MACON – Mercer’s Binary Bears computer programming team captured first place in Division II of the North American Southeastern Regional International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC), hosted on the University’s Macon campus this past weekend.
The five-hour competition was held synchronously at five different sites in Alabama, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia. The competition was broken down into two divisions with each division having a separate problem set. Each team consisted of three students sharing one machine.
Mercer’s top team and the overall winner in Division II was Samantha Scholz, senior computer engineering major from Bonaire; Adam Steinberg, senior computer science and computer engineering double-major from Dahlonega; and Emily Wilbourn, senior computer science major from Jefferson. They correctly solved seven of the 12 problems from the set.
During the competition, each of the problems was color-coded with a balloon. When a team solved a problem correctly, that particular balloon was delivered, “creating a fun, competitive atmosphere for all the teams,” said Dr. Andy Digh, associate professor of computer science and faculty adviser to the Binary Bears.
Mercer’s top team took a lead that it wouldn’t relinquish late in the third hour of competition.
“Samantha, Adam, and Emily were successful in finding and solving the four easiest problems first, and then worked together well to tackle and correctly solve three of the more difficult problems,” said Dr. Digh.
Mercer had a total of 15 students competing on five different teams, with four of those finishing in the top 10 among 34 total teams.
In sixth overall with six problems solved was the team of Will Baglivio, senior computer science major from Marietta; Carter Rezac, senior computer science major from Senoia; and Peter Richardson, senior computer engineering major from Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Finishing ninth overall with five problems solved was the team of Erin Cargin, senior computer engineering major from Canton; Ethan Dorr, junior computer engineering major from Warner Robins; and Zaina Khutliwala, senior computer science major from Duluth.
In 10th overall with five problems solved was the team of senior computer science majors Gabe Bryant of Marietta, Ronald Karamuca of Acworth and Jacob Strader of McDonough.
Saturday marked the first time Mercer hosted an ICPC regional on its campus since 1994 and also coincided with the 15th anniversary of the 2007 Binary Bears competing in the World Finals in Tokyo, Japan.