RAPID CITY, S.D. (Feb. 1, 2016) – The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology has advanced to the World Finals of the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) to be held in Phuket, Thailand, in May. With only 25 teams nationwide invited, SD Mines will be in rare company to compete alongside universities such as Cal Tech, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Harvard, MIT and Stanford in what is known as the Olympics of Computer Science.
It is the sixth time SD Mines will have represented the U.S. at the World Finals. In all this year, just 2 percent of the more than 1,000 teams competing nationwide were invited to Thailand.
This year’s World Finals team from South Dakota Mines is comprised of Rachel Krohn, Daniel Andrus and Matt Dyke. Krohn, a graduate student in the Computational Sciences & Robotics program from Littleton, Colo., is the first female from SD Mines to qualify and the second female ever from the North Central Region, the largest in the United States. Andrus, a senior computer science major from Spearfish, S.D., will graduate in May and immediately start work at Google. Dyke is a junior computer science major from Sioux Falls, S.D.
No other university Mines’ size has qualified for the World Finals six times, according to advisor Edward Corwin, Ph.D. He and Antonette Logar, Ph.D., were honored in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2013 with a lifetime achievement award for taking five teams to the finals. Corwin, Logar, Larry Pyeatt, Ph.D., and Roger Schrader coach the team.
“This is a great achievement for our students and a testament to the quality and dedication of our faculty coaches,” said Heather Wilson, president of SD Mines. “Only a handful of universities in America are consistently achieving at this level. We are a top-tier computer science school offering personal attention at a price families can afford. We are very proud of this team.”
The level of skill demonstrated by School of Mines students is attracting attention from the likes of Microsoft, according to Kyle Riley, Ph.D., head of the math and computer science department. Microsoft’s Fargo, N.D., office founded a scholarship for programming team members in hopes they’ll join the ranks of Mines alumni and interns who have gone to work for the software giant, he said.
This year, 223 teams competed from the North Central Region of the ICPC, which covers South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, western Michigan, western Ontario and Manitoba. The competitions at both the regional level and the World Finals are designed to assess coding, testing and algorithm development skills, as well as math skills and the ability to work as a team.
The ICPC has asked Rapid City, S.D., to host the World Finals in 2017.