April 09, 2008 21:39 ET

Students From St. Petersburg University of IT, Mechanics and Optics Win 32nd Annual Global "Battle of the Brains" Software Programming Contest, Sponsored by IBM

BANFF, AB and ARMONK, NY--(Marketwire - April 9, 2008) - Students from St. Petersburg University of IT, Mechanics and Optics in Russia are this year's world champions in the 32nd annual Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC), sponsored by IBM (NYSE: IBM).

Also known as "The Battle of the Brains," the competition in Banff, Alberta, Canada challenged students to solve a semester's worth of computer programming problems -- modeled on real-world business challenges -- in just five hours. The first place team brings home IBM prizes, scholarships, and bragging rights to the "world's smartest" trophy.

Each team of three students was faced with solving 11 computer programming problems. St. Petersburg University of IT, Mechanics and Optics solved eight. Students were challenged to develop software code to determine the length of a city skyline, map the size and capacity of a new building design, and provide support for an embedded neural network for cell phones. More than 6,700 teams representing 1,821 universities from 83 countries competed in the fall Regionals competition this year, compared to 840 teams who competed in 1997 when IBM first sponsored.

"The emergence of the global economy is creating a highly skilled, interconnected workforce that spans time zones and cultures," said Doug Heintzman, Director of Strategy, Lotus Software, IBM Software Group, and ICPC Sponsorship Executive. "The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest provides university students from all corners of the world with the opportunity to grow their critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration skills, helping them prepare to become the next-generation of global leaders. We're proud to give such talented and creative students a forum to come together in the spirit of competition to showcase their programming and problem-solving acumen -- skills which employers demand."

He added, "I'd like to thank this year's host school, University of Alberta, for their hard work in helping support IBM and ICPC to put together another memorable World Finals."

While in Banff, students also had the opportunity to experience many of the emerging technologies they hope will play a role in their careers -- whether it is designing an instant translation device to enable people of different languages to overcome language barriers; helping commuters get to work faster through burgeoning mass transit systems; or protecting consumers from theft.

"These superstars will extend society's ability to address challenges, strengthen and improve the world of tomorrow," said Dr. Bill Poucher, ICPC Executive Director and Baylor University Professor. "They are team players who will make a difference by enhancing the avenues we use to interact with each other."

Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States of America, Izhevsk State Technical University in Russia and Lviv National University in Ukraine finished the competition in second, third, and fourth places, respectively, and all won Gold medals. Regional champions included: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (North America Region); St. Petersburg University of IT, Mechanics and Optics (Europe Region); University of Cape Town (Africa and the Middle East Region); Universidad de Buenos Aires (Latin America Region); Tsinghua University (Asia Region); and University of Auckland (South Pacific Region).

This year's top twelve teams that received medals are:

--  St. Petersburg University of IT, Mechanics and Optics (GOLD, WORLD
--  Massachusetts Institute of Technology (GOLD, 2nd Place)
--  Izhevsk State Technical University (GOLD, 3rd Place)
--  Lviv National University (GOLD, 4th Place)
--  Moscow State University (SILVER, 5th Place)
--  Tsinghua University, (SILVER, 6th Place)
--  Stanford University, (SILVER, 7th Place)
--  University of Zagreb, (SILVER, 8th Place)
--  University of Waterloo, (BRONZE, 9th Place)
--  Petrozavodsk State University, (BRONZE, 10th Place)
--  St. Petersburg University, (BRONZE, 11th Place)
--  Belarusian State University, (BRONZE, 12th Place)

The teams were awarded medals based on the number of problems they solved in the shortest amount of time during the competition.

ACM-ICPC is a global event that seeks to identify, develop and connect a new generation of information technology talent. For more information on the ACM-ICPC, including downloadable photographs, and the complete World Finals roster and final standings, visit the contest Web site at The 2009 World Finals, sponsored by IBM, will take place in Stockholm, Sweden, and will be hosted by KTH - The Royal Institute of Technology.

For additional information or to listen to IBM's podcast series for students and coaches, visit RSS feeds are also available.

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