UMD Clinches Championship at ICPC North American South Division

Graduate student Shayan Chashm Jahan and undergraduate students Colin Galen and Cheng-Yuan Lee advance to the North American Championship.
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A student team from the University of Maryland’s Department of Computer Science won the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) North American South Division championship on February 24, 2024, at John Hopkins University. The victory placed the group at the forefront of the competition, which saw participation from 138 teams across the Mid-Atlantic, South Central and Southeast regions, representing 55 universities. 

Representing UMD in the competition were graduate student Shayan Chashm Jahan and undergraduate students Colin Galen and Cheng-Yuan Lee. Guided by their coach, Professor Mohammad Hajiaghayi, and assistant coach Peyman Jabbarzade, the team is poised to excel at the North American Championship (NAC), which hosts 50 teams from the United States and Canada. The top three teams will advance to the World Finals.

“This win bodes well for our chances at NAC,” Galen said. “Our super-region covers about one-quarter of the teams going to the championship. Being able to beat them all means that if we can replicate this performance—or even surpass it—we can do very well going forward. Given that this was not our greatest performance, we should be able to do even better if we're in top shape. We could even surpass our performance from last year if we train hard enough.”

The championship featured teams from renowned institutions such as Georgia Tech, the University of Texas at Austin, Duke University, the University of Pennsylvania, Virginia Tech, and the University of Florida competing for the top spot.

“From the beginning, we were confident we could secure first place in the competition,” Jahan shared. “However, our performance has boosted our confidence even more. We hope to maintain this level of performance in our next competition.”

Building on its previous success in the 2023 ICPC North American Championship South Division, UMD's team demonstrated exceptional skill and coordination to win the championship again. 

“We aim to replicate our stellar NAC performance, secure a medal as we did last year, and advance to the World Finals,” shared Hajiaghayi, who holds the Jack and Rita G. Minker Professorship and a joint appointment in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies.

The university's second team also performed impressively, securing fifth place in the competition. In Division 2, where teams are not eligible to advance to the second round, another team from UMD achieved second place.

The ICPC, recognized as the oldest, largest and most prestigious programming competition globally, challenges college students to showcase their coding prowess, teamwork and capacity to work under pressure. With a storied history and a key role in fostering student innovation and creativity, the ICPC is a highlight in the academic year. The competition boasts an alumni network featuring notable individuals, including Google co-founder Sergey Brin, underscoring its significant influence on the professional paths of its participants.

—Story by Samuel Malede Zewdu, CS Communications 

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