Trinity students sweep the board at national computer programming contest

Teams of Trinity computer science and maths students swept the board at the UK and Ireland Programming Contest (UKIEPC) 2019, in which Cambridge took nine out of the top 12 spots.

Trinity’s Treeniceratops team, which comprised Kacper Walentynowicz, Maja Trela and David Wärn, came first and was the only team in the competition to solve every problem. With a slightly different team make-up and name (Triniceratops) they also came first in 2018.

Team Treeniceratops hard at work

More than 150 teams participated in UKIEPC 2019 on Saturday 19 October. The event took place in various locations around the UK and Ireland, including Cambridge where it was hosted at the Department of Computer Science and Technology. The competition is a qualifying round for the Northwestern Europe Programming Contest (NWERC), which will be held in Eindhoven, Holland in November 2019.

Team ?‽!, with Trinity undergraduates Dušan Živanović and Vladimir Milenković and former Trinity undergraduate Dimitrije Erdeljan, now a PhD student at King’s, took second place.

Team Treevial, comprised of Trinity students Jeck Lim, Zoltán Molnár Sáska and Choong Yin Howe, came third.

UKIEPC and NWERC are part of the International Collegiate Programming Contest, which are designed to test students’ programming skills, problem solving and teamwork.

Trinity student Andrej Ivaskovic, who is pursuing a PhD in Computer Science and who helped organise the event, said:

‘Teams have up to three students who tackle a variety of problems related to computer science, and their goal is to produce correct and fast programs that solve them. A team has only a single computer at their disposal and no Internet access.’

Contestants at the score board in the William Gates Building

Trinity Fellow, Professor Frank Stajano, is Director of Studies in Computer Science at Trinity and the co-founder, with MIT, of the international Cambridge2Cambridge cyber security challenge. He said:

Trinity and Cambridge have had another resounding success in this annual programming competition, after other Trinity teams won first place nationally and reached the world finals last year.

We have the good fortune of attracting some of the most talented young computer scientists in the world and we don’t want any of them to get bored because their course is too easy – however unlikely that is with such a thorough and rigorous Tripos.

A number of the Computer Science students we admit to Trinity have already won medals in the International Olympiads in Informatics when they were in high school, and it’s great to be able to offer them additional challenges, such as this one, that allow them to show off their outstanding abilities.

UKIEPC and NWERC are fantastic initiatives of which I continue to be a great supporter. I hope they will inspire all young computer scientists, here and anywhere, to reach for even higher goals than they thought they could achieve.

Photos: Markus Kuhn and Hayk Saribekyan

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