Competition Day

May 20th, 2015 by Jason Long

All times are in Morocco, 5 hours ahead of Pennsylvania.

10:00AM- the ICPCLIVE.COM video stream is online.

10:22AM- the teams are entering the competition area.

10:30AM- Messiah College is on the floor, and taking their seats. They are at the close end of the central aisle, on the left.

Marcus, Nathan, and Zachary take their seats for the contest.

Marcus, Nathan, and Zachary take their seats for the contest.

10:46AM- they are making announcements. The contest will start in less than 15 minutes.

11:00AM- the competition has started. It will run for five hours. We will know if/when they solve any of the 13 problems, since this is posted to the scoreboard. But the team is not allowed to communicate with anyone, so we will otherwise not know how they’re doing.

Check out the problem set the teams are working on. There are thirteen problems; each correct solution is worth one point. Ties between teams are determined by how quickly the problems are solved.

11:30AM- Messiah College team has solved a problem, and earned a spot on the scoreboard. Problem A, regarded as a very easy problem, was the right problem to work on first!

12:30PM- Think you can code? Try your hand at these problems at home!

2:25PM- Messiah College team solves a second problem! Problems A and D have been solved by Messiah. Current standing is 113th of 128 teams.

4:00PM- Contest ended. Messiah College team solved two problems (earning two balloons). Final ranking to be revealed sometime in the next few hours.

4:30PM- Oops, one of our balloons has escaped us, and is now resting on the ceiling of the contest arena! Hope that doesn’t count against us ;-).

6:00PM- Final result for Messiah College: 117th place (out of 128 teams).

6:45PM- Final results (top twelve):

  1. St. Petersburg National Research University
  2. Moscow State University
  3. University of Tokyo
  4. Tsinghua University
  5. Peking University
  6. UC Berkeley (USA champion)
  7. University of Zagreb
  8. Charles University in Prague
  9. Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  10. MIT (USA runner-up)
  11. Korea University
  12. University of Warsaw

6:50PM- They just revealed that St. Petersburg NRU solved all thirteen problems during the contest. This is the first time this feat has ever been accomplished at a world finals.

Link to the problem set:

Pictures and info about the team:
2015 Team

World Finals – Day Two

May 19th, 2015 by Jason Long

Tuesday was the Dress Rehearsal. It was basically a practice contest, but it was important in the sense that it gave everyone an idea of what to expect tomorrow, where they needed to go, and what they were or were not allowed to take with them into the contest arena.

The dress rehearsal was a 2-hour contest featuring problems that were used in previous world finals contests. So the score didn’t matter. Messiah College got one problem correct, and the team wished they had more time to work on some of the other problems. But the point was to get used to the environment and work out any technical problems. It seemed to go smoothly.

The Messiah team is retiring early tonight to be well rested for the contest tomorrow. Follow along live at tomorrow morning, starting around 5:30 AM Pennsylvania time. Also, check out for photos and videos of the event being captured by the contest organizers.

Live stream – time correction

May 19th, 2015 by Jason Long

The live stream, available at ICPCLIVE.COM, will begin tomorrow morning at 5:00am Pennsylvania time (10:00am in Morocco). The contest itself will start sometime around 5:30am. This is a correction from what this website had previously claimed.

World Finals – Day One

May 18th, 2015 by Jason Long

The team safely arrived in Marrakech on Sunday. Exhausted, from the lengthy, overnight flight and the three hour layover in Casablanca. One piece of luggage unfortunately did not make it, for unknown reasons, but the airline was able to locate the missing suitcase and we got it at the hotel by the next morning. To top it off, there is a five hour timezone change to adjust to as well.

Monday started with a series of technology presentations by IBM, the contest sponsor. IBM is the sole contest sponsor, and that means they spend a lot of money, so it seems to be their prerogative to sell IBM as a cool place to work to these students from all over the world. The presentations were interesting, but it was more than two hours without a break, so it was tiring. After lunch the team had some free time so we availed ourselves of the boardgames in the hotel lounge. We played (and lost) a game of Pandemic.

Next came the ICPC Opening Ceremonies. In the opening ceremonies they announce that the World Finals is officially begun, but only after a long series of honorary awards and introductions by dignitaries.

Here the team sits at the Open Ceremonies.

Here the team sits at the Open Ceremonies.

After the Opening Ceremonies, they bussed everyone (700+ people) to the Chez Ali restaurant and entertainment complex where they fed us and entertained us with a rodeo-like show. There was music, horseback riding, dancing, and fireworks.

World Finals 2015 is starting

May 16th, 2015 by Jason Long

The 2015 world finals activities are starting today! Welcome to Morocco.
But our team members are graduating today! First things first: stay in Pennsylvania one more day to walk at graduation, then climb into a van and drive straight to the airport for an overnight flight to Morocco.

Join us over the next few days as Messiah College’s superstar programming team is pitted against the best of the best programming teams throughout the world. See the team’s schedule to see what’s going on when, and watch the team blog (this site) for updates! And, if you don’t mind disrupting your sleep, watch the competition live on the Internet early Wednesday morning!

Messiah College going to World Finals in Morocco!

December 16th, 2014 by Jason Long

As expected, because of our team’s great regional results we have been invited to compete in the World Finals, held in Marrakesh Morocco next May. The team listing has been posted and it looks like only 22 teams from the United States have made the cut, so this is a great honor for Messiah College, being listed among such computer science powerhouses as Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Stanford, and UC Berkeley.

The world finals are being held at the Palmeraie Resort in Marrakesh. This is a golf resort with a number of hotels, restaurants, and swimming pools. Unfortunately there will not be much free time for our students to enjoy the resort, as they will be following a pretty full schedule of activities. Mark your calendars now for the online live video stream of the contest. It will be in the early morning of May 20.

Although the World Finals has a corporate sponsor (IBM) that is paying for all team members’ food and lodging while at the competition, we still need to find a way to get the team there and back. Expected cost of the airplane tickets and incidentals for the team is around $6,000. If you or your company is willing to consider sponsoring Messiah College’s programming team to help us cover these costs, we would welcome that. You can donate online, any amount you care to, and your gift is tax-deductible. Just use this link:

Updated contest results put Falcons 1st overall!

November 12th, 2014 by Jason Long

The regional judges of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Programming Contest have posted a new “final” scoreboard for the contest, and the new scoreboard puts Messiah College Falcons-1 team in FIRST PLACE overall! Congratulations to Zach, Nathan, and Marcus on this fantastic update!

As mentioned in the last post, this contest was a large multiple-states contest with 60 schools represented. And Messiah College’s team did very well, but there was some question as to the final result because the judging system broke down with 19 minutes remaining in the contest. The judges promised they would try to recover the submissions made during those final minutes, but we had little hope of those final submissions changing the overall result. Well, here’s what the head judge communicated to us this morning:

“Over the subsequent days, our Regional Systems Administrator, Andrew Ray, worked closely with the PC^2 development team to recover the un-judged submissions from the various snapshots and redundancies in the PC^2 databases. We were ultimately able to [recover] 115 such submissions. We believe that these represent all of the submissions for which teams received a run confirmation receipt after clicking the submit button. It is possible that some teams attempted to submit after I ended the contest, or during periods when the server was down, but these would not have received a confirmation receipt. I have judged all of the recovered runs.   Those that were correct are reflected in the results shown above.”

With our team’s placement in 1st place, we are almost guaranteed an invite to the world finals, held this upcoming May in Morocco. This is a great opportunity for the three students on this team, and for Messiah College to be represented among these elite schools.

Falcons 1 wins ICPC site regional at Shippensburg

November 3rd, 2014 by Jason Long

On Saturday, November 1, 2014, nine students traveled to Shippensburg University to take part in the 2014 ACM Mid-Atlantic Regional Programming Contest. There were 24 teams from 9 different schools. Messiah’s first team, Falcons 1 (Nathan Chaney, Zachary Felix, and Marcus Upton) solved three of the eight problems, taking first place. The problem set was very difficult, with only seven teams solving any problems at all. Falcons 2 (Dan Baker, Taran King, and Yacoub Seyni) and Falcons 3 (Andrew Cameron, Steven Nicolais, and Kelly Schwiker) were among the 17 teams unable to solve any of the problems.

Falcons 1- Marcus Upton, Zachary Felix, Nathan Chaney

Among Messiah’s opponents were Dickinson College, Lebanon Valley College, Millersville University, Penn State Harrisburg, Shippensburg University and Swarthmore College. Special thanks to the Shippensburg University faculty and staff that helped run the contest at their site.

Falcons 3- Steven Nicolais, Kelly Schwiker, Andrew Cameron

Falcons 2- Dan Baker, Taran King, Yacoub Seyni

The contest was part of a larger, multi-state contest hosted by Radford University, with 188 teams from 60 schools competing. Among the large contest, our Falcons 1 team scored FOURTH place, which is really an incredible result, beating out some strong schools such as University of North Caroina, Duke, and Georgetown University. Our result may have been even better, but unfortunately submissions made in the last 19 minutes of the contest could not be judged due to technical problems at the remote judging site. Falcons 1 made multiple submissions during that time; if any of them had proved correct then Falcons 1 may have placed higher. Unfortunately, Radford University reports very low expectations of being able to fairly reconstruct the results.

Messiah Programming Team Takes First at Dickinson Competition

April 14th, 2014 by Scott Weaver

On Saturday, April 5th, 2014, two Messiah programming teams pitted their abilities against 18 other teams from eight other colleges and universities in the area. One of the teams, made up of Zach Felix, Taran King, and Nathan Chaney of Team F.R.O.G., took first place. The competition, scheduled from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, required teams to solve as many of the eight problems as possible. Team F.R.O.G. solved 7 of the eight while the second place team solved only 4. Team Abstract Class, made up of Marcus Upton, Chris Beam, and Yacoub Seyeni solved 2.

Another Fall, another ACM contest!

November 2nd, 2013 by Jason Long

On Saturday, November 2, 2013, six students took part in the 2013 ACM Mid-Atlantic Regional Programming Contest at Shippensburg University with 24 teams from 9 different schools. The Falcons Blue team, made up of Zachary Felix, Nathan Chaney and Dan Baker, took 1st place, solving 4 of the 8 problems. The Falcons White team, made up of Marcus Upton, Chris Beam and Taran King, took 12th place solving 1 problem.

Messiah was competing against schools well known to residents of central Pennsylvania. Shippensburg, Millersville, Gettysburg, Penn State Harrisburg, Kutztown, Elizabethtown, Dickinson, and Lebanon Valley College all fielded at least one team at the Shippensburg contest site.

Falcons Blue shows off their four balloons, representing four correct solutions.

The contest was part of a larger, multi-state contest hosted by Radford University, with 191 teams from 65 different schools competing. Among the large contest, the Falcons Blue team’s score earned them 13th place overall, falling short of the necessary top 3 needed to qualify for the World Finals. The Falcons White team’s score earned them 103rd overall.