News Release

CSE Graduate Students Take Top Two Spots in UCSD Programming Contest

Top four finalists (l-r): 3rd place Nakul Verma, #1 Michael Vrable, 4th place William Matthews, and Chris Chang, who ranked #2.

San Diego, CA, October 18, 2004 -- Fifty-six students turned out for the 2004 UCSD Programming Contest on Saturday, Oct. 16, an annual event hosted by the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) department. They vied for prizes as well as the chance to represent UCSD at the regional and world programming contests sponsored by ACM.

This year's competition was open to all undergraduates as well as first-year grad students, and the top two finishers were grad students. Michael Vrable took the number-one spot and the $1,000 grand prize, narrowly defeating Chris Chang. They were the only two participants to solve all six of the problems they were given. Third place went to undergraduate Nakul Verma, who solved four problems. (To view the problems and results, click here.)

Students competed individually to solve traditional algorithms problems, programming in C, C++ or Java languages. The best UCSD programmers will now constitute four 3-person teams to compete in the ACM Southern California Programming Contest on Nov. 13 at Riverside Community College in Riverside.

"We had a great turnout, and the results indicate that UCSD will be able to field excellent teams at the Southern California regionals next month," said CSE professor Brad Calder, who organizes the annual contest. "We are also grateful to Mike Dini's Dini Group, which provided over $5,500 in prizes and food for the UCSD programming contest."

Top finishers and their prize money furnished by The Dini Group, including penalties (in seconds) piled up when judges rejected a competitor's solution, were:

 Rank Name Solved Penalty Prize
 1 Michael Vrable 6 1100 $1,000
 2 Christopher Change 6 1174 $   700
 3 Nakul Verma 4   735 $   500
 4 William Matthews 4   811 $   300
 5 Jan Schellenberger 3   540 $   200
 6 Nick Butko 3   610 $   100
 7 Jan Voung 3   849 $   100






Calder will now pick four teams to represent UCSD in the regional finals in Riverside. "We try to balance skills based on the problems they solved, and what programming language they prefer, so that everyone on the team uses Java, or everyone uses C++/C," said Calder. "I also try to have some younger students in terms of educational experience teaming up with more experienced students."

The regional programming contest will draw students from colleges and universities throughout southern California and southern Nevada. Some 75 teams selected from thousands of teams competing in regional contests on six continents will then advance to the 29th ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals, to be held April 3-7, 2005, in Shanghai, China. This year's world finals, sponsored by IBM, will be hosted by Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Media Contacts

Doug Ramsey
Jacobs School of Engineering