UD teams finish in top 10 in ’battle of the brains’
UD Blue team members (seated from left): Ben Karel, Bill Lynch and Matt Grieder.
4:49 p.m., Nov. 26, 2007--Two University of Delaware teams comprised of undergraduate students in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences finished second and 10th recently in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Mid-Atlantic regional programming contest, held at Washington College, in Chestertown, Md.

Coaches for the three-member teams are Benjamin Breech, a doctoral candidate in the College of Arts and Sciences, and David Saunders, professor of mathematical sciences and professor and chairperson of the Department of Computer and Information Sciences.

The UD Blue team, comprised of seniors William Lynch, Matthew Grieder and Benjamin Karel, took first place at the Washington College site and second place overall in the Mid-Atlantic region.

The Gold team of seniors Joseph Rall and Magnus Jonsson and freshman Andrew D. Chester, solved three problems to finish second at the site and 10th in the region.

This year's contest had 139 teams from schools such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University and Virginia Tech competing at eight sites simultaneously, Breech said.

“The team from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill started the contest by submitting a problem solution 21 minutes into the contest. The UD Blue team shortly followed up with a submission that failed due to a technicality in the judges data,” Breech said. “While the UD Blue team rebounded quickly and corrected the error to gain their first correct solution at 34 minutes into the contest, the penalty for the failed solution allowed other teams to slip in ahead of them."

Breech said that the UD Gold team followed up with their first solution, and that, with one correct solution each, UD Blue was in 12th place while the Gold team was in 18th place at the 90-minute mark.

“Both UD teams worked furiously to solve more problems,” Breech said. “The UD Blue team got its second problem two hours into the contest, and would follow up with its third solution 45 minutes later to give them third place in the region.”

The Gold team added a second and third solved problem to take home second place at the site and earn them a 10th place ranking in the entire region, while the Blue team came up with its fourth solution.

UD Gold team members (seated from left): Joseph Rall, Magnus Jonsson, and Andrew Chester.
For its efforts, the UD Blue team would take home first place at the site and receive a plaque, which will be hung in the department office,
Breech said. By solving four problems the Blue team also took second overall in the region, a performance that should earn them a trip to Banff Springs in Alberta, Canada, to compete in the ACM World Finals, Breech said.

“The UD Gold and Blue teams are to be congratulated for their tour de force performance at this year's contest,” Breech said. “Having both team place in the top 10 is simply outstanding.”

Participating in the ACM competition not only helps to recruit team members, but also has resulted in a college course, CISC 367: Introduction to Parallel Programming, Breech said.

“UD has been involved in the ACM Mid-Atlantic regional contest for more than 10 years, and has often placed a team in the top 25 among competing schools,” Breech said. “During this time, the Department of Computer Information Sciences has organized its 'Unnamed' Internet programming contest as a tune-up for the ACM Mid-Atlantic regional contest.”

Saunders said that both teams are to be heartily congratulated for their phenomenal performance.

“UD beat Navy in football that Saturday afternoon, and at the same time our programming teams beat Navy handily and a host of others as well--a job very well done,” Saunders said. “Ben Breech's coaching helps immensely. His 'Unnamed' Internet contest, which he designs, manages and judges, serves as a very important practice for our teams and about 20 individuals from other colleges.”

Article by Jerry Rhodes
Photos courtesy of Austin Lobo