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  • Optics Students Win IBM’s ‘Battle of the Brains’
Jul 2013
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, July 3, 2013 — Three students from St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics (ITMO) were crowned World Champions at the 37th annual Battle of the Brains competition hosted at ITMO and sponsored by IBM.

The oldest and most prestigious programming competition, ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) challenged 120 university teams to solve complex real-world problems under a strict five-hour deadline. The contest exposed students to key emerging trends and capabilities such as applying analytics technology to Big Data — a major economic growth engine and career opportunity worldwide.

Students were challenged to solve the most number of computer programming problems in the least amount of time. The St. Petersburg team successfully solved 10 problems in the five-hour period, winning “The World’s Smartest Trophy,” as well as awards and offers of employment or internships with IBM.

“IBM recognizes the importance of providing opportunities and inspiration for students to embrace the latest in technology evolution and hone their skills for a global workforce,” said Doug Heintzman, director of strategy for IBM Software Group and sponsorship executive of ICPC. “This competition brings together the best and brightest from the world’s leading universities. We look forward to offering some of these extraordinary problem solvers internships and employment at IBM where they will help build a smarter, more efficient planet.”

Participants also had the opportunity to explore some of the technologies made in IBM’s Research and Development Labs and network with technology experts. Excursions to some of St. Petersburg’s cultural hotspots, including the Hermitage Museum and the Peter and Paul Fortress, rounded out the experience.

“The ACM-ICPC is a wonderful opportunity for students from around the world to come together, collaborate and exchange different views and experiences,” said Dr. Bill Poucher, ICPC executive director and Baylor University professor. “I am excited to see how these students will utilize the amazing knowledge they’ve gained from this contest and from one another as they continue their academic and professional pursuits.”

The top 12 finishers receiving medals are:
  • St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics (ITMO) (Gold, World Champion) 
  •  Shanghai Jiao Tong University (Gold, 2nd Place) 
  • The University of Tokyo (Gold, 3rd Place) 
  • National Taiwan University (Gold, 4th Place) 
  • St. Petersburg State University (Silver, 5th Place) 
  • University of Warsaw (Silver, 6th Place) 
  • Taras Shevchenko Kiev National University (Silver, 7th Place) 
  • Belarusian State University (Silver, 8th Place) 
  • Jagiellonian University in Krakow (Bronze, 9th Place) 
  • Moscow State University (Bronze, 10th Place) 
  • Carnegie Mellon University (Bronze, 11th Place) 
  • Tsinghua University (Bronze, 12th Place) 
  • Perm State University (Bronze, 13th Place) 
Regional champions included Carnegie Mellon University (North America); ITMO (Europe); Arab Academy for Science and Technology in Alexandria (Africa and the Middle East); Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica (Latin America); Shanghai Jiao Tong University (Asia); and University of New South Wales (South Pacific).

The 120 teams competing in the World Finals emerged from local and regional ICPC competitions held this past fall. Initial selections took place from a field of more than 300,000 students in computing disciplines worldwide. At the regional level, 29,479 contestants from 2322 universities in 91 countries competed at more than 300 sites to earn one of the 120 invitations to St. Petersburg.

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