UWCSEA Dover students launch International Programming Contest
By Seojun Lee (Grade 10), Soumyaditya Choudhuri (Grade 11), Jishnu Roychoudhury (Grade 11), Dover Campus
“‘What in the world is competitive programming?’ tends to be the first reaction we get when we tell people about our hobby, usually followed by ‘that sounds incredibly boring.’”
Indeed, the idea of sitting down and solving complicated algorithmic puzzles for hours on end can deter many people from ever coming close to the challenging mind sport. For Seojun Lee, however, competitive programming is his passion: “The truth is, it only takes one contest to appreciate the beauty of problem-solving, and just two to get completely immersed in the satisfaction and joy that comes from it.”
On Saturday, 22 February, Soumyaditya Choudhuri and Jishnu Roychoudhury, leaders of the Computing Society at Dover Campus, organised a team selection test to pick the best programmers that could represent UWCSEA Dover in the National Olympiad in Informatics, with the help of Bumjun Kim, a former UWCSEA student now taking the IB Diploma in Germany.
Soon after the selection test, Seojun Lee (who had received first place in the school selection test) joined them in the final stages of preparing an online international contest with the same problem set. With the help of CodeChef, an international competitive programming platform, they were able to successfully hold the contest, dubbed the United World College Olympiad in Informatics (UWCOI).
The results were overwhelmingly positive. During the 3-hour contest, over 1,400 people participated, uploading nearly 10,000 code submissions in total. There was a diverse range of participants: some of the world’s best competitors to complete newcomers, adults to students -- all together representing 37 different countries and territories.
However, organising a large international contest is not without its challenges. When asked about the difficulties, Soumyaditya says, “Honestly, UWCOI was an experience with many ups and downs. The entire experience required coordinating CodeChef and our setting team, and we even had to fix some critical test data for one of the tasks with just hours left before the start of the contest.” Jishnu agrees: “Managing the event proved to be tricky as we had less time than we might have hoped for. However, it was very satisfying to see the positive response.”
For the team, the experience has been hugely rewarding. “Organising UWCOI is truly an experience like no other,” says Jishnu. “Seeing the number of participants pile up made me instantly forget the hours of preparation that was required to make it happen.” Soumyaditya adds, “I was proud that our team was able to pull off such a successful event with remarkable results, and I’d like to thank them once again for their hard work. Further, we would like to thank the Computer Science department at Dover Campus for providing us with immense support. Without them, it would not have been possible.”
“We are glad to have contributed back to the community that we owe a lot to, and hope to contribute even more over the coming years,” says Seojun. The team encourages all students interested to try out competitive programming, as they believe that it is one of the best ways to improve problem-solving skills. “And besides, it’s fun!”