Good Year for Stony Brook: Second Place in ACM Programming Contest


Good Year for Stony Brook: Second Place in ACM Programming Contest. The full story (with pictures) is available at and summarized below. Congratulations are due to all the students involved.

Stony Brook teams finished 8th, 19th, and a very strong second place among the 42 combatants at the ACM ICPC Greater New York Regional Programming Contest held at Stony Brook on October 28th, 2012. Stony Brook hosted the regional contest for the first time ever, welcoming almost two hundred visitors as Hurricane Sandy waiting to take out its vengence on Long Island. The visitors were generally impressed by our facilities, particularly the mound of dirt where the future Computer Science Building will be located.

The contest proved a back-and-forth battle for regional surpremacy between the top Stony Brook and Columbia University teams. After six problems, Stony Brook trailed Columbia by 24 minutes, quickly distancing themselves from the rest of the field. Then Stony Brook pulled ahead as the first to seven problems an hour and half into the competition. Columbia fired back with two quick scores before the Seawolves could recover, pulling ahead by 159 minutes after 9 problems.

But time is only a tie breaker. The contest had a difficult tenth problem remaining, concerning the geometry of focusing a telecope in a moving coordinate system. Stony Brook had proven itself the fastest team in the field on mathematical problems, and were the only team to have a realistic shot at getting it. They made steady progress over the last hour before the clock ran out on them. A half an hour more and they would have been the regional champions.

The top Stony Brook 1 undergraduate student team of Chao Xu, Kevin Sackel, and Vincent Tsuei finished a strong second place in a tough region. Chao and Kevin competed for four years at Stony Brook, working their way up from 29th to 16th to 5th to 2nd place as seniors. Vincent will be back next year to lead our team into battle next year.

Stony Brook's two other teams also did well. Our graduate student team of Varun Ramani, Yafei Duan, and Arun Rathakrishnan overcame systems trouble to solve six problems and finish in ninth place. Our freshman-sophmore "Seacubs" team of Sheng Cao, Kyle O'Connor, and Serge Ostrowski solved four problems to finish 19th. They will be back for next year's contest with a full year of classes under their belt, and should rise through the ranks as our top team did this year.

As usual, Stony Brook accumulated bragging rights for SUNY and Long Island schools. The top Binghamton team finished 20th, meaning all three of our teams beat the best of their three teams. All our teams finished in the top half of the field.

Special thanks go to Peter Ruland and Michael Delgrosso for all their efforts preparing the computer labs for the competitors, and Kathy Germana for other logistical support. Student Computing Society head Hanne Paine helped round up volunteers. Deputy coach Yanqing Chen helped prepare all of the Stony Brook teams for the event. in cohoots with faculty advisor Steven Skiena.