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AUC Breaks Record and Named MENA Champs at Programming World Finals

The AUC's team of programmers are officially the best in the Middle East and North Africa after coming in first place in the regional leg of the International Collegiate Programming Contest.

The American University in Cairo have good reason to celebrate, as a team of three AUC students have been named the Africa and Middle East Champions at the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC).

The contest’s inception dates back to 1970 at the Texas A&M University. Its expansion as a multi-tier competition started in 1977, and only reached the Arab world in 1998. According to the ICPC, the contest “provides college students with opportunities to interact with students from other universities and to sharpen and demonstrate their problem-solving, programming, and teamwork skills. The contest provides a platform the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), industry, and academia to encourage and focus public attention on the next generation of computing professionals as they pursue excellence.”

This year’s World Finals was held in Morocco. Taking the top prize regionally was AUC’s team made up of senior student Hossam Samy, graduate Mohamed Ghoniem, graduating senior Islam El-Tayar, and coached by PhD candidate Mohamed Abdel Wahab. Not only was this team successful but they manage to break the regional record solving five problems, two more than then the previous record, securing the team a spot at the ACM ICPC world finals. Talking to albawaba, El-Tayar explains “In the finals, we are handed eight or more real-life problems to solve in five hours and to create a program for the computer to solve them. The winning teams are the ones that solve the most problems in the shortest time with fewer attempts.” 

A lot of the team’s success can be attributed to intensive training as the team has been preparing under the guidance of Abdel Wahab since 2011. In the finals AUC tied for the 64th position worldwide among the top 100 universities globally participating in the oldest and prestigious programming contest.

This is accomplishment is no small feat, and has opened many doors and provided a career path for the students looking to break into the industry. The challenge moving forward will be for Coach Abdel Wahab, who must train an entirely new team, as the rules stipulate that the winning team can’t participate twice in the world’s finals. However, if anyone can do it will be Coach Abdel Wahab, who managed to personally win the regional title in 2001, while working with Cairo University, and was named one of the best coach around the world by IBM.

Photo courtesy of ICPC. 


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