The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) finals, which took place on May 20, 2015 in Marrakesh (Morocco), resulted in the ultimate win of the team from St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics (ITMO) and the setting of two records.
First, ITMO’s students won the competition for the sixth time (2004, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, and 2015), an achievement no other team has ever attained. Second, ITMO’s team solved all the tasks proposed by the organizers within the allotted timeframe: 13 problems within five hours. This is an absolute record; no team in the history of the event has managed to correctly solve all the problems in the given time period.
Gold medals were also awarded to teams from Moscow State University, University of Tokyo, and Tsinghua University. Silver medals this year went to Peking University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Zagreb, and Charles University in Prague. Finally, teams from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Korea University, and University of Warsaw won bronze medals.
ACM ICPC is the largest collegiate programming competition. Up until 1989, the participants included only US and Canadian universities, but since 1990, it has been an international event. Russian programmers took part in the competition for the first time in 1993.
ICPC 2015 attracted over 300,000 students from all over the world. The regional level of the competition had a record-breaking number of participants: 38,160 students from 2,534 universities from 101 countries. Only 128 teams, 10 of which were from Russia, received an invitation to the ICPC finals in Marrakesh.
During the last five years, Russian programmers have won 18 medals in the ACM ICPC, eight of which were gold. Their closest competitors, teams from China, have received only nine medals during the same period of time (five gold medals). Since 2000, Russian teams have won a total of 10 times, greatly reducing the chances of participants from other countries.
This impressive consistency confirms that despite the problems of the Russian education system in the area of Information Technology, Russian students successfully compete with the representatives of the world’s leading universities. It is possible largely thanks to the in-depth fundamental knowledge in mathematics and algorithms that students receive in Russian universities.
Next year, the finals will take place in May in Thailand. We heartily congratulate the winners and hope that a Russian team will again win this prestigious competition in 2016 in Thailand!