Nine are Not Enough: Two Top-Ten SB Finishes in ACM Regional Programming Contest

In 2008, it took Stony Brook only eight problems to get to Stockholm. But solving all nine only proved good for ninth place at the ACM ICPC Greater New York Regional Programming Contest held at Hofstra University on October 18, 2009. Still, two Stony Brook teams finished in the top ten (among 53 teams) as the best on Long Island, and our freshman team turned in a very inspiring performance.

Cornell won the region in a contest marred by unexpectedly easy problems. They solved all 9 problems only two hours into the five hour contest, first among nine teams completing all the problems. Stony Brook teams traditionally perform better on sophisticated algorithmic problems than ``typing contests'' stressing coding speed and precision. Last year, when Stony Brook won the regional it was the only team completing 8 of 9 problems, with the clincher coming with just 12 minutes remaining in the contest.

The Stony Brook 1 team of Tynan Fitzpatrick, Pritam Damania and Nicolo John Davis solved their first problem only five minutes into the contest. They were the first team to bag Problem I (traditionally the hardest in the set). They nailed eight of the nine problems on a single submission, and the other was delayed only by numerical precision issues, not logical errors. Tynan was a veteran of last year's championship team, but undergraduate research opportunities abroad cost two teammates (Leif Walsh and Roman Kogan) the chance to defend their title.

The undergraduate student Stony Brook 2 team of Ozran Bellik, Jianing Guo, and Russell Kraner hung in with the grads all afternoon, solving eight problems and finishing tenth. They were in the hunt to finish the last problem as time expired.

The all-freshman team of Rafael Lizarralde, Kevin Sackel, and Chao Xu turned in an impressive performance, solving the first three problems in 43 minutes, ranking eighth in the field at that point. They ran out of gas as the problems required more advanced knowledge, and finished 27th with four problems. They will be back much stronger next year, soon as they get more than six weeks of college under their belts.

Thanks to coach Charles Ward, who took over team leadership during faculty advisor Steven Skiena's sabbatical in Hong Kong.

Stony Brook Team 1, posed (left to right) Nicolo John Davis, Tynan Fitzpatrick, and and Pritam Damania, and in action.

Stony Brook Team 2: posed (left to right) coach Charles Ward, Jianing Guo, Russell Kraner, Ozran Bellik, and advisor Steven Skiena, and in action

Stony Brook Team 3: posed (left to right) Kevin Sackel, Chao Xu, and Rafael Lizarralde, and in action.

Previous years results include:

The activities of the Stony Brook Programming Teams have sponsored by grants from Citigroup, hence the umbrella in the team photos.