Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX computer science students win 2020 Atlantic Canadian Programming Competition

November 6th, 2020
StFX computer science students Jueqi Wang (left) and Zhou Ti (right) and computer science professor Dr. James Hughes

A team of StFX computer science students, Zhou Ti and Jueqi Wang, have won the 2020 Atlantic Canadian Programming Competition held Oct. 31.

This is the first time that StFX has ever won this competition, and it is one of its best showings overall in terms of the number of teams that performed well, says programming competition coach and computer science professor Dr. James Hughes. 

In addition to Zhou Ti and Jueqi Wang's team, four other StFX teams participated, including Team Red: Sneh Joshi, Dalon Lobo, and Shubham Poriya; Team Green: Abdullah Shoaib, Heenakumari Sharma, and Bhavik Bhagat; Team Blue: Meredith Cudmore-Keating and Prahar Ijner; and Team Yellow: Ethan Heavey, Dawson Henley, and Logan DeYoung.

The competition included entries from a number of universities across Atlantic Canada.

“Programming competitions are a big deal in the computer science world and it's something that a lot of big name employers look at, such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, etc.,” Dr. Hughes says.

“The competition is also connected to ICPC, the International Collegiate Programming Competition, which is the biggest and most important competition in the world and arguably most significant academically related extracurricular that there is for computer science students.”

Not only did StFX record its best placing ever, winning the competition, it had high participation in terms of teams entered and good overall results from all participants, including junior students.

Dr. Hughes says typically this competition is the first round of the ICPC and would be hosted at a local university, but COVID-19 threw things off. Instead, the competition was held remotely with participating students self-isolating during the competition.

The event is made up of challenging, albeit silly sounding questions, he says, that the students need to understand, work out a solution, and implement the solution, all while under unusual conditions such as minimal resources for reference and a time limit. Example questions include determining how quickly Santa Klas must be woken up before his autopilot reindeer crash and calculating the uniqueness of tree shapes. The competition lasted from 1-6 p.m.

StFX’s teams will now participate at the upcoming ICPC competition. No date has yet been set for this.

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