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June 10, 2002

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   Doug Ramsey (858) 822-5825

San Diego – On May 31, a first-year graduate student in the university's Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) department took the top prize at the Spring 2002 UCSD Programming Contest. John Rapp—who received his B.S. from UCSD in 2001—led more than 100 competitors, and was the first to solve all six problems. "This was the largest field of contestants at any UCSD programming contest since we began them three years ago," said organizer Brad Calder, an assistant professor in the CSE department who also mentored the UCSD team that took first place in the ACM southern California regional programming finals late last year. "This was a dry run for the next round of competitions that will hopefully qualify a UCSD team to participate in the ACM World Finals next year."

Rapp's grand prize was a check for $10,000 provided by the Dini Group (, a San Diego-based professional hardware and software engineering firm. It has provided ongoing financial support for UCSD's participation in the ACM collegiate programming contests. Dini Group founder Mike Dini also provided $5,000 to cover the cost of team prizes, door prizes, food and drinks for the Friday evening contest.

Rapp beat out two undergraduate teams for the grand prize, which went to the first solo entry or two-person team to solve all six of the problems posed. Nick Butko and Aleksandr Simma, as well as Matthew Landis and Scott O'Neill, took first and second place respectively for the undergraduate teams, each team solving five problems apiece. Contestants were given five hours to solve as many of the six problems as possible. They could solve in any of three programming languages: C, C++, or Java.



For more on the competition and photos, go to

The top ten placing teams

Place Team # of Problem Solved
Grand Prize
($10,000) Winner
John Rapp (CS) 6
1Nick Butko (CS) & Aleksandr Simma (CS) 5
2Matthew Landis (Math/CS) & Scott O'Neill (Math) 5
3Matthew Fedder (CS) & Stef Schoenmackers (CS) 4
4Jack Pham (CE) & Desiree El-Chebeir 3
5Thomas Hsieh (CE) 2
6Vadim Bokin (Math) & Michael Artamonov (CS) 2
7Scott Kaforey (CS) & Cheuk-Pan Yiu (CS) 2
8JR Hass (Math) 2
9Young Lee (CE) & Eric Yip (CE) 2
10Kenneth Tang (CS) 2

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