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Russia leads again !

April 20, 2018

Today the final of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC), which is the biggest and most prestigious contest and the IT event of the year, took place in Beijing. Universities participating in Project 5-100, such as MIPT, ITMO University and the Ural Federal University take the podium.

On 19 April, the main duel between the world's best young programmers finished in Beijing. Russian teams have been second to none at the world's competitive programming competitions for many years. This year Russian programmers became leaders again, and the Chinese and Koreans were the biggest rivals.

140 teams from 51 country made it to the final of the world's biggest contest, including 11 Russian teams, five of which were from the leading Russian universities participating in Project 5-100: MIPT, ITMO University (the world record-breakers in terms of the number of competitions won), the Higher School of Economics (HSE), Ural Federal University (UrFU) and Novosibirsk State University (NSU).

Russian participants won the World Cup and four medal out of 13, outstripping other countries: teams form China and the USA won three medals each, and the teams of Japan, Korea and Lithuania got one medal each. Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU) ranked first and won the Champion Cup. Apart from MSU, MIPT, Pekin University and the University of Tokyo were awarded Gold Medals. Silver Medals were given to Seoul National University, the University of South Wales, Tsinghua University Beijing Jiaotong University. ITMO University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Central Florida, Vilnius University and UrFU received Bronze Medals. As 13 teams solved seven problems each, this time the judges decided to give 13 medals instead of 12.

"This year there are a large number of strong teams. Apart from traditional universities from Saint Petersburg, there were also highly talented students from Poland and Korea. The contest is held at a high level at Peking University, and the host has made considerable effort to ensure a high level of organization. The two leading universities from Moscow (MIPT and MSU) achieved good results at the start of the contest. I would like to note that compared to all other cities of the world, the number of universities from Moscow which participated in the contest was the largest: four universities are representing our region. The MIPT team achieved a good result, they were aiming for victory for the entire year, and at NEERC (the ICPC semi-final) they became undisputed champions. Now they won the Golden Medal at the international level. Their result was the best one during the history of MIPT participation in competitions. Congratulations to the Cryptozoology team! We are proud of our students," said Alexey Maleev, the Cryptozoology team leader and technology entrepreneurship director at MIPT.

The scale of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest is four times larger than that of the traditional Olympics: this year ICPC (including regional qualifiers) comprised about 50,000 best programming students from about 3,100 universities representing 111 countries. To compare, 11,544 athletes participated in all stages of the Summer Olympics 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

"This year MIPT, MSU and ITMO University provided the strongest teams representing our country. They were among the leaders during qualifiers. Their competitors from China and Korea were strong: the teams of Peking university, Seoul National University and Tsinghua University. The competition was intense, as usual, and it was very difficult to predict who would become the world champion this year," says Roman Elizarov, the ICPC Northern Eurasia Chief Judge and ITMO University tutor.

Russian programmers have been leaders in the world contest for many years. Since 2000, Russian teams have become ICPC winners for the thirteenth time. For six years, from 2012 through 2017, the two teams from Saint Petersburg (from St Petersburg University (SPbU) and ITMO University which holds the world record in terms of championship titles: it has seven Cups) were winning the World Cup in turn. Their closest foreign rivals, such as Stanford University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, have won a mere three contests each. Russian teams have taken part in ICPC since 1993.

"Programming is becoming a mind sport of the future, which is as interesting as chess, for example, and Russians are second to none in this field," points out Vladimir Vasilyev, the rector of ITMO University and the vice-president of the Russian Union of Rectors.

Teams competing in ICPC comprise three students up to 25 years old. Students who have participated in the World Finals twice cannot take part in the contest. The team has only one computer, this is why, apart from logic and the ability to work under time pressure, the participants must show that they can work as a team and distribute roles properly. The team which solved the largest number of problems correctly and as quickly as possible becomes the winner; the number of attempts, or "messages" (i.e. solutions to a problem sent to the testing server) is also taken into account. Each task includes a description of a situation (legend), examples of tests and formal restrictions. Participants should "translate" the conditions into the language of mathematics, develop the algorithm for solution and write a program in one of the scripts which are approved for use at the contest:  Java, C, C ++, Python and Kotlin (Kotlin was introduced as an official script this year). The solution sent to the jury is checked several times. The problem is considered to be solved if the program gives correct answers in all tests. If the program gives a wrong answer or exceeds time or memory limits, the team is informed of it, and then the participants can send the revised version. Teams get penalty time for unsuccessful attempts which is taken into account when the final result is calculated. An hour before the end of the contest the tournament bracket is "frozen": the teams see only their own results and what tasks their rivals tried to solve.

It should be noted that this year the scripts authorized for use during ICPC included Kotlin developed by Russian programmers from JetBrains. "This is also a momentous event for the Russian IT industry: in May 2017 Google announced that along with Java, Kotlin will be the main script for creating mobile applications for Android. This is perhaps the greatest achievement of Russian programmers which has come onto the global market in the last 25 years:  Android-based smartphones and tablets account for over a half of the global market, and this share is increasing. According to experts, in five years, Kotlin is to become one of the three most popular programming language in the world," explains Roman Elizarov who is also one of Kotlin project managers at JetBrains.

All ICPC prizewinners will receive a large amount of money: the champions will get $15,000, and those who won Silver Medals will receive $6,000 each.

11 teams from 6 universities of Russia made it to the finals of ICPC. These include Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Moscow State University, ITMO University (Saint Petersburg), Saint Petersburg State University, Higher School of Economics, Moscow Aviation Institute, Novosibirsk State University, Perm State University, Saratov State University, Academic University (Saint Petersburg), Ural Federal University (Yekaterinburg).

International Collegiate Programming Contest is the oldest and the most important championship on sport programming in the world. The competition is held annually since 1977 under the auspices of the Association for computing machinery (ACM). Teams that passed multiple stages of regional selection are competing in the final stage of the championship.

Complete results table is available here