Fifteen students and five teams from the University of Richmond competed in the International Collegiate Programming Competition (ICPC) for the Mid-Atlantic Region on November 9th, and brought back impressive results.

The ICPC consists of eight programming challenges that teams of three students each must attempt to solve quickly and correctly within five hours. The puzzles require a combination of computer science knowledge, sustained focus, and creativity.

Despite having a much smaller department and student body size than other schools in the region (many of whom recruit their teams from close to one thousand students in their computer science major compared to UR’s approximate 80), the team of Tuan Le, David Qin, and Wesley Su from University of Richmond won first place out of the 24 schools at their local testing site and placed ninth out of 160 in their region. All five teams sent by UR placed in the top nine locally and in the top half of the region.

These outstanding results are rare for a school the size of UR, and makes evident the strength of the computer science department and the high quality of creative problem solving that UR’s students have developed, according to professor Dr. Prateek Bhakta. Dr. Bhakta leads a weekly seminar and additional weekend practice sessions to prepare students for the competition throughout the fall semester. He sees the programming competition as an important opportunity for students to problem solve for fun without the academic pressure of being graded or tested, as well as to show off their creativity and get to know other students.

Bhakta and the Computer Science department look forward to starting training for the 2020 competition early next fall.