The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) World Finals were held at Prince of Songkla University in Phuket, Thailand on May 15–20, 2016. The competition resulted in a splendid win for the student team from Saint Petersburg State University (SPbSU), one of the largest universities in Russia. Russian student programmers became world champions for the fifth year in a row.
The ACM ICPC traces its roots to a programming competition held at Texas A&M University in 1970. Up until 1989, the contest mainly included participants from the USA and Canada. Since 1989, the competition has operated under the auspices of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and since 1997, IBM has been the general sponsor of the event. Today, the ACM ICPC is one of the most prestigious intellectual competitions for young programmers from all over the world.
The ACM ICPC 2016 attracted 40,266 students from 2,736 universities representing 102 countries. Only 128 teams entered the World Finals, 12 of which were from Russia. The rules stipulate that each team of three university students has a single computer and five hours to solve a set of complex programming problems, and the team that correctly solves the greatest number of problems in the fastest time wins.
The SPbSU team of Igor Pyshkin, Alexey Gordeev, and Stanislav Ershov coached by Andrey Lopatin managed to solve 11 out of 13 problems and became the world champion. Shanghai Jiao Tong University took second place, followed by Harvard University in third place. The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) team came fourth and won gold as well.
The top 10 includes another three Russian universities: Saint Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics (ITMO) and Ural Federal University won silver, and Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod won bronze. In total, 5 out of 12 winning teams were from Russian universities.
Over the last 15 years, Russian teams have enjoyed an indisputable lead at the ACM ICPC. SPbSU students won three championships (2000, 2001, and 2014). The Saratov State University (SGU) team won in 2006. ITMO students became winners six times (2004, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, and 2015). At the ACM ICPC 2015 in Morocco, the ITMO team set an absolute record by solving all the tasks offered by the organizers.
The next ACM ICPC World Finals will take place in Rapid City, South Dakota, USA in 2017. We heartily congratulate the winners and hope that a Russian team will again come out on top in Rapid City in 2017!