April 13, 2009 12:24 ET

Computer Geniuses Gather in Stockholm for the IBM-Sponsored ACM ICPC 'Battle of the Brains'

Students Race to Solve Real World Challenges at the World Finals of the International Collegiate Programming Contest

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN--(Marketwire - April 13, 2009) - The world's most talented and creative students of computer science and engineering will gather in Stockholm, Sweden on April 21 for what is affectionately known as the "Battle of the Brains," organized by the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), sponsored by IBM (NYSE: IBM) and hosted by KTH Royal Institute of Technology (KTH).

The 33rd World Finals of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) brings together the top 100 three-person teams from universities around the globe to build systems to solve a dozen problems modeled after real-world business challenges such as cracking complex password codes or re-architecting space plans. These problems are designed to challenge the students' problem-solving savvy and business acumen -- key skills sought after by global employers in the new information technology (IT) workforce.

Limited to only five hours, the teams need to exercise skills in a contest equal to a semester's worth of curriculum. The team that solves the most problems correctly in the least time will emerge as champions, earning scholarships, bragging rights and prizes from IBM, and greater visibility with potential employers like IBM itself.

"Our world gets smaller every day, requiring a highly-skilled, interconnected workforce with the flexibility to span time zones and cultures," said Doug Heintzman, Director of Strategy at IBM Software Group, and ICPC Sponsorship Executive. "The ICPC helps students enhance their critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration skills, while at the same time helping them embrace their roles as future global leaders."

To enhance the learning experience for ICPC participants, IBM has organized numerous opportunities for the students to learn about how technology is helping the world become more interconnected, instrumented and intelligent. Through technology demonstrations, seminars and collaboration with IBM's leading researchers, students will learn about running a smart city with automated technologies to reduce a city's traffic congestion and emission through road usage tolls, predicting and preventing service failures in railcars and other vehicles, managing drug diversion and theft, tracking food to ensure its safety and freshness, and the intersections between technology and creating a smarter planet.

More than 7,109 teams representing 1,838 universities from 88 countries competed in the fall Regionals competition this year, compared to 840 teams in 1997 when IBM first sponsored the competition. St. Petersburg University of Information Technology, Mechanics & Optics, the 2008 World Finals champions, will return to the 2009 Finals. To view the full list of teams, visit the ICPC website.

"A decade ago, the ICPC was international. Today, we are global. The IBM folks will do that to you," said ICPC Executive Director and Baylor University Professor, Dr. Bill Poucher. "Doug will be the first to tell you it's about the students. There is no question that they are talented. But, it takes more than that to be a World Finalist in the ICPC. It takes focus, dedication, and zest to take on a world-class challenge. It's the same in business. You want a smarter planet? You help make it happen. That's a whole lot easier when you team with ACM, the world's first scientific and educational IT society, and IBM, the first in everything else."

IBM's sponsorship in cooperation with leading IT Society ACM, ICPC World Headquarters at Baylor University, and 2009 World Finals Host KTH Royal Institute of Technology is just one of the company's many university-focused programs concentrating on open standards skills. For example, the IBM Academic Initiative offers colleges and universities a wide range of technology benefits including free access to IBM software, discounted hardware, course materials, training and curriculum development to better educate millions of students for a more competitive IT workforce.

In addition, during IBM's Extreme Blue global internship program, interns develop technology-based business plans for new products or services that address existing market challenges. Since 1999, more than 360 patent disclosures have been submitted from the Extreme Blue participants worldwide. Underscoring the high caliber of IBM's internship program participants, to date 31 of the United States applicants to Extreme Blue have identified themselves as ICPC contestants.

About the ACM ICPC

For more information about the ACM ICPC, visit ICPC headquarters Web site A podcast series "Battle of the Brains" is at RSS feeds are available. For IBM's insights, visit

About IBM

For more information on IBM software, please visit

About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field's challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession's collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.

EDITOR'S NOTE: To interview IBM representatives or participants in the contest, please contact Amanda Carl at (215) 790-4370 or (570) 236-4032. For high resolution images, please visit For the latest schedule of World Finals events in April, visit and click on Schedule.

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