Utrecht Mathematics students Harry Smit, Timon Knigge en Ragnar Groot Koerkamp finished in 60th place among the 128 teams that participated in the ‘World Championships of Programming’, the ACM International Collegiate Programming Competition. This was the first time that a team from Utrecht qualified for the competition. The other Dutch team, from Radboud University Nijmegen, finished in 53rd place. One day after the finals, Harry, Timon and Ragnar tell us about their experiences.
How do you feel about the contest?
“Our goal was to finish in the top half, and we made it! We were a bit disappointed right after the contest: we didn’t solve two of the problems, although we did write theoretically correct implementations. You always think of a better approach after the fact. But once that feeling goes away, we’ll undoubtedly be able to look back positively on the world finals. Either way, we’re proud that we were there. Some very good teams competed in the preliminary round, the Northwest European Championship, but only four went on to the world finals. During the contest we really rose to meet the challenge.”
Which preparations helped you most in the competition?
“Interestingly enough, we studied optimisation just a week before the contest. That has relatively few applications, but it turned out to be very handy in one of the problems at the finals. Furthermore, an essential element of our success was our cooperation: often one of us would come up with the first part of a problem, and then the rest would fill it in. Practicing together was an important aspect of our training. And as expected, we didn’t have any problems working together.”