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Students Take Top Spot at Collegiate Computer Programming Contest

Members of Swarthmore’s programming competition team

Front row, from left: Fefa Sampaio Ferreira ’21, Jasiel Lopez Juarez ’21, and Danielle Rosetti Dos Santos ’21. Back row: Timothy Mou ’23, Jay Leeds ’23, Henry Wang ’22, William Ball ’22, and Kaidan Fullerton ’23.

Three Swarthmore teams recently competed at James Madison University in the regional qualifiers of the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC), which tests students’ skills in programming, problem solving, and algorithmic thinking.

The trio of Jay Leeds ’23, Timothy Mou ’23, and Henry Wang ’22 beat 158 other teams for the top spot and qualified for the ICPC North American Championships (NAC) in February and the 2020 ICPC World Finals in Moscow next summer. Each time had five hours to solve eight problems of varying difficulty.

“Because each team has access only to one computer and speed is often a deciding factor in these contests, the key to our success was ensuring that someone was making productive use of the computer at all times,” says Leeds, of Austin, Texas.

“The problems were moderately difficult, but nothing was above what we prepared for,” adds Mou, of Peoria, Ill. “Our team was able to get a head start by solving some of the easier problems quickly. Hopefully at NAC, we will show that we are one the best North American teams.”

Five other members of Swarthmore’s programming competition team, which is coached in part by Assistant Professor of Computer Science Joshua Brody, also performed well at the regional qualifier. 

Fefa Sampaio Ferreira ’21, Danielle Rosetti Dos Santos ’21, and Jasiel Lopez Juarez ’21 solved four problems, and William Ball ’23 and Kaidan Fullerton ’23 solved three problems as a two-person team.

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