The University of Chicago News Office
March 12, 2002 Press Contact: Steve Koppes
(773) 702-8366

University of Chicago computer team heads for Hawaii March 20-24 to compete in ‘Battle of the Brains’

University of Chicago students will complete a semester’s worth of computer programming in one afternoon during the 26th Annual World Finals of the Association for Computing Machinery’s International Collegiate Programming Contest March 20 to 24 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The IBM-sponsored contest, a worldwide competition established more than 30 years ago, gathers the world’s brightest computer "jocks" for an all-out "battle of the brains." This year’s preliminary contests drew more than 17,000 participants in 3,082 teams from 67 countries on six continents.

The University of Chicago team, called the Flaming Phoenixes, will compete against 63 other teams in the World Finals. The team earned the right to compete in Honolulu by placing second among 100 teams from 54 universities in the ACM’s Mid-Central USA regional programming contest last November.

The Flaming Phoenixes consists of Ivona Bezakova, a doctoral student in computer science; Sonya Cates, a third-year in computer science; and Aquinas Hobor, also a third-year in computer science. The team adviser is Michael O’Donnell, Professor in Computer Science.

The contest pits teams of three university students against eight or more complex, real-world problems, with a grueling five-hour deadline. Huddled around a single computer, competitors race against the clock in a battle of logic, strategy and mental endurance. Teammates collaborate to rank the difficulty of the problems, deduce the requirements, design test beds, and build software systems that solve the problems under the intense scrutiny of expert judges.

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Last modified at 03:44 PM CST on Tuesday, March 12, 2002.

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