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Photo: Michelle Park

Student Life

We Are the Champions
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Four-peat: USC Viterbi computer science students prevail in showdown of the region’s greatest wizards of C++ and Java.

“In what was the championship competition, the USC Viterbi CS student team won the equivalent of the Pac-12 South competition and was crowned the champion for the fourth straight year.” Yannis C. Yortsos, dean, USC Viterbi School of Engineering

For the fourth consecutive year, USC Viterbi engineering students walked away with the grand prize in the fiercely competitive Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest (ACM ICPC).

Eighty-six teams from 25 universities and community colleges attended the Nov. 8 Southern California Regional tournament, held at Riverside Community College. UCLA placed second, while Caltech took home the bronze. Competitors also included Harvey Mudd College, UC Santa Barbara and UC San Diego.

The triumphant Trojan team featured USC Viterbi student programmers Ruixin Qiang, Gaoyuan Chen and Xinpei Yu. The five-hour battle of logic, algorithms and mental endurance has historically been a proving ground for many of Google’s and Facebook’s best programmers.
Participants had to answer a series of questions as quickly as possible within five hours, writing in C++ and Java to process spreadsheets and solve mathematical puzzles.

As the champions, the Trojans advance to the International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals that will take place May 16–21 in Morocco.

“The world finals in Morocco will be very intense,” said Yu Cheng, a team coach and USC Viterbi Ph.D. candidate. “There will be about 120 teams from all over the world competing together. In the past three years, USC ranked 36th, 14th and 19th in this contest. We always want to do better than last year and keep raising the bar.”