Team JET, a team of three computer science students at UC, has come out on top for the second year in a row in a national programming contest. Team JET is pictured here, left to right: Thomas Steinke, Edwin Flores, Joey Scarr and Dr Richard Lobb.
Edwin Flores, Joey Scarr and Thomas Steinke were named New Zealand champions once again in this year’s ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ACM-ICPC), and placed second overall in the South Pacific regional finals.
The regional finals, sponsored by IBM, were held in early September at nine sites across Australia and New Zealand. More than 70 teams competed for the chance to represent their country in the contest’s world finals, to be held in Harbin, China from 1 to 6 February next year.
The team is coached by Associate Professor Tim Bell and Dr Richard Lobb (Computer Science and Software Engineering).
Professor Bell said the back-to-back national titles were a testament to a tight unit.
“To win the national competition twice in a row reflects this team's strength. Between them they have a variety of skills and, most importantly, they can work as a team to make sure that they get the benefit of each member's talent,” Professor Bell said.
The three students represented New Zealand in April in Stockholm, Sweden, for the 2009 ACM-ICPC World Finals, where they put their programming skills to the test competing against the top 100 teams from around the world and gained a respectable 49th equal placing.
The competition involves teams of three tertiary students attempting to solve computer programming problems over a five-hour time period, with the winners being the team who correctly solves the most problems in the least time. The finals, also sponsored by IBM, are one of the world’s oldest, largest and most prestigious programming contests.
Thomas said knowing how the system ran and having more competition experience had helped the team make “strategic improvements” and his team-mate Joey thought being “a year older and wiser” would help them improve their ranking in next year’s championships.
In addition to training, the team is also focused on drumming up financial support to fund their airfares to China. Those interested in sponsoring the team can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picture courtesy of University of Canterbury Communications Office.