Jun 2019     Issue 10
CUHK Programming Team Wins Bronze Medal in the International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals

The programming team from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering won a bronze medal at the 43rd Annual World Finals of the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) held in Porto, Portugal last month.  The team consists of three undergraduate students: Yik Wai-Pan (Computer Science major), Ho Ngan-Hang (Computer Science minor, Mathematics major), and Poon Lik-Hang (Computer Science minor, Quantitative Finance major).  This is the third time CUHK has won medals at the ICPC.

Established in 1970, the ICPC (formerly the ACM-ICPC) is the oldest, largest and most prestigious programming contest in the world.  The contest is a multi-tier competition from local, national and regional contests leading to the world finals.  The competition attracts the best and brightest students from around the world every year.  It fosters creativity, teamwork and innovation in building new software programs and enables students to test their ability to perform under pressure.  This year, over 52,000 contestants from more than 3,200 universities across 110 countries took part, with only 135 teams advancing to compete in the world finals.  The CUHK team ranked 12th and won a bronze medal in the world finals, defeating prestigious teams from Stanford University, Princeton University, Harvard University, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Cambridge, Tsinghua University, Shanghai Jiaotong University and Peking University.

Formed in the early '90s, CUHK's programming team has entered the ICPC world final 17 times, the first in 1994.  The team won a bronze medal in 2000 and a silver in 2012.  Former graduate team members are still contributing by passing on their experience, knowledge and techniques to serving members.  Professor Chan Siu On, the team's current coach and Assistant Professor of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering of CUHK, was in fact a key programming team member during his undergraduate studies at CUHK from 2002 to 2006.

Prof. Chan said, "Students coming from different major programmes have to work as a team to tackle challenges in the competition by making use of their programming, communications and problem-solving skills.  It is a great experience for them to compete with other top-tier college students.  As a former member of the CUHK programming team, I am also very proud of the students' achievement."

ICPC has become a platform for prestigious international IT enterprises to hire the most outstanding students.  Many former CUHK programming team members have been employed by global IT enterprises such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and IBM, while some have received scholarships to pursue their Master's or PhD studies at prestigious graduate schools, including UC Berkeley, Stanford University, Princeton University, the University of Washington, the University of Toronto, Brown University, the University of Maryland, UCLA, and the University of Southern California.  The three team members this year, who are all final-year students, have also received job offers.  Yik Wai-Pan and Ho Ngan-Hang have offers from Google, while Poon Lik-Hang will work for a hedge fund.

About the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC)
The ICPC is an algorithmic programming contest for college students.  Teams of three, representing their university, work to solve the most real-world problems, fostering collaboration, creativity, innovation and the ability to perform under pressure.  Through training and competition, teams challenge each other to raise the bar on the possible.  It is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious programming contest in the world.

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