A team of UTAR students from the Faculty of Information and Communication Technology (FICT) enjoys their moment of triumph after emerging as the champion in the ACM ICPC Malaysia al-Khawarizmi National Programming Contest 2018. UTAR was crowned champion for the third time after winning the first two in the year 2014 and 2016.
The contest was held at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) in Kuala Lumpur from 11 to 12 May 2018. The ACM ICPC Malaysia al-Khawarizmi National Programming Contest 2018 was part of the larger Association for Computing Machinery-International Collegiate Programming Contest (ACM ICPC).
The winning team, named KitKat, was comprised of UTAR FICT Computer Science (CS) students, namely Lim Yun Kai, Chow Jenn Pang and Lai Wing Khang. They walked away with a medal and a certificate of participation each. The team was mentored by FICT lecturer Dr Ng Yen Kaow.
Trailing the KitKat team was IM26C4u from the University of Malaya (UM) and Make Malaysia Great Again team from IIUM, who won the first runner-up and second runner-up 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 of mathematics and algorithms to process the data. The titles of the 10 problem statements were Aku Negaraku, Cheap Deliveries, Eli’s Curious Mind, Explorace, Matrix Multiplication Calculator, Sum of Sub Rectangle Areas, Wak Sani Satay, Stroop Effect, Super Ball and Virus Outbreak.
UTAR team successfully solved nine statements, which put them ahead of the first and second runner-up who solved eight and seven statements respectively.
Dr Ng explained, “The ACM ICPC Malaysia al-Khawarizmi National Programming Contest 2018 is one of the most prestigious programming contests in the world. It is the oldest contest of its kind, where the judging is not performed by a human. The contestants are given a number of problems where they will figure out algorithms to implement the algorithms into a program, and then submit the program to a computer. The computer then verifies the program against a large database of known solutions for the problems – a correct program contributes to the contestant’s score while an incorrect program penalises the contestant. The contestant is allowed to retry a problem until he or she arrives at a correct program. Many of the most prestigious competitions today follow the same model – most notable among these are Google’s Code Jam and Facebook’s Hacker Cup.”
He added, “The ability to solve ICPC problems will help tremendously in our understanding of all CS-related subjects, and the good thing is that these skills will stay with us for life. Furthermore, there is little pre-requisite needed for someone to start getting their hands on the problems. In fact, the ideal stage to train for the ICPC is during the secondary school, or even earlier.”
The Year Three student-cum-team leader Lim enthused, “It was an amazing journey. The problems given were fun and challenging. We are glad and proud to win this prestigious contest. Without my teammates and the support from Dr Ng, our success would not have been possible. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for the teamwork and effort provided throughout the contest.”
Inspired by his team leader, Chow said, “I would like to thank UTAR for the opportunity given to join in the ACM ICPC contest. By participating in this contest, it strongly enhances my programming, algorithm and problem-solving skills, which are very useful for my studies in the future. Through the contest, I was exposed to different kinds of real-world problems and learnt different techniques and skills to solve given problems successfully and competently. It was really a fun and challenging experience for me.” He added, “I would like to extend my appreciation to our mentor, Dr Ng and also our team leader Lim. Only with their support and guidance, we were able to gain this victory.” He also advised and encouraged his juniors to participate in many competitions in order to equip themselves with right technical and practical skills.
Meanwhile, Lai also thanked Dr Ng and Lim for their guidance and support. He added, “I am really glad that I have been part of the team and this contest. It was indeed a great platform for me to sharpen my mathematical and algorithm knowledge through this contest. Thank you UTAR and FICT for giving me the platform to go further as a student.”
Organised by the Kulliyyah of ICT of IIUM, the ACM ICPC Malaysia al-Khawarizmi is a national level contest that aims to foster creativity, teamwork and innovation in building new software program as well as enables students to test their ability to perform under pressure.
A total of 13 universities from all over Malaysia took part in the contest. Apart from UTAR, the other institutions that participated were IIUM, Taylor’s University, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Kuala Lumpur, Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka, Universiti Teknologi MARA Shah Alam, Universiti Teknologi MARA Terengganu, Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Universiti Tenaga Nasional and UM.
拉曼大学 Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)