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News Release

Jul 10, 2013

The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals Took Place in Saint-Petersburg

The International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) finals which took place on 3rd July 2013 in Saint-Petersburg took place resulted in the ultimate win of the team from St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics (ITMO).

The gold medals were awarded to teams from Japan, China, and Taiwan. The silver medal this year went to the old rival of the ITMO – St. Petersburg State University. Moscow State University's team won bronze. The participants from Perm State University surprised everyone with their 13th place and a bronze medal. It can be regarded as a sensation because before 2013 the highest position for this University's teams was the 27th place.

We whole-heartedly congratulate the champions and hope that next year in Ekaterinburg the winning team will again be from Russia!

A Bit of History

The contest in its present form has been held since 1977 but up to 1989 the participants represented mostly the US and Canada universities. Since 1989 the main organizer and supervisor of all the contest's stages is Baylor University under the auspices of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and since 1997 IBM has committed to being the general sponsor of the event.

Currently ICPC is indeed an international event – in 2013 ICPC participation included 2,322 universities, almost 29,500 students from 91 countries!

Russia in the Contest

There is no verifiable information about when Russian teams first participated in the contest. But as far back as 1996 we can see Moscow State University team in the finals where it took the 17th place with four solved problems. In 1997 St. Petersburg State University entered the race, solved five problems and came sixth. In the same year the ITMO team also made its first appearance, but their start was less successful ‑11th place with five solved problems.

Since that time Russian teams do not miss a chance to get into finals and win if not gold, then at least silver or bronze. The most prestigious Russian universities – Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics go up against each other. And since 2002, every so often the team from Saratov State University has been getting into the finals, and in 2006 their team won the championship!

If we look at the results of the last 13 years we can easily figure out the main candidates for the gold. It is either Russia or China, with a notable preponderance in favor of Russia (eight wins against four by China). It confirms the high level of the Russian education in application programming.

Of course, at the moment staff shortage in the IT industry is noticeable. The blame rests with the insufficient number of graduates and the infamous "brain drain". However, both problems are being solved if not on the state level, then by means of private funds. For example, our customer Yandex established back in 2007 its own School of Data Analysis which serves to make up for a shortage of staff, primarily for Yandex, of course. The School exists in close cooperation not only with Yandex but with the leading technical university in Russia– Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

Interesting Facts

  • Since 2000, Russian teams won the contest eight times. This is an absolute record if we start the count from 1989, when the contest became international. During the same period the US teams won five times, and teams from China climbed the top four times.
  • ITMO team won the contest five times. This is an absolute record over the entire history of the contest.
  • The team from Saint-Petersburg State University won the contest two years in a row – 2000 and 2001. It was the first registered ACM record of the kind at that time.
  • ITMO team equaled this record twice, becoming the winner in 2008-2009 and in 2012-2013 (we hope they will crack a new record by becoming winners next year)
  • The next ICPC World Finals will also take place in Russia, this time in Ekaterinburg. Russia is the only country except the USA which welcomes the finalists two years in a row.
  • Among ICPC participants are the best Russian programmers. For example, Petr Mitrichev, who received two ICPC gold medals (as a member of the team from Moscow State University in 2003 and 2005), won Google Code Jam in 2006, and Facebook Hacker Cup in 2011 and 2013. He is also the fifth highest rated coder according to the rating of Codeforces. Petr was the first Russian programmer who won both TopCoder Open and Google Code Jam.
  • Our customer Yandex sponsored this year the broadcasting of the finals in real time
  • In 2012 Yandex assisted Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in preparations for the contest where the team took the third place and won gold, having solved eight problems. Only two teams – the world champion ITMO and University of Warsaw (2003 and 2007 winner) – were ahead of them.
  • During the competition's broadcasting the problems were solved in real time by Yandex analysts, including Egor Kulikov, the second Russian after Petr Mitrichev who won both TopCoder Open and Google Code Jam and is a two-time champion of ACM ICPC. During this year's contest he also broadcasted the event in his blog.
  • This year for the first time ACM in collaboration with the judge system Kattis provided everyone with an opportunity to get a feel of what it means to be an ICPC finalist. Following the link, upon signing up every programmer could see the problem, send in his/her solution and get to know the result, as well as compare it with others. 

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