Russian students ace world programming championship, take 1st place for 7th year in row

Russian students ace world programming championship, take 1st place for 7th year in row
Russian teams claimed four medals out of 13 in the latest ACM-ICPC international programming contest, including two gold-tier victories. It was Russia’s seventh win in a row and 13th since 2000.

The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) is one of the biggest competitions for students learning computer programming. To win, teams of three people have only several hours to code programs to correctly solve several computing problems. The team with the most problems solved in the shortest time possible wins. The rules don’t allow students with too many years of higher education or those who took part in five regional or two world finals in previous years.

This year’s world finale was hosted by Peking University in the Chinese capital. The local team won one of the four gold medals, beating a team from the University of Tokyo by virtue of a better time. But two Russian teams – one from the Moscow State University and one from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology – were even better. The MSU team took more time, but managed to solve nine problems out of 11 and win the place in the ICPC for the very first time in the university’s two-decade competition record. The MIPT students took less time to solve eight problems, the same number as fellow contestants from China and Japan. The results were also a personal best for the institute.

Two other teams from Russia went home with medals in their pockets this year. The St. Petersburg ITMO University, which is traditionally one of the strongest participants and was the champion in 2017, scored the top medal in the bronze tier. The Ural Federal University became the 13th and last ranking contestant, repeating its record from the last year.

The ICPC’s roots go back to the 1970s, but it became a large-scale contest in late 1990s. Teams from Russia started participating in 2000, won the championship that year and have since dominated the competition, only occasionally ceding first place to China or on one occasion to Poland. This year in addition to Russia, China and Japan, medals went to South Korea, Australia, the US and Lithuania.

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