CU-Boulder Hosts 'Battle Of The Brains' Computer Programming Contest

October 24, 2006

Some of the best and brightest computer science students in the Rocky Mountain region will face off Saturday, Oct. 28, in an all-out "battle of the brains" contest of logic, strategy and mental endurance at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The Association for Computing Machinery's International Collegiate Programming Contest, sponsored by IBM, is the oldest, largest and most prestigious programming contest in the world, with more than 6,000 teams competing in 84 countries this fall.

More than 150 students will participate on 52 teams in the Rocky Mountain Regional competition, which will be held simultaneously in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Canada.

Eleven teams, including three from CU-Boulder, will compete on the Boulder campus. The contest will be held in the Engineering Center's computer science education labs, room ECCR 128 and adjoining rooms, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A practice contest will precede the competition on Friday, starting at 7:30 p.m., to allow the participating teams to become familiar with the contest environment at CU.

The winning team from the Rocky Mountain Regional will be one of 85 regional winners advancing to the World Finals in Tokyo to be held March 12-16, 2007.

CU-Boulder Associate Professor Ken Anderson, site director for the Rocky Mountain Regional contest, said the competition fosters creativity, teamwork and innovation.

Contest rules call for students to work in teams of three to solve up to eight complex, real-world problems within a five-hour period, which is equivalent to completing a semester's worth of computer programming in one afternoon. Students collaborate with their teammates to write a software program, and test and debug it for each problem.

The team that solves the most problems in the least amount of time wins. A 20-minute penalty is assessed for each incorrect answer.