WUSTL programming team heads to international competition in Sweden

A three-person contingent from WUSTL is among the teams of the world’s brightest computer programming talent that will gather in Stockholm, Sweden, April 18-22 to compete in the 33rd annual IBM-sponsored Association for Computer Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest (ACM-ICPC).

More than 7,100 teams representing 1,838 universities went head-to-head last fall during the regional portion of the competition, all vying for a top spot to qualify for the world finals. The United States will send 21 teams to Stockholm, including the WUSTL team coached by Bill Smart, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science in the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

The team is composed of senior engineering students Sean Fellows and Doug Li, and Aayush Munjal, who graduated from WUSTL in December and now works for Microsoft Corp.

“This is the second time in four years that a Washington University team has made it to the world finals, which says a lot about the quality and dedication of our students,” Smart said.

The team will be vying for the “world’s smartest trophy” during the ACM-ICPC competition, also known as the “battle of the brains.” The team that solves the most problems correctly in the least amount of time will emerge as world champions, earning scholarships, bragging rights and prizes from IBM.

Students will be challenged to use their programming prowess and mental endurance to solve complex, real-world problems — a semester’s worth of curriculum — in five hours.

Programmers will tackle challenges from a variety of industries such as developing a routing program to ensure secure business transactions over the Internet; optimizing traffic flows; constructing a racecourse; plotting the most efficient route for a hospital helicopter; and designing a GPS navigation program.

The contest can be followed via podcast and blog at battleofthebrains.podbean.com.