ICPC 2011

I’m here in Orlando to coach the University of New South Wales team in the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest world finals. A team of three uni students gets a computer and five hours to solve nine or ten really tough problems. (See last year’s set, for instance). The finals were going to be in Egypt in February, but for some reason or other had to be moved here instead.

There’s going to be live coverage of the final starting 9am local time on Monday. The twitter hashtag is #icpc2011.

Here’s a picture of our team at orientation. (The balloons are awarded to the teams during the contest each time they solve a problem so everyone can see how they are doing.)


Update: South Pacific champions:



  1. #1 Thers
    May 30, 2011

    Good luck to your team, Tim!

    Fortunately, there is nothing to distract you in Orlando except for ludicrously expensive theme parks that are not actually very much fun once you’re stuck in them.

  2. #2 Pinko Punko
    May 30, 2011

    If you win, I remember relatively reasonably priced very good aged steaks at Vito’s Chop House. Knock ’em dead!

  3. #3 dopey
    May 30, 2011

    @Thers that may be why it was moved from Egypt – too many nerdish distractions there.

  4. #4 Steve L
    May 30, 2011

    Cool, except for the balloons. Terribly disposable waste. Best of luck.

  5. #5 Gareth
    May 30, 2011

    There is The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. That’s great…

  6. #6 Gaz
    May 30, 2011

    Wikipedia says Orlando’s 34m above sea level, so you should be OK for the next few hundred years.

    Good luck.

  7. #7 Gaz
    May 30, 2011

    By the way, has anyone told you the ICPC’s just a cabal of greenie frauds who are only in it for the grant money and aiming for world domination?

    It’s only a matter of time.

  8. #8 Eli Rabett
    May 30, 2011

    Hopefully the organizers have worked with NASA to have a special tour of Kennedy Space Center. The normal one is fine, but the specials are really special.

  9. #9 happy_heyoka
    May 30, 2011

    From someone who’s been doing software for many years: those problems from last year are pretty tough! Getting any number of them solved in a few hours is really good stuff.

    Best of luck for your team.

  10. Hmm, you just reminded me to check the dates for the ICFP (answer: 17–20 Jun 00:00 UTC). Fortunately for the ICFP folks, there’s no danger of confusing them with the IPCC, or the Heartland I’C’CC, or whatever.

    — frank

  11. #11 Lionel A
    May 30, 2011

    Best of to your team Tim.

    I second Eli’s advice about a visit to Kennedy. Changed a bit since I went round in mid 71 I’ll bet. I have just been scanning some transpsrencies I took one (taken by a colleague of course) with me stood in front, a long way in front, of Apollo 15 and gantry on its launch pad a few weeks before blast off. Missed the launch though as by then the grey funnel line had taken me down into the Caribbean.

  12. (by ICFP I meant the ICFP contest, of course…)

    — frank

  13. #13 Nitraz
    May 30, 2011

    Aussie, Aussie,Aussie. Oi, Oi, Oi!
    This is a sport I could follow.
    Cf recent xkcd

    Go team!

  14. #14 Harold Brooks
    May 31, 2011

    Looking at last year’s problems, I think I did best on the “This page intentionally left blank” problems. Good luck.

  15. #15 Jeremy C
    May 31, 2011


    I am sure i don’t need to tell you but…..but….but!, if any of your students end up with an IT outlook then as an engineer I will come back to haunt you.

  16. #16 Vince whirlwind
    May 31, 2011

    Jeremy, I don’t know what you mean by “IT Outlook”, but having recently been involved with a Uni on an IT project I wouldn’t wish my experience with the “Uni outlook on IT” on anyone. Apparently at least one Uni doesn’t believe in having a design phase to precede the implementation phase. Apparently at least one Uni believes several weeks of complaining that “things don’t work” due to people assuming things that weren’t discussed would work, or that things that were discussed but ruled out would work anyway.

  17. #17 Jeremy C
    May 31, 2011

    I was joking Vince.

  18. #18 Vince whirlwind
    May 31, 2011

    Can we see an updated picture of the UNSW team, showing their haul of balloons?

  19. #19 Mercurius
    June 1, 2011

    Swimsuit calendar or it didn’t happen.

  20. #20 Tim Lambert
    June 1, 2011

    **Update** South Pacific champions — see photo added to post.

  21. #21 adelady
    June 1, 2011

    Nice work!

    Does the coach get a trophy, guernsey, personal plaque?

  22. #22 Vince whirlwind
    June 2, 2011

    “South Pacific Champions”?

    So you beat New Zealand? Were there any other Aussie Unis there?

  23. #23 MikeH
    June 2, 2011

    Congratulations Tim and the team. Can you post a link to the problems.

    While you were away, proof that [climate change crankdom](http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2742686.html) never sleeps.

  24. #24 Successfulbuild
    June 2, 2011

    Dang. They’re good!!!

    Problem E of last years looks pretty tough to do with not much time. They’re all tough. (I’m guessing they’re at least second year students having taken an algorithms class?)

    Congratulations on your victory, and thanks for continuing to refute climate denialism.

  25. #25 Physicalist
    June 2, 2011


  26. #26 Anthony David
    June 5, 2011

    Congrats Tim. What programming language did your team use?

  27. #27 Tim Lambert
    June 6, 2011

    There were only two teams from the South Pacific in the finals — UNSW and Canterbury.

    The problems are [here](http://cm2prod.baylor.edu/digital/icpc2011.pdf)

    Our team used C++. (The other languages allowed are Java and C).

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