia, Third Place Wins You!
  • by Simon Garlick (104721) on Monday March 19, 2007 @01:09AM (#18398721)
    They forgot about Poland!
  • The PDF of the problem sets are up, but no mention of when/where the input data and solutions will be posted. Are these currently available?
     
    • by RuBLed (995686)
      It seems that nowadays, no "official" solutions are posted. (sorry if I am wrong) Solutions usually come from universities who managed to solve them. Well, it would be better that way since we would have something to practice on. :D

      Would the slashdot community come up with the solutions and post it here? :D

      *Timer starts now*
  • Go Tsinghua! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by megaduck (250895) <dvarvelNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Monday March 19, 2007 @02:27AM (#18398921) Journal
    I've never been to Warsaw, but I did spend some time at Tsinghua University last year. The people that attend Tsinghua are quite literally the best and brightest that China can produce, and that's saying something. The entrance requirements are brutally difficult, and the students I dealt with were some of the smartest people I've ever met. I'm not surprised that Tsinghua students can go toe-to-toe with the best American students and win.

        These contest results become even more impressive when you consider that Tsinghua, like many developing Universities, currently has one hand tied behind its back. Tsinghua's School of Software is only a few years old, and has very limited resources. The library is small, the facilities are lacking, and the dorms are absolutely atrocious to live in (much less study). Much of the learning material that these kids are using is in English, not their native language. The fact that they're internationally competitive in any way is astounding.

        A lot of us in the American educational system have a kind of bigotry when looking at foreign universities. This is particularly true in the Computer Science field. We see these kind of results and say "Well, these foreign students may be good at these programming challenges, but what can they do in the real world?" There may be a grain of truth there, but not for long. What happens in twenty years, when the great Universities of China, India, Poland, etc. have had some time to develop their C.S. and engineering programs? As an American, I want to believe that my country produces the best engineers and programmers in the world, but I think we're going to have some very stiff competition in the future.

    • Re:Go Tsinghua! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Rakishi (759894) on Monday March 19, 2007 @02:56AM (#18399015)
      The thing is that Poland has had time to develop their CS programs which is why they're so good, the soviets did not exactly skimp out on such things (you have lines for bread but free good education). They may actually be going downhill more than anything now, for various reasons. I've heard complaints from former students (ie: students back during the soviet years) of the CS program degrading now.

      That's for example why you have so many hackers in the former soviet bloc, there is an infrastructure to educate people but for a good time (after the USSR collapsed) there were no jobs for them.

      Poland is an industrialized/technological nation but simply has a horrid government and crappy economy (later is partially a result of the former).

      Still as I understand it Warsaw University is one of the places to go to school in Poland and its free if you get in. Granted the entrance requirements/system is arsine (for many reasons) but that applies to all Polish public universities. I guess I'd call it SATs on crack and while they do catch a lot of the good students they also don't catch a lot of them.
      • by p88h (446549)
        I graduated the Warsaw University and I need to correct you on several points:
        * The university started winning almost every year in the recent years. It didn't do as well before - in the 80's and early 90's the CS program sucked big time due to lack of equipment, knowledge etc, so the imminent 'downfall' isn't really what's happening or will be. True, the education has gotten less strict, but the universities keep their standards.
        * You are confusing Poland and the Soviet Republic, regarding the jobs market
        • by Rakishi (759894)
          * The university started winning almost every year in the recent years. It didn't do as well before - in the 80's and early 90's the CS program sucked big time due to lack of equipment, knowledge etc, so the imminent 'downfall' isn't really what's happening or will be. True, the education has gotten less strict, but the universities keep their standards.

          I talked to people who went back in the 70s which probably explains it. Good to hear that its on the rise.

          * You are confusing Poland and the Soviet Republic
    • You are asking what will happen to this chinese university that came 2nd, when it aquires the same level of "development" as the univeristy that a shared 3rd?

      Mmmm, geez, that is a though one.

      They would loose to the next country that spends more time learning then on needless luxuries?

      Your question would only work in a positive way IF the chinese had come say third to MIT. If I, an amateur, drive in Formula 1 and end in 10th place then you might well wonder what I could do if in couple of years time I rac

      • You miss the point, it's akin to you coming in second in a go-cart race that you spent all your time working on while the third place guy also got first in a nascar race (ie: the go-cart race was for fun).

        It's an utterly artificial and in real life worthless measure, essentially its the Chinese not MIT that is wasting time on worthless "luxuries" (ie: the ability to say "we got second").

        If all you can do is some narrow work based on months of repetitive learning then prepare to be unemployed when you hit 40
        • by DMorritt (923396)
          thats the worst analogy ever, your not giving the Chinese the credit they deserve, its the typical macho american response the world expects these days - dont agree with america? your just wrong then. or we didnt win? we werent taking it seriously.

          i think personally Poland have done very well, when you look at the numbers of chinese and american students, the fact that Poland can put together a world beating team shouldnt be overlooked, with all the extra resources, China and the USA should be looking ay Po
          • by Rakishi (759894)
            thats the worst analogy ever, your not giving the Chinese the credit they deserve, its the typical macho american response the world expects these days - dont agree with america? your just wrong then. or we didnt win? we werent taking it seriously.

            Huh? Just because it doesn't agree with your worldview doesn't make it false. It's quite true that American universities do not place emphasis on this competition although as I understand the students had practiced for a different competition. I mean we do place e
    • I'm not surprised that Tsinghua students can go toe-to-toe with the best American students and win.
      So much for educational streaming and "teaching to the test".

      What happens in twenty years, when the * have had some time to develop their C.S. and engineering programs?
      We'll be able to discredit some of their teams for the one-dimensionality of going for the single test.

      "Well, these foreign students may be good at these programming challenges, but what can they do in the real world?"
      Nothing unless some tax-eva
      • by Rakishi (759894)
        How about scaling back exclusivity to access some of these fine universities for citizens of all social classes

        Top universities provide very nice undergraduate financial aid packages. While admission will be harder for those without money, for various reasons including available activities during high school and knowing how to fill out the app, there are no massive barriers. Graduate school on the other hand likewise allows for anyone to access it and usually provides some form of financing for students (de
  • I heard the ninth question was Fizzbuzz, but it was deemed too difficult for the competition.
  • by Stone Rhino (532581) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ekrapm>> on Monday March 19, 2007 @03:27AM (#18399099) Homepage Journal
    The summary is incorrect. They solved 8, which was more than any other team, but left two problems unattempted. If you look at the packet you can easily see why.
    • by Idbar (1034346)
      Which ones? Those with no pictures?
      • by marcog123 (969158)

        Problems H (Raising the Roof) and J (Tunnels) were the two problems no team solved. Problem E (Collecting Luggage) was only solved by Warsaw University in the last hour.

        A rough ranking of the problems from easy to difficult based on number of teams that solved them:

        1. Problem B (Containers)
        2. Problem A (Consanguine Calculations)
        3. Problem G (Network)
        4. Problem C (Grand Prix)
        5. Problem F (Marble Game)
        6. Problem D (Jacquard Circuits)
        7. Problem I (Water Tanks)
        8. Problem E (Collecting Luggage)
        9. Problem H (Raising the Roof)
  • Wow! UT Dallas placed and UT Austin (honorable mention) did not. That is shocker. At least we got the football team. Hook 'em horns!
  • Filip Wolski in the winning team, won the gold medal at the World Computer Science Contest in Mexico last year.

    Seems like a pretty smart guy :)

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1687592/p osts/ [freerepublic.com]
  • by gvc (167165) on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:58AM (#18400387)
    Many teams lost untold time on J because the judge data did not meet the input specification.

    ICPC has had this problem before. Four times in my direct experience, most notably ICPC World Finals 2000 [slashdot.org] at which they refused to acknowledge their error until weeks later.

    This year the data for problem J was wrong, so teams got "run time error" instead of "wrong answer;" many spent vast amounts of time trying to find the source of their crash when in fact it was the judges' fault. All submissions were rejudged at the eleventh hour, when it was too late to fix the problem or to move on to another question.

    There is really no excuse for this sort of error. Published guidelines [win.tue.nl] make it clear that input checkers should be written for all problems, yet the finals judges don't bother, and the finals organization imposes no standard on them to do so. Furthermore, the organizers refuse to release any information about the test sets, so we have no idea how many screwups have been covered up.

    Here is a list of data errors for which I have first-hand knowledge. I'm sure there are many more.

    Finals '97 -- Problem C has ambigous output but the
                                judges rejected some correct solutions
                                (all but their expected one?) Complaints
                                were responded to with "no response."

    Finals '98 -- Problem D had empty lines in the input,
                                contrary to the specification.

    Finals '00 -- The infamous graph that was not connected,
                                contrary to the problem spec (Problem F)

    Finals '07 -- Problem J was supposed to have maximum size
                                64, but was 100. Rejudged in the last hour
                                of contest. Many submissions changed from
                                run-time or time limit to wrong answer.

    I am at a loss to understand why the organizers fail to implement better quality control, and why they refuse to release the data and solutions. Bad calls will happen, but the lack of quality control and the lack of transparency exacerbates the problem considerably. These failures, in my opinion, detracts substantially from the contest.

    Gordon Cormack
    Coach, Waterloo ACM Team
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zippthorne (748122)
      There is a link to the problem set on the page in the summary. I see no limit of 100 or 64 in any aspect of this problem.

      There does a appear to be a limit of 1001 lines *for each test case* however the number of test cases is unspecified.

      And besides, since when do you fail to do input validation in the program itself? I know you're trying to save time in a programming contest environment, but if the program comes back with a run-time error, you should really be putting in input validation. Unless you hav
    • by lmpeters (892805)

      ICPC has had this problem before. Four times in my direct experience, most notably ICPC World Finals 2000 at which they refused to acknowledge their error until weeks later.

      I can tell you from personal experience that, in the Pacific Northwest regionals (I was part of the team from Sonoma State University), we had a similar issue this year. Problem H ("And now for something completely different!") had a problem where the specification was ambiguous (I'm not sure exactly where, since my team didn't attemp

  • I participated back when I was in school. It was a lot of fun. We did well (4th one year, 2nd the next), so that helped!

    My old school was tied for last this year, but hey at least they were there.
  • I know of official test cases aren't made public, so that the officials can cover up their mistakes. But does anyone else provide test cases they made up after the contest? In my experience, dealing with corner cases you didn't think of is one of the hardest things to get right.
  • Success of Chinese teams is hardly surprising- Chinese high school students have been dominating the IOI (Informatics Olympiad, very similar to ICPC) for ages.

    Its only a matter of time and resources before they equal or surpass top US unis

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