Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience

Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience

ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals


The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) is a multitier, team-based, programming competition sponsored by IBM. It operates under the auspices of ACM and has its headquarters at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.


The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC), also known as the Battle of the Brains, challenges students to solve real-world computer programming problems under a grueling, five-hour deadline.Regional bouts run from September through December with 120 teams from around the globe qualifying for the World Finals in July 2013. Visit the official ACM-ICPC World Finals website to learn more.

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Battle of the Brains

Referred to as “The Battle of the Brains,” the ACM ICPC World Finals challenged the world’s top 120 university teams to use open standard technology in designing software that solves real-world problems. Framed around the IBM Smarter Planet initiative, the contest problems were modeled after real-world issues, such as developing programs which will optimize air traffic pattern as well as ground traffic flow at an airport.The contest is a testing ground for these young engineers to learn about business issues. The world is entering into an era of smart systems.

Science and technology breakthroughs are allowing us to create machines and software that do much more than compute – they sense, learn, predict, and, in some ways, think. IBM Watson is just a taste of what’s coming. The ultimate goal in the spheres of science, technology and problem solving is to help make the world work much better. That will help us improve quality of life. The world will need strong leadership in this new era, and IBM-sponsored ACM ICPC helps prepare such leaders of the future.

The contest pits teams of three university students against a dozen complex problems with a grueling five-hour deadline. Huddled around a single computer, competitors race against the clock in a battle of logic, strategy, and mental endurance.Teammates collaborate to rank the difficulty of the problems, deduce the requirements, design test beds, and build software systems that solve the problems under the intense scrutiny of expert judges.

For a well-versed computer science student, some of the problems require precision only. Some problems require a knowledge and understanding of advanced algorithms. Still, some others are simply hard to solve.

Judging is relentlessly strict. The students are given a problem statement, not a requirements document. They are given an example of test data, but they do not have access to the judges’ test data and acceptance criteria. Each incorrect solution submitted is assessed a time penalty. The team that solves the most problems in the fewest attempts, and in the least cumulative time, is declared the winner.The teams were awarded medals based on the number of problems they solved correctly in the shortest amount of time.

The World Champions will return home with the “world’s smartest” trophy as well as prizes and scholarships.Headquartered at Baylor University, the ACM ICPC is a global competition nurturing new generations of global talent in the science and art of information technology.

For more information, visit the ACM ICPC website. Also, listen to the podcast series of “Battle of the Brains”. The contest on Twitter is at

Battle of the Brains Podcast

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IBM Sponsorship

Since IBM became the sponsor of the ACM-ICPC World Finals in 1997, when the contest drew 840 teams, the participation has grown to involve nearly 30 thousands of the finest students and faculty in computing disciplines at more than more than 2300 universities from more than 90 countries from 6 continents.

IBM sponsorship of the ACM-ICPC World Finals is an important component of the company’s many academic initiatives, which are designed to stimulate open-source programming skills to develop a more competitive IT workforce capable of driving global innovation and economic growth.

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