International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Hyderabad students' team, mobius_treap, has made it to the Association for Computing Machinery - International Collegiate Programming Contest (ACM-ICPC) World Finals, which is considered to be the Olympics of computer programming competitions.
While around 2,736 universities from over 102 countries participated in the event, only a few teams reach the prestigious ACM-ICPC World Finals. This year, it is being held at Rapid City, South Dakota, USA from May 20-25.
The IIIT Hyderabad team—mobius_treap— comprises of Rajas, Tanuj and Sriram. The talented trio is tutored by Professor Venkatesh Chopella and earlier this year, they managed to top the ACM-ICPC league finals in India, beating several top-tier universities including Indian Institute of Technology colleges.
Here's a Q&A chat with the team Mobius Treap and their coach:
What made you participate in the competition?
Team Mobius Treap: All of us are interested in algorithmic programming and participate regularly in online programming competitions on codechef and codeforces. As ACM ICPC is the oldest and most renowned programming competition and IIIT has been sending teams for ICPC World Finals consistently, we thought of participating in the competition.
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What are the challenges of the competition and how did you prepare for it?
Team Mobius Treap: The contest consists of solving algorithmically challenging problems. To solve the problems, one requires a thorough knowledge of algorithms, mathematics and analytical thinking. We prepared for it by participating in many 5-hour practice contests to get used to the contest environment and improve team coordination.
How many other teams from India have qualified for the finals?
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Team Mobius Treap: Eight teams from India have qualified for the finals. Some of the other teams include: Team FacelessMen from IIT Kanpur, Team Rocket from IIT Bombay, Team DAFruitSalad from DAIICT Gandhinagar, Team ThirdFloor from CMI, Chennai. We are the only team from Telangana that has made it to the finals.
How are you preparing for finals?
Team Mobius Treap: We are practicing previous world finals contest tasks and also focusing on learning new topics and covering more theory. Along with this, we are also participating in other harder training contests available online.
How has your coach Prof Choppella helped to prepare the team for the competition?
Team Mobius Treap: We received valuable inputs from Prof. Choppella and he has always been very prompt in helping us whenever required. He was also very helpful in providing institutional and administrative support.
Team's thoughts on the finals
Team Mobius Treap: No Indian team has ever won this competition. The top ranks have always been dominated by Russians. The best ever performance by an Indian team was rank 18, our goal will be to get a rank better than that.
Takeaways from the rounds so far?
Team Mobius Treap: In the past rounds, we have realized that we are weak in certain topics and are trying to rectify that by upsolving the unsolved problems after the contest. We are trying to minimize such errors. Secondly, we also need to improve a bit on our time management and make sure we don't get stuck on a certain problem and waste our time. Trying out all problems during the contest is very important.
We wish them the very best for the ACM-ICPC World Finals and bring laurels to India.