Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q), a Qatar Foundation partner, hosted the first International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) in Qatar.
Ten teams of university students in Qatar participated in the online event, including students from College of the North Atlantic in Qatar, Qatar University, and CMU-Q.
ICPC is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious programming contest in the world. National ICPC competitions are held around the globe, with the winners advancing to regional competitions, and ultimately the ICPC World Finals.
Khaled Harras, area head for the computer science programme and a teaching professor of computer science at CMU-Q, noted, “Competitions like these simulate a full cycle of solving a practical problem, but at a small scale. In my mind, they offer an opportunity to integrate what students have learned in different courses, all within a single setting.”
CMU-Q co-organisers Giselle Reis and Eduardo Feo Flushing have been working to bring the competition to Qatar for nearly two years, but with the pandemic gathering restrictions, January 2021 was the first opportunity to host the event.
Reis, who is an assistant teaching professor of computer science at CMU-Q, noted, “Our teams used to travel to Oman as ‘unofficial participants’ in their national competition; even if our teams won, they couldn’t replace an Omani team at regionals. Now, Qatar computer science students can participate fully and officially represent Qatar at regionals.”
The first national contest, which was held online, was hotly contested. Eventually two top teams emerged, both from CMU-Q. The students on the winning team are Mohamed al-Jawaheri, Igli Mlloja, and Abubakr Mohamed. The second place team includes Stefan Baumann, Eui Suh (John) Jeong and Radu Revutchi.
Both teams will advance to the African-Arab regionals in March, representing Qatar.