16 November 2017 – Computer Science students Phan Duc Nhat Minh, Vu Dinh Quang Dat and Le Xuan Manh won first place at the 2017 ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) Asia Jakarta Regional Contest, held in Bina Nusantara (BINUS) University from 10th to 13th November this year.

Team DomiNUS beat 79 other teams to clinch first place, while five other NUS Computing teams also performed well at the contest, placing in five of the top 15 positions.

The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) is an annual multi-tiered programming competition among universities across the globe. Participation has grown to several tens of thousands of contestants from over 80 countries. It is the oldest, largest and most prestigious programming contest in the world.

Team DomiNUS, along with other regional winners from around the world, will advance to the 2018 ACM-ICPC World Finals, happening in April next year in Beijing, China.

This is the fourth time Computing students have won first place at the ICPC Jakarta regional contest in the last five years.

In the Jakarta competition, competitors from Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Philippines, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore compete to solve 12 algorithmic problems that test their math, software programming and problem-solving skills.

Despite having a faulty mouse, which made switching and submitting their solutions more difficult, according to team member Dat Vu, DomiNUS’ winning formula was their unstoppable fighting spirit.

“We started off well, solving the first problem at the first five minutes of the contest. However, during the next three hours, we only managed to solve two more problems, with a lot of failed submissions,” said Dat.

Ranking only among the top 30 at the third hour, and with the leading team having solved seven problems, the team were discontented with their performance. Despite their disappointment, the team chose not to give up. “We found ways to fix our problems and solved a total of eight problems, with 50 minutes to spare,” Dat added.

“When we saw that only one other team could beat us, we quickly read the remaining problems and started implementing solutions. At times, we thought we would not be able to finish, but we kept on trying.”

Their last solution was submitted with only approximately five seconds left on the clock. “We kept pressing the reload button to check the status of our submission. When the word ‘Correct’ appeared for our last submission, we celebrated and immediately ran out of the room to tell Dr Steven the news,” Dat said.


NUS Teams with Steven HalimThe six NUS ICPC teams (Pandamiao, BubbleTeaM, DomiNUS, 3Freshmen, 3body and Pikachu) with Dr Steven Halim

According to NUS Team Coach Dr Steven Halim, three NUS teams were leading at different points of the 5-hour competition, battling it out in a close fight.

“Team Pikachu was the early leader, but Team 3body took over and stayed as NUS’ top team till the fourth hour. That was when Team DomiNUS showed their strength by solving three problems in the last hour, solving a total of nine problems,” said Dr Halim.

Team 3body, NUS Computing’s second best performing team, and fifth best team overall, solved seven problems during the contest. The team was consistently among the top six of the leaderboard, but faced difficulties solving the remaining problems in the last hour.

“Despite all the bugs in the last hour, we were still pretty content with our overall performance,” said Team 3body.

NUS Computing’s participation in the 2017 ACM ICPC Asia Jakarta Regional Contest was generously supported by Sea, Indeed Tokyo, Google and Jump Trading.