Computer team adopts program for global success

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 March, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 March, 1996, 12:00am

A team of Hong Kong students excelled in an international computer science competition, coming in 11th.

The University of Science and Technology team beat all other Asian university teams, and was a 'keyboard stroke' away from reaching the top five.

More than 1,000 colleges and universities worldwide competed in the Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest, with only 43 making it to the finals in Philadelphia.

The University of Science and Technology was the only local university to make it through to the finals.

The contest required teams solving eight computer science problems covering artificial intelligence, computer graphics, robot planning, networking and game simulation.

All finalists were crammed into a single competition hall and whenever a team solved a problem, a balloon was hung above their monitor.

'The excitement there was indescribable - whenever a balloon was hung up above another team's terminal, we would drive ourselves harder, University of Science and Technology contestant Ngan Sai-fong said. 'We solved five questions in 41/2 hours, and had it not been for the fact that we missed one keyboard stroke, we would have made it into the top five.' Assistant professor and coach Dr Michael Stiber said he was confident the team would make it into the top five next year.

'It will be a challenge for next year's team to top what we've achieved this year. In our training for next year we will focus on improving our strategy as to which questions to answer first, who answers what questions, the time allocated for each question and so on,' Dr Stiber said.

The University of California, Berkeley, won the contest.




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