ACM-ICPC Asia Regional Contest at Amrita
December 15, 2011
Amritapuri and Coimbatore Campuses
The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) is a multi-tier, team-based, programming competition operating under the auspices of ACM for the past 36 years.
A global network of universities host regional competitions that select teams for the ACM-ICPC World Finals. Amrita University is one of two such universities in India, IIT Kanpur being the other one. Amrita has hosted an Asia Regional Contest for the past seven years now.
In 2011, nearly 20,000 students in computing disciplines at almost 2,000 universities from over 80 countries on six continents participated in the global contest. Of these, nearly 2000 students from 145 colleges nation-wide participated in an online round conducted by Amrita in October.
During December 10-14, 2011, 450 students (or 150 teams) selected from the online round, were at the Amritapuri and Coimbatore campuses competing for a chance to participate in the World Finals in Warsaw Poland in 2012.
Below is a brief report provided by the Contest Director, Dr. Vallath Nandakumar.
The contest started at 8:30 am on December 12 at both sites simultaneously, and lasted five hours. 10 problems were posed. The contest problem set has to be of high quality, and our problem setters, physically located in the USA, India and Europe, were participants in previous ICPC World Finals.
Additional testers and judges were from Ulm University, Google, Aricent and HCL. University of Porto’s Mooshak was used for automatic judging, as in years past. Three IBM blade servers, connected in parallel with load-balancing, were used to host the automatic judge. The two contest sites, Coimbatore and Ettimadai, were connected by network.
As usual, contestants received a balloon of the appropriate color when they solved a problem. About 60 teams solved at least 3 problems and 12 teams solved at least 6. The winning team from IIT Delhi solved 8 problems. Teams from Chennai Mathematical Institute and IIIT, Hyderabad who came in second and third respectively, both solved 7 problems.
This year, we also hosted a team from the ICPC Worldwide. The team, which included Bill Poucher (Executive Director, ICPC), Jeff Donahoo (Assoc. Executive Director, ICPC), C-J Hwang (Director of Asia Contests), James Comer (Director of Regional Contests) and Brenda Chow (IBM liaison for ICPC), came to check our site as a possible venue for the World Finals in the near future.
Addressing the gathering at the closing ceremony, Prof. Poucher encouraged students to participate in future contests as well. Prof. C-J Hwang remarked on the need to practice hard, and solve at least 1000 problems in preparation. He emphasized that all participants were winners, having made it this far.
Natarajan Chellappan of IBM also spoke briefly, as did S. Ramesh Babu of Infosys on the need to involve more students and colleges in problem-solving activities. Bhavin Turakhia of DirectI gave an energetic talk on the need to improve India’s utilization of the world-wide web.
Earlier the inaugural ceremonies were attended by Ravi Mittal, IP Infusion at Amritapuri and Srinagesh Chatarajupalli, Infosys at Coimbatore.
All our sponsors took an active role in the contest. Infosys has 400+ colleges in their Campus-Connect program and DirectI has a large CodeChef contestant database that made it possible to reach more universities.
This year we were also able to provide many teams with travel assistance from funds provided by ICPC Asia.
Since several contestants came from far northern states like Punjab and Assam, after 2+ days of travel in some cases, we felt that their experience should include chances to socialize and relax, hence we organized sightseeing trips.
On December 13, teams from Coimbatore were taken on a day trip to the nearby hill station of Coonoor, and the Amritapuri teams travelled to the hill station of Munnar. Earlier, on December 11, afternoon trips included a mountain hike, beach trip and an opportunity to meet the renowned humanitarian Amma, Chancellor of Amrita University.
The large number of student and staff volunteers, both from within and outside Amrita University, made it possible for us to have smooth operations. Student volunteers turned up in large numbers to help out.