Computing teams shine at regional competition

Teams were given balloons for every problem solved

A team of NUS Computing students took second position at the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) Singapore Regional held from 12 to 14 December, hosted by NUS Computing for the third time. Team Send Bobs to Alice, made up of three Year 1 NUS Computing students Nguyen Dinh Quang Minh, Tran Tan Phat and Le Quang Tuan, finished with the highest rank of the 19 participating Singapore teams. NUS will go on to compete in the World Finals in Portugal in 2019.

The regional competition saw competing teams, each comprising three university students, race against the clock and each other to solve a series of complex, real-world algorithmic problems of varying difficulty, making use of programming language tools such as Java and C/C++. Students were challenged in their algorithmic problem solving, error-free and fast coding, and their mental resilience over the five-hour competition. ICPC, which has been running for close to four decades, aims to foster creativity, teamwork and innovation while performing under pressure.

The teams were ranked by number of problems solved followed by total time taken. Team Send Bobs to Alice completed 11 of the 12 problems presented to them, matching the number solved by the winning team but at a slower timing. The team has performed well in ICPC competitions this year, coming in third in a recent regional contest in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand.

The competition did not go very smoothly in the first hour for Team Send Bobs to Alice and they were lagging behind by two problems, the team recounted. However, with careful planning, they managed to close the gap and even ranked first on the live scoreboard at one point. “Overall, minus the slow start, we think that we did quite okay from the second hour onwards,” they said.


Team Send Bobs to Alice (from left:) Nguyen Dinh Quang Minh, Tran Tan Phat, and Le Quang Tuan

“The teams in this competition were very strong, such as those from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Hanoi University of Science and Technology and the Vietnam National University. I’m happy that Team Send Bobs to Alice managed to clinch the runner up spot and we look forward to competing with other strong universities in the World Finals in 2019,” said Regional Contest Director NUS Computing Senior Lecturer Dr Steven Halim.

The annual competition saw a total of 50 teams from 25 universities and 10 regions take part, with 14 teams from NUS.