Sunday, November 13, 2005

mortal kombat!

This Saturday was the ACM Regional Programming Compeition. Drexel sent two teams to compete against over 150 others. My team placed 28th in the region, which is very competitive. The other team from Drexel placed 6th overall, making Drexel 4th in the region. As in years past, Drexel was the top team from Philadelphia, beating Temple, Penn and St. Joseph's.

My team this year was the Komodo Dragons. From left in our uniforms is David Wilkie, Bill Morgan and me, Joshua Karstendick. (Click for the full-size image.)

Teams were given a color-coded balloon for each problem solved. At far right are my team's two balloons representing the two problems we successfully solved. Also at far right are my beatiful curly black locks.

Photos by our advisor, Prof. Jeffrey Popyack. The following is a write-up by him:

Drexel's teams, Flaming Yawns consisted of senior computer science major Craig Schroeder, senior Physics major Hal Finkel, and junior computer science major Joshua Shaffer. The Komodo Dragons were junior computer science majors David Wilkie and Bill Morgan and pre-junior dual mathematics/computer science major Joshua Karstendick.

Teams were competing for the chance to advance to the World Finals, to be held in San Antonio, TX on April 12, 2006.

There were 154 teams representing 76 schools at 9 remote sites: Christopher Newport University, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, Marymount University, Radford University, Shippensburg University, University of Virginia, Washington College, and Wilkes University.

There were 8 problems.

The contest started on time, unaffected by operational difficulties that have often plagued the multi-site setup.

The first problem was simple, with most teams realizing it and attacking it quickly. By the time Drexel's Flaming Yawns submitted a solution at the 18 minute mark, they were in a three-way tie for fourth place, with Duke and Lafayette. Delaware and two Virginia Tech teams held the first three spots, with solutions in 12-13 minutes each. Drexel's Komodo Dragons posted a solution at the 24-minute mark, grabbing a share of 16th place.

Duke took the lead with a second problem solved at the 32 minute mark, giving it 50 penalty minutes. Virginia Tech claimed the lead with a second solution at 35 minutes, giving it 47 minutes. Both teams solved Problem C. A second submission by the other Virginia Tech team, made at the 23 minute mark, was eventually judged correct, giving them the lead with 36 minutes. North Carolina solved its second problem at the 45 minute mark, giving it 65 penalty minutes. Penn State solved a second problem (65 min) followed by UNC Charlotte (74 min). Maryland solved its second (107 min) and a third Va Tech team solved its second after 4 attempts, giving it 163 penalty minutes.

By the 80 minute mark, Virginia Tech, UNC Charlotte, and Maryland had solved their third problems.

Maryland solved a fourth problem at the 106 minute mark, claiming first place.

The Flaming Yawns submitted an attempt of problem E at the 1:45 mark, which was judged unsuccessful. They were the only team to have attempted Problem E at that point. They solved problem C at th 1:54 mark, to climb back into the competition at 11th place. Virginia Tech reclaimed the lead at the 2:09 mark with its fourth solution and increase their lead by posting a fifth solution at the 2:30 mark.

The Flaming Yawns moved up to 9th place with its third solution at the 2:27 mark. There were 6 other teams with 3 problems solved at that point. A second Duke team got their third solution 9 minutes later and moved into 10th place. Virginia Tech 3 got their fourth solution at the 2:35 mark and moved to third. They were the first team to solve Problem E. Penn State claimed third place with their fourth solution at the 2:47 mark.

The Komodo Dragons solved their second problem at the 2:58 mark to retain their standing in the top 25.

Maryland solved their fifth problem at the 3:08 mark.

The Flaming Yawns crept into 7th place by solving Problem E on their third attempt at the 3:23 mark. They were the second team to solve it. At this point, they had 4 solutions and the 6 teams ahead of them included 3 from Virginia Tech. This meant they were the 5th university overall, in definite contention for a trip to the World Finals. To do this, they would need to solve a 5th and most likely a 6th problem. A fifth solution seemed very likely, as the scoreboard showed 25 teams with solutions to Problem D, which they had not yet attempted. Problems G and H had been solved by only 3 and 6 teams, respectively, and no team had attempted Problem B.

Maryland solved their 6th problem at the 3:32 mark.

As is the usual custom, the scoreboard was turned off at the 4 hour
mark, so that the final standings would not be known until announced at the post-contest dinner.

The Flaming Yawns solved a fifth problem during the final hour, and Maryland, which was also at the Johns Hopkins site, solved a seventh
problem. As the dinner ended, the judges still did not have final standings available.

The final standings show that by solving their fifth problem, the Flaming Yawns passed Penn State to finish 6th overall, behind Maryland, 3 Virginia Tech teams and Duke. Thus, Drexel is the fourth school overall, and it depends on how many teams will go from this region, but there is a good chance you have advanced to the Finals. Let's keep our fingers crossed!!! Penn State solved 4 problems.

Other participating schools of note were: American, Bucknell, Dickinson, Drexel, Duke, George Mason, James Madison, Johns Hopkins, Lafayette, North Carolina State, Penn State, Rowan, Saint Joseph's, Scranton, Shippensburg, Swarthmore, Temple, Delaware, UMBC, Maryland, North Carolina, Richmond, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia, William & Mary.

Friday, while waiting to leave for Baltimore to compete at Johns Hopkins, I noticed that a picture of me is on the Computer Science Department's promotional posters and fliers, demonstrating Drexel's competitive programming team.

For complete rankings for our region, listing all the teams Drexel beat this year, visit the ICPC Scoreboard.


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