Thursday, April 10, 2008

World Finals Over

The 32nd ACM ICPC World Finals have just recently been completed. The teams are all exhausted and taking a nap before the awards ceremony and final celebrations begin.

It started out with a surprise of eleven problems instead of the usual ten. Things got even stranger when the first problem was only solved after 31 minutes and that the first five solutions were for five different problems! Something that is very unusual for the world finals where they usually have one definite easy problem which can be solved in under 20 minutes.

Our team took some time to solve their first problem (problem F) after 124 minutes. The American University of Cairo (who we were competing with for the Africa and Middle East title) were close behind from early on by solving F in 137 minutes, but ran ahead after 169 minutes with problem K (although they had 4 wrong submissions). We then got K with just under an hour to go, but then soon after Cairo got B (with at least 2 wrong submissions -- scoreboard stopped updating in the last hour). With less than ten minutes to go I saw the white balloon for problem G slowly moving closer to our team's table. And that's the way it ended -- both teams on three each and neck-and-neck with time. I did a rough calculation and it seems we're less than 20 minutes apart so we'll have to wait until the awards ceremony to find out if we will retain the title for the 6th consecutive year (out of 6 appearances in the world finals!).

You can view the scoreboard from an hour before the end of the contest here and the problems here. At least one team got an 8th problem right at the end -- St. Petersburg Institute of Fine Mechanics and Optics. And at least the following seven teams got 7:

  • Izhevsk State Technical University
  • Lviv National University
  • MIT
  • Michigan State University
  • Stanford
  • Tsinghua University
  • University of Zagreb
The final results should be published on the ICPC website shortly after the awards ceremony. After the ceremony is the final celebration which is always kept a surprise until the very last moment and is usually the most awesome part of the week besides the contest itself.

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