The International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) brings together many of the finest computer science, engineering and mathematics students from leading universities all over the world.

The South Pacific ICPC Preliminary Contest, held on Sunday 3 September, is open to student teams from all universities in the South Pacific. The top teams are invited to the Regional Finals in Sydney, where they compete to qualify to the ICPC World Finals.

Around 200 UNSW students took part in the preliminary round, making up 71 teams. This marked a significant increase from the previous editions, with 46 teams competing in 2022, 28 teams in 2021 and 11-14 teams from 2018 to 2020. The students had a great time and enjoyed solving some challenging problems together.

In the competition, teams of three compete to design and implement algorithms for a variety of challenging problems within five hours. This requires not only expertise in algorithms and programming, but also creative thinking and the ability to solve problems and code accurately under time pressure. Furthermore, the three team members traditionally use only one computer, so it is crucial that the participants communicate well in order to efficiently allocate the use of the keyboard.

The contest was split into level A for more experienced competitors looking to qualify to the Regional Finals, and level B for beginners.

“I am proud to report that UNSW won both divisions, re-confirming our status as the leading institution for Computer Science in the region,” said Raveen de Silva from UNSW School of Computer Science and Engineering.

Hell Hunt again? won the first place by finishing the entire problem set with almost a full hour to spare, despite experiencing serious technical difficulties in the second and third hours of the contest. They were the only team to solve the difficult computational geometry problem C. Sound Goods!, who placed third, also showed excellent resilience to recover after inadvertently losing the entire solution to problem H.

Both of these teams earned places at the Regional Finals, which will be held at UNSW on 1st October. There they will compete with ten other teams from across the region to earn a place at the 48th ICPC World Finals, to be held in September 2024 in Astana, Kazakhstan.

In Level B, "MooChirpMrrp" composed of Ryan Shi, Tuan Hung Pham, and Ken Li, took the top spot by solving nine out of twelve problems, finishing ahead of teams from UniMelb and Monash based on time penalty. With just seven minutes to go, they got their solution to problem H accepted on their seventh attempt.

Team MooChirpMrrp

UNSW's success in the South Pacific ICPC Preliminary Contest underscores the commitment to nurturing talent in the field of computer science and programming. With eyes now set on the Regional Finals and the ultimate goal of the ICPC World Finals, UNSW continues to raise the bar in competitive programming.

A total of 134 teams competed in the competition. UNSW’s top teams placed as follows:

Level A

1st: Hell Hunt again? (Tsingying Xu, Joseph Luo, Tao He)
3rd: Sound Goods! (Isaiah Iliffe, Zhi Yuan Qi, Ryan Ong)
9th: ctrl-alt-defeat (Laeeque Jamdar, Van Nam Duong, Oden Petersen)
11th: happy_applesaurus (Jordan Huang, Haibing Wang, Jason Liu)
13th: CBT (Anish Saraogi, Ethan Loi, Belgutei Byambadorj)

Honourable mentions to Optimal Brain Damage (Kevin Zhu, Nathan Lee, Jeffrey Yang) and UNSW Lorikeets (Derek Xu, Nishant Jha, Ali Almasbah).

Level B

1st: MooChirpMrrp (Ryan Shi, Tuan Hung Pham, Ken Li)
4th: Not Even Trie-ing (Stephen Chuang, Yiwei Qi, Michael He)
5th: chicken extinction (Larissa Yip, Owen Ni, Frank Zhang)
6th: UNSW Taipans (Blake Morris, Charran Kethees, Carl Buchanan)

Honourable mention to Yes I was in the chess club (Kobi Beckett).