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Illinois student programmers to compete in 'Battle of the Brains'

Jim Kloeppel, Physical Sciences Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Three computer science students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will travel to Shanghai, China, April 3-7 to participate in the Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest.

The students, John Carrino, Stephen Downing and Jeffrey Tamer, defeated teams from Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Tennessee to earn the right to compete in the world’s oldest and most prestigious programming contest. Accompanying the team to China will be their coach, U. of I. computer science lecturer Marsha Woodbury, and their student manager, Ari Gordon-Schlosberg.

Sponsored by IBM, the contest will challenge teams of university students to solve eight or more complex programming problems within a five-hour deadline. The contest fosters creativity, teamwork and innovation in building software programs, and enables students to test their ability to perform under pressure. The team that solves the most problems correctly, in the shortest time, will emerge as the international champion.

The contest’s regional competitions attracted more than 3,150 teams from 71 countries, and 78 teams emerged as finalists to compete in the World Finals. The U. of I. TopCoders is one of 19 teams from the United States that will attempt to bring the trophy home to the United States for the first time since 1997.

Founded in 1947, the Association for Computing Machinery has more than 78,000 members worldwide.