Team CTU was the best among Czech universities at the first edition of the European Programming Championship

The first edition of the European Championship in Programming of the ICPC took place at the CTU in Prague. There were 52 teams from universities from all over Europe, 3 of them from the Czech Republic. The CTU was represented by a team of three students called caCTUs, including Jaroslav Urban (FIT CTU), Yasmine Briefs and Illia Kryvoviaz (both FEL CTU). caCTUs solved 6 problems out of 11 and took 25th place out of 52 teams, which was the best from the Czech Republic.

ICPC is the oldest, largest and most prestigious global programming competition for university students. Participating universities from all over the world, teams of three students representing their university work within a given time limit to solve algorithmic problems. The task of the teams at the European Championship was to work together on a single computer within a time limit of five hours to correctly solve as many programming problems as possible of from the 11 different difficult programming problems. This was done without the use of the internet and with the tasks being evaluated by an automated system.

“Behind every student's success in this competition are hundreds and perhaps thousands of hours of preparations and training. It's not just about knowledge of specific topics in mathematics or algorithms, it's also about the ability to quickly orient yourself in a given problem, formulate it precisely, typically in the language of mathematics, design the right algorithm and finally program it without any mistakes. And all this under pressure and with limited time,” says doc. RNDr. Tomáš Valla, Ph.D., which represents the teaching of competitive programming at FIT CTU. “The format of the ICPC competition allows only one computer for a team of three, so the key is to choose the right tactics, to have excellent team communication and a good estimate of how much time it will take to solve each task,” adds doc. Tomáš Valla.

At FIT CTU, the course Programming Practices (BI-ACM) is dedicated to competitive programming and is supervised by the Department of Theoretical Computer Science. The course connects practical knowledge of programming with mathematical and algorithmic knowledge. This knowledge is further extended in the area of advanced data structures and algorithms. Weekly practical preparations for competitions are mixed with lectures on interesting topics that are not covered in other courses at FIT CTU. The team of caCTUs, which is currently also involved in the preparation of this course, was originally formed from the BI-ACM course. Any of the students who want to participate in competitive programming or improve their programming skills can sign up for the BI-ACM course. 

How to participate in the ICPC competition? Every year a university contest CTU Open is organized for Czech universities. The best teams from the CTU Open reach the regional round, from which the top few teams pass directly to the world finals. In addition, this year the top 13 teams from each region qualified for the European Programming Championships, with a maximum of 2 teams from each university.

The person responsible for the content of this page: Bc. Veronika Dvořáková