Olympics of programming beckons boys in Hyderabad

Rajas, Tanuj and Sriram from IIITH are all set to take part in the ACM ICPC World Finals 2017, to be held in Rapid City, South Dakota, USA, from May 20- 25. 

Published: 01st April 2017 05:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st April 2017 05:31 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: IIIT-Hyderabad’s team mobius_treap has qualified for the World Finals of ACM-ICPC – the oldest, largest, and most prestigious programming contest in the world. Well the contest is a multitier, team-based, programming competition headquartered at Baylor University. For non-techies, it is the Olympics for the programming community. It involves a global network of universities hosting regional competitions that advance teams to the ACM-ICPC World Finals.

Computing disciplines at almost 2,736 universities from over 102 countries on six continents participate in this competition. The contest fosters creativity and innovation in building new software programmes and enables students to test their ability to perform under pressure.

IIIT-Hyderabad’s Team - mobius_treap (a coding jargon) - Rajas, Tanuj, Sriram - secured the first position in India Finals and qualified to represent IIIT-Hyderabad in the ACM ICPC World Finals - 2017 which is to be held in Rapid City, South Dakota, USA from May 20 to May 25. Excerpts from an interview with the team and coach.

What made you participate in the competition?

All of us are interested in algorithmic programming and participate regularly in online programming competitions on Codechef and Codeforces. As ACM ICPC is the oldest and most renowned programming competition and IIIT has been sending teams for ICPC World Finals consistently, we were keen to participate  in the competition.

What are the challenges of the competition?

The contest consists of solving algorithmically challenging problems. To solve the problems, one requires a thorough knowledge of algorithms, mathematics and analytical thinking. We prepared for it by participating in many five-hour practice contests to get used to the contest environment and improve team coordination.

How many other teams from India have qualified for the finals?

Eight teams from India have qualified for the finals. Some of the other teams include: Team FacelessMen from IIT Kanpur, Team Rocket from IIT Bombay, Team DAFruitSalad from DAIICT Gandhinagar, Team ThirdFloor from CMI, Chennai. We are the only team from Telangana that has made it to the finals.

Will you be able to crack it?

No Indian team has ever won this competition. The top ranks have always been dominated by Russians. The best ever performance by an Indian team was rank 18, our goal will be to get a rank better than that. Fingers crossed.

How are you preparing for finals?

We are practicing previous world finals contest tasks and also focussing on learning new topics and covering more theory. Along with this, we are also participating in other harder training contests available online.

How has your coach Prof Venkatesh Choppella help you to prepare for the finals?

Prof. Choppella has been prompt in helping us whenever required. He was also helpful in providing institutional and administrative support.

What are the takeaways from the rounds so far?

In the past rounds, we have realised that we are weak in certain topics and are trying to rectify that by upsolving the unsolved problems after the contest. We are trying to minimise such errors. Secondly, we also need to improve a bit on our time management and make sure we don’t get stuck on a certain problem and waste our time. Trying out all problems during the contest is crucial.

Tell us about the team.

Vanjabe Rajas Mangesh is currently in third year of Computer Science dual degree programme at the institute. He was introduced to programming and algorithms when he was in 11th standard. His hobbies are programming, playing badminton and sleeping.

Sriram Narayananis is in fourth year of undergraduate Computer Science programme at the institute. He was introduced to programming in high school. His hobbies are programming and watching TV shows, movies. He also likes to read novels.
Tanuj Khattar is in third year of undergraduate Computer Science programme. He was introduced to algorithmic programming in first year at the institute. His hobbies include programming, yoga and dancing.

How big is the prize money?

The top 12 teams get medals and India has managed to secure the 18th position in 2012. The teams that better this will get the prize. The prize money is about Rs 13 lakh. Interestingly, one has to crack a certain formula to know the prize money too. The prize money is sponsored by CodeChef, a not-for-profit educational initiative by Directi, an Indian software company, is a global programming community that fosters learning and friendly competition, built on top of the world’s largest competitive programming platform.

What are your thoughts Prof Venkatesh Chopella?

Taking part in ACM-ICPC brings a lot of prestige and visibility to the institute, considering IIIT-Hyderabad’s reputation is already quite formidable. The problems in the competition are advanced from an algorithmic point of view.  It promotes at abstract thinking. It’s intense, given there’s a set time limit.

Vital Stats

2925 teams registered from India for the first round, which was an online round, out of which 120 teams were from IIIT-Hyderabad. Mobius_Treap ranked No. 3 among the teams from India.

Second round, onsite at Amritapuri and Chennai. Mobius_Treap ranked 2 in both onsite rounds.

India Finals held at Gwalior. Of the 96 teams that qualified for the finals, Mobius_Treap ranked No. 1

Based on the performance as mentioned above, team Mobius_treap has qualified to represent IIIT-Hyderabad at ACM-ICPC World Finals 2017 to be held in South Dakota - USA. Link for reference - http://icpc.baylor.edu/worldfinals/teams

Based on the performance as mentioned above, team Mobius_treap has qualified to represent IIIT-Hyderabad at ACM-ICPC World Finals 2017 to be held in South Dakota - USA. Link for reference - http://icpc.baylor.edu/worldfinals/teams


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