UMD Computer Science Team Wins Bronze at ICPC North America Championship

Colin Galen, Shayan Chashm Jahan and Cheng-Yuan Lee advance to the ICPC World Finals, which will be held in Kazakhstan in September 2024. 

A student team from the University of Maryland's Department of Computer Science has earned a bronze medal at the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) North America Championship (NAC). The contest, held on May 27 and hosted by the University of Central Florida, featured 50 teams from universities across the United States and Canada. The top 17 teams advanced to the World Finals, which will take place in Kazakhstan in September 2024.

Graduate student Shayan Chashm Jahan and undergraduate students Colin Galen and Cheng-Yuan Lee represented UMD in the competition. Under the guidance of their coach, Computer Science Professor Mohammad Hajiaghayi, the students showcased their exceptional problem-solving abilities and teamwork throughout the contest. This marks the eleventh time that UMD has participated in the World Finals since 1999.

"Winning a medal in the North American Championship and qualifying for the World Finals is an honor, placing us among the top six universities in the U.S. and Canada," Jahan said. "This achievement shows the high standards of UMD. We are determined to achieve the university's first-ever ICPC medal at the World Finals."

This year, the UMD team secured a notable sixth place, surpassing several prestigious institutions, including Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, Cornell University, Princeton University, Harvard University, University of Michigan, University of Washington and University of Texas at Austin.

"UMD persistently getting medals and beating top universities simply shows the great talents we have here," said 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 NAC is a significant event in the academic calendar, often regarded as the programming equivalent of the Putnam competition in mathematics. As the coach, I am very proud to work with such great students and talents."

The same team won the ICPC North American South Division championship on February 24, 2024, at Johns Hopkins University. This victory was against 138 teams from 55 universities across the Mid-Atlantic, South Central and Southeast regions.   

"Our recent achievements in competitive programming, notably winning the ICPC, mark a significant revival of this discipline at the University of Maryland," Lee said. "We've also founded a club and developed an STIC (Student-Initiated Course) dedicated to competitive programming, which has drawn increasing student participation. This surge in involvement not only enhances the algorithmic skills of our students but also sets a robust foundation for future UMD ICPC teams, ensuring ongoing excellence and competitiveness in the field."

The ICPC is a global algorithmic programming contest for college students organized by the ICPC Foundation. It provides a platform for students to showcase their programming skills and problem-solving abilities. The contest emphasizes the importance of teamwork and innovation in developing software solutions and is designed to foster creativity, teamwork, innovation and the ability to perform under pressure. 

The competition is recognized as the oldest, largest and most prestigious programming contest in the world, with over 320,000 ICPC alumni, including 58,973 students from 3,407 universities in 104 countries in the last year.

—Story by Samuel Malede Zewdu, CS Communications 

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