Student coders from Russia beat China and United States to win ‘programming world championship’

Russian students from St. Petersburg State University won the IBM-sponsored ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC), beating 128 teams to win the “programming world championship.” Russian students have managed to bag the world coding title for the fifth straight year.

In the competition’s final stage, which took place this year in Thailand, the coding-savvy students from St Petersburg beat their peers from China’s Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Harvard and fellow Russians students from the Moscow Institute of Physics & Technology (MIPT).

The St. Petersburg team of Stanislav Ershov, Igor Pyshkin and Alexey Gordeev managed to solve 11 coding problems out of 12 within a five-hour timeframe.

The Russian team was sponsored by VK, the Russian equivalent of Facebook. It received tutoring from Andrey Lopatin, a programmer with VK, who himself is a part of the team which won in 2000 and 2001 and as a coach in 2014 and 2016.

In total, five Russian teams were awarded medals at the event. MIPT finished fourth and received a gold medal along with Shanghai Jiao Tong University (2nd) and Harvard University (3rd). Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were placed 6th, ahead of St. Petersburg ITMO University (7th) and Ural Federal University (8th).

Another Russian university, the Nizhny Novgorod State University, won a bronze medal, rounding out the top 10.

As ICPC is a team competition, each team is provided with only one computer to complete all the tasks, meaning that the coordination of efforts within a team plays an essential role.

To enter the competition, participants must be students with less than five years of university education completed. They form three-member teams and are required to compete at regional stages before advancing to the world finals, which are held at various locations each year.

This year’s finals were hosted by the Prince of Songkla University in Phuket, Thailand, which saw more than 1,400 aspiring programmers from 40 countries participate at the rigorous trials to become world champions.