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UW computer team prepares for World Finals

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November 9, 2005

Source: University of Waterloo:

UW computer team prepares for World Finals

WATERLOO, Ont. -- After dominating a recent qualifying event, a University of Waterloo student team is preparing to excel at the 30th ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals to be held next spring in San Antonio, Texas.

Two UW teams -- "Waterloo Black" and "Waterloo Gold" -- finished first and second last Saturday in the East Central North America regional qualifying competition for the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) World Finals.

That means UW will be represented for the 14th consecutive time in the World Finals, to be held April 9-13. Waterloo has been world champion in the ACM programming competition twice and North American champion five times.

>From thousands of teams competing in regional contests held around the world, 75 teams will advance to the World Finals, hosted by Baylor University and sponsored by IBM. The event will be staged at the Hilton Palacio del Rio in San Antonio.

Last year, a UW team placed fourth in the World Finals, hosted by China's Shanghai Jiao Tong University. As well, the team was the champion for North America, one of six regions into which teams were divided.

"One of the most satisfying aspects of my position at Waterloo is my opportunity to work with these brilliant and fascinating individuals, and to bask in their reflected glory," said UW Prof. Gordon Cormack, who coaches the Waterloo teams.

In the East Central North America finals, first place went to the Waterloo Black team made up of Tor Myklebust, (Combinatorics & Optimization), David Pritchard (Combinatorics & Optimization) and Kartikaya (Kats) Gupta (Software Engineering). Pritchard is a graduate student, while his teammates are undergraduates.

Cormack said that Waterloo Black was, at the 29-minute mark, the third team to solve one of the eight problems in the five-hour contest. "They solved their second problem at 42 minutes, and their third at 43, surging ahead of the 113-team field to finish all eight problems in 153 minutes -- just three minutes past half-time!"

Waterloo Gold -- composed of undergraduates Michael Druker (Mathematics, first-year), Yin (Jack) Zhao (Computer Science) and Simon Parent (Computer Science, first-year) -- were close behind, solving their first problem in 34 minutes and finishing in 220 minutes for a strong second place. For the regional contest's results, visit link

While Waterloo Black will compete in the World Finals, Waterloo Gold will travel to Texas as well-wishers, said Cormack, a faculty member in the School of Computer Science. Waterloo Gold would also have advanced to the finals except for a contest rule limiting universities to one team each.

Prof. Gordon Cormack, (519) 888-4567, ext. 4450;
John Morris, UW Media Relations, (519) 888-4435,
Release no. 248 -- November 9, 2005



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