U-M programming teams compete in regional contest; two advance to divisional competition

Despite a delay due to COVID-19, U-M fielded four teams in the annual programming competition.

Zoom screen Enlarge
U-M programming team members and coaches.

The University of Michigan fielded four programming teams in the ACM East Central North American Regional Programming Contest, which took place on Saturday, March 6, 2021. Two teams, The Victors and The Valiant, will advance to a North American divisional competition.

Organized by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), regional competitions are an initial qualifying step in potentially reaching the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC), the biggest and most prestigious of its kind.

Regional competition in North America was different this year, according to Emeritus Assoc. Prof. Kevin Compton, who has coached U-M’s teams since 2001. “Regional competition generally takes place in October and is in-person at a number of locations,” he said. “This year, the North American regionals were delayed because of COVID-19, but I’m pleased that they were able to take place in March under a virtual format.”

Compton was assisted with this year’s teams by two co-coaches: U-M Dearborn alumnus, former ICPC competitor, and long-time co-coach Dennis Matveyev and CSE PhD student Shang-En Huang.

Organizing and coaching the teams has presented new challenges this year, according to Compton. “Dennis, Shang-En, and I held our Fall organizational meeting on Zoom, and all of the weekly practice sessions were online.  In January, we held online tryouts to form the four three-student teams that would go forward, and continued from there with online practice sessions. In most cases, the three students on each team have never met in person. It is remarkable how well they have done and I am proud of how well all of them performed.”

The students on this year’s U-M teams are named below.

  • The Victors: Ramchandra Apte, Claire Yang, Allen Li
  • The Valiant: Runxuan Jiang, Matthew Wang,  Tony (Tongxu) Bai
  • The Conquering Heroes: Jacob Murry, Kyuhyun Park,  Houming Chen
  • The Leaders and Best: Hansen Wang, Abbas Fattah, Ka Yu Wong

The Victors and The Valiant are currently planning practices in preparation for divisional competition, which will take place virtually and is tentatively scheduled for April 22. Should they prevail, according to Compton, the next stage of competition would be the North American finals, followed by the international competition.