Champion in national programming contest

Triumphant: Chan, Lim and Lee.

It was indeed another outstanding achievement for a team of three students from the Faculty of Information and Communication Technology (FICT) to emerge as Champion in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)-International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) Malaysia al-Khawarizmi National Programming Contest 2016. It was hosted by the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) in Kuala Lumpur on 7 and 8 October 2016.

Known as KitKat, the team comprised Computer Science students Lim Yun Kai, Lee Wen Dick and Joshua Chan Mun Wei. Mentored by FICT lecturer Dr Ng Yen Kaow, the team members walked away with a medal and a certificate of participation each. Trailing team KitKat was WilderCodes from IIUM and There from Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN), who won the second and third place respectively.

In the finals, each team was given 10 problem statements with accompanying data to solve within five hours. They were required to find solutions to the problems by using their knowledge in mathematics and algorithms to process the data. Team KitKat successfully solved seven statements, which put them ahead of WilderCodes and There who solved six statements each.

Dr Ng praised the team members and said, “The students have done a good job and I attribute their win to hard work, perseverance and dedication. Apart from that, the students’ practical and theoretical knowledge and abilities enabled them to cover the disparate segments of the contest smoothly.” He added, “Lim played a significant role in propelling the team to their extraordinary feat for the second time after their first victory in year 2014. Lim is very talented and well-versed particularly in the field of programming and his skills evidently ensured the team’s win of the champion title again this year.”

Dr Ng also added, “The contest serves as a platform for students to further explore their knowledge in the field of computer science and programming. It was a great opportunity for them to apply the knowledge and skills learnt in classroom to real-life situations. I would like to encourage other FICT students to participate more and more in such high-standard contests in order to equip themselves with fresh skills and knowledge relevant to their industries.”

Humbled by the effusive praise, Lim said, “One of the main reasons why I joined the contest was because I enjoy solving mathematical and algorithmic problems. Being an avid fan of programming, I love the nature of the contest in which participants need to solve challenging algorithmic problem statements which will indirectly test and eventually enrich their knowledge and ability in programming.” He added, “In addition to that, I believe that by participating in such contests, it also develops our problem solving and critical thinking skills.” He advised other FICT students to have passion for programming and the willingness to learn.

Meanwhile, Lim’s teammates Lee and Chan thanked UTAR for providing them a good platform to join and compete in such a contest. They added, “ACM-ICPC allows us to discover a lot of interesting information in the fields of computer science and mathematics. We realised the significance of this contest in making us better problem solvers and team-players. Besides that, we also would like to thank Dr Ng and other staff from the faculty for their invaluable guidance and advice. We strongly recommend other students who would like to improve themselves to join the UTAR ACM-ICPC in future.”

A total of eight universities from all over Malaysia took part in the contest. Apart from UTAR, the other institutions that participated were IIUM, UNITEN, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kuala Lumpur, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, and Universiti Teknologi MARA.

ACM-ICPC Malaysia National Programming Contest is Malaysia’s national programming contest that acts as the preliminary round for all Malaysian teams to advance to the Regional Asia Contest. The ACM ICPC is a multitier, team-based programming competition operating under the auspices of ACM and headquartered at Baylor University, USA. The contest involves a global network of universities hosting national and regional competitions that advance teams to the ACM-ICPC World Finals.

The contest aims to foster creativity, teamwork and innovation in building new software programmes, and enables students to test their ability to perform under pressure.

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