HKUST Student Computer Programmers are "Best of the Best of the Best"

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For release 1 March 1996


Improving on their excellent performance of last year, the HKUST computer programming team placed 11th at the ACM international finals held in the United States last month, putting them in the top 1% of the world’s student computer programmers.

This year’s contest was the largest ever, with 1,001 teams around the world competing in local contests and 43 teams making it through to the finals. At the ACM Finals last year, the team placed 13th out of 38 finalists, with a starting field of 789 teams.

The four-member team, made up of computer science students Ken Wong Wing Kin, Chesney Wong, Vincent Ip Ting Pang and alternate Ngan Sai Fang solved five out of a possible seven problems at the ACM International Collegiate Programming Finals held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 17 February.

“Their performance shows a high level of consisten ,”

Stiber (COMP). “They have proven that their excellent s x owing last year was no fluke. says team coach Dr Michael They are the best of the best of the best, and they have the potential to do even better.”

In fact, Dr Stiber says the team came “heartbreakingly close” to solving six of the seven problems, a feat which would have placed them among the top five teams in the world.

“They were seconds away from finding a typo in the program which would have solved the problem,” he says.

This year they beat traditional heavyweights such as Caltech and University of Toronto and placed well ahead of their Asian rivals. The next best showing by a regional competitor was b

which placed 34t I: . the team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, “This contest tests fundamental computer science background-the ability to look at a real problem and find the underlying algorithm to get it to work and the talent to write a workable program quickly,” Dr Stiber says.

ACM stands for the Association for Computing Machinery. It is the leading professional society in computer science.

On 31 May, HKUST will hold a University-wide programming contest in preparation for the Hong Kong ACM contest on 29 June.

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