North American Invitational Programming Contest 2014

Left to right: Eric Rinkus, Jason Hiebel (coach), Tom Holmes, Ryan McNamara

The Michigan Technological University team of math major Ryan McNamara and computer science majors Eric Rinkus and Thomas Holmes took their programming skills to Chicago on March 26 and finished 10th out of 21 in the North American Invitational Programming Contest. They now move on to the world finals in Russia in June.

by Dennis Walikainen, senior content specialist

A Michigan Tech team of computer programmers took tenth place out of 21 teams at the North American Invitational Programming Contest 2014 in Chicago this weekend. The team of Eric Rinkus, Coach Jason Hiebel, Tom Holmes (CS) and Ryan McNamara (Math) solved five of 15 problems and finished ahead of Northwestern, Southern California, Virginia Tech Wisconsin-Madison and others.

“Above them were some of the best teams in North America: MIT, Stanford and Carnegie Mellon,” said Hiebel. “I’m proud of their performance. They did a fantastic job, and I think this was a good practice for the world finals in Russia [in June]. The entire team is graduating this year, and they will be missed. It will be hard to find a team with as much talent and dedication to take their place.”

In Marquette, a Michigan Tech team of Brandon Gafford, Taylor Scanlon, and Xin Zhang (CS) placed first in the 15th Annual NMU Invitational Programming Contest. In second place was the team of Adam Funkenbusch and Stuart Larsen (ECE). Additionally, Michigan Tech teams placed fourth, fifth, sixth, and eighth. The strong overall performance of the teams resulted in a first-place ranking for Michigan Tech, whose award was accepted by faculty coaches Laura Brown and Leo Ureel (CS).

They competed against 16 other teams from Northern Michigan University, Lake Superior State University and the College of St. Scholastica (Duluth). Teams worked over five hours on six programming problems.

In both competitions, the final ranking is determined by the number of problems that are completed correctly with ties broken by the number of minutes taken to solve the problems.

“The continued success of Michigan Tech teams has benefited greatly over the years from professor David Poplawski’s direction and creation of an elective course on competitive programming, CS1090,” said Brown.

View the final Chicago scoreboard. Additional information on the NMU programming competition is available here.

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