From left to right: Ari Blondal, Shea Janke, Baiyu Li, Bobby Chan, Brandon Zhu, Rishi Vijay

SFU Computing Science Students Win Multiple Awards at 2021 ICPC Pacific Northwest Regional Contest

July 05, 2022

The SFU School of Computing Science had four student teams compete in the 2021 International Collegiate Program Pacific Northwest Regional Contest. Recently, the teams received their medals from the competition, rewarding three of the teams for their placements in Division 1 and Division 2. 

The contest included universities from British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Seattle, Hawaii, North Idaho and California. Over 140 student teams competed in the competition across the two divisions.

Team SFU_Lavendar came in 4th place in overall and 1st place in Canada in Division 1.

In Division 1, team SFU_Lavendar came in fourth place overall out of more than 50 Division 1 teams, finishing just behind teams from University of Washington, Stanford and UC Berkeley. They finished in first place in all of Canada. The team was comprised of undergraduate students Ari Blondal and Shea Janke, and master’s student Baiyu Li. 

“I’ve been working on these contests for a while and it feels very good to work so well together with my team and succeed,” says Blondal.

“I know that everybody put in many hours practicing for this. I think we’re doing it more because we enjoy solving the problems rather than getting medals in the competition,” says Janke.  

Also competing in Division 1 was team SFU_Azure, who finished 13th place overall and 4th place in Canada. The team was comprised of undergraduate students Bradley Saito, Hailey Ahn and George Shramko. 

Team SFU_Honeydew finished 2nd place overall and 1st place in Canada in Division 2.
Alex Wen also competed as part of team SFU_Honeydew.

In Division 2, team SFU_Honeydew finished 2nd place overall and 1st place in Canada. The team was comprised of undergraduate students Alex Wen, Brandon Zhu and Rishi Vijay. 

“We can definitely see the improvement that we made this year compared to last year. I think this year being able to work in-person rather than remotely helped us work better as a team,” says Vijay. 

Team SFU_Olive also competed in Division 2 and finished 7th overall and 3rd in Canada. The team was comprised of undergraduate students Charu Idnani, Bhakti Bhanushali and Saurabh Mishra Charu.

SFU computing science lecturer Bobby Chan has been involved in coaching the programming team since joining SFU in 2016. As part of his role, Chan handles the administrative work for the main programming contests, as well as helps set up smaller contests at SFU. 

“I've really enjoyed working with these students. After knowing them for several years, I've come to appreciate what great human beings they are; humble and quietly driven,” says Chan.

“I should also note that SFU computing science professor emeritus Binay Bhattacharya's passion for working with students in this capacity has been very inspiring.”

For finishing as one of the top teams in the region, team SFU_Lavender and Chan travelled to Orlando, Florida to compete in the North American Championship from May 26-31. 

“It was such an important competition. It was very exciting to meet and talk with students from other top universities,” says Li. 

“Our team is very competitive with other top schools in North America. We should be encouraged as a school,” says Chan.

“With a little faculty involvement and motivated students, we can continue to build this community of students. I don't see why we can't be competitive every year.”