Chulalongkorn University Team Wins Programming Competition

Thai students prevail in contest that attracted more than 1100 teams

6 January 2012

Schools in Asia and Europe took the top three places in this year’s IEEEXtreme programming competition. First place went to the cuSAT team from Chulalongkorn University, in Bangkok. Second place went to CeylonSpiro from the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. And Team USD from Belarusian State University, in Minsk, took third.

Held on 22 October, the fifth annual online competition was the biggest ever. It attracted 3183 IEEE student members on 1161 teams from 65 countries. That’s 15 additional countries and more than twice as many teams as last year, according to IEEE Member Gowtham Prasad, project lead on the Member and Geographic Activities Board’s Student Activities Committee.

With up to three students, the teams received sets of programming problems every six hours, starting at 0:00 GMT. Teams worked together to solve all 15 problems within a 24-hour period. They didn’t have to tackle every problem, but the more they answered, the more points they scored. Students submitted their solutions using an online competition management tool called Mooshak.

Points were awarded based on a problem’s difficulty, how it was solved, and the time it took. Points were deducted from a team’s score for each wrong answer. Higher-grade IEEE members served as judges.

The first prize was an all-expenses-paid trip to an IEEE conference of the team’s choice. The second and third place teams each received a netbook computer.

Managing such a large global event requires a lot of preparation, Prasad points out. “With the competition almost doubling every year, the sheer size has presented new challenges for each EEEXtreme organizing team,” he says. Just processing the online registration forms from thousands of students can be daunting. So is recruiting 10 judges, 6 assistant judges, and other volunteers from places around the world, and setting up a cloud-computing infrastructure so all students can log on and compete at the same time.

Thousands of student team members and their supporters visited IEEEXtreme’s Facebook page during the competition to post photos, ask the organizers questions, and chat with participants. Volunteers logged on to answer team members’ procedural questions both on Facebook and on Mooshak.

“The day of the competition is a rush of adrenaline for IEEE volunteers, staff members and, of course, participants,” Prasad says. “We’re looking forward to another great competition next year.”

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