Participating in and representing India in the finals of World programming contests is second nature for the students at IIIT-Hyderabad. This year has been no exception with the team TooWeakTooSlow topping the regional finals of the ACM-ICPC (Association of Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest) to represent India at the 2018 ACM-ICPC World Finals.
This year’s World Championship round is being hosted by Peking University – which will be conducted on 19 April, 2018 in Beijing, China. Touted as the “Olympics of Programming”, the hugely popular Battle of Brains pits teams of 3 university students against 8 or more real-world problems within a 5-hour deadline which will test their logic, teamwork strategy and mental endurance. Upto 135 teams from over the world are typically invited for the finals.
The TooWeakTooSlow team comprising of Tanuj Khattar, C. G. Vedant, and Rajas Vanjape, all 4th year CSE/CSD students, has consistently won the regional onsite as well as online rounds ranking as the number one team across India. The other Indian teams to advance to the finals are from IITs – Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras, Patna, Rourkee and IIIT- Bangalore. According to the ICPC website, this year 46,381 contestants from 2,948 universities in 103 countries competed in regional competitions at over 530 sites worldwide.
Second Time Lucky?
Crediting their faculty advisor Prof. Saswata Shannigrahi for his guidance and teaching algorithms specifically for ICPC problems, the young men assert that “the performance of the institute at the regional level has been better than the last 2-3 years with our juniors also performing well at the regionals”. Admittedly the team carries not just expertise and experience, with Tanuj and Rajas having made it to the finals of the ICPC last year as well, but a lot of pressure too. “But this pressure is what pushes us to practice and improve”, quips Tanuj.
When asked about their preparedness for the European competition they are up against, the team admits that finalists from the other countries have an edge in that they are exposed to computational thinking from an early age. However, they hasten to add that at IIIT-H, unlike other Indian technological universities, one is introduced to the programming culture and encouraged to participate in competitive programming from the first year onwards. This, along with the guidance from seniors plays an important role in the institute’s winning streak, the team avers. Revealing their philosophical side, the team says that while they have not stopped practising hard, they’re going about it minus expectations. “We are much less worried about the final result and are just trying to enjoy our journey to the fullest.”
All the best TooWeakTooSlow we’re all rooting for you!