The seemingly casual team members of the Jedi Order from BYU-Hawaii won first place in the annual 2018 Intercollegiate Computer Programming Contest during Fall Semester 2018. Team member Byoungmo “Elliot” Koo, a senior from Korea studying computer science, said, “We thought this event was just for fun because we hung out and ate Subway.”
On Nov. 3, BYU–Hawaii hosted the annual 2018 Association for Computing Machinery-ICPC. Students from University of Hawaii-Hilo, University of Hawaii-Manoa, BYUH and Hawaii Pacific University all came. The BYUH teams took first, second, and third place in the Division II category.
The names of the students who were in the three winning teams are as follows:
Jedi Order: Byoungmo “Elliot” Koo, Daegun Kim, Kwangok “Oaks” Ahn
Seasiders: Yong “Edision” Yang, DonEliezer Baize, Michael Mendoza
Sith Lords: Abram Himmer, Caleb Call, Braden Wright
Jedi Order scored six out of 10 correct with Seasiders and Sith Lords scoring four out of 10.
The winners of Division II
Initially thinking the competition was for the experience, Koo said “We were basically hanging out while working on hard programing problems. It didn’t feel competitive because the other teams just focused on their own problems.
“I think we were a little too casual because we came with nothing while the other teams had big piles of thick programing books. They seemed prepared, a little more nerdy than us, but more prepared. This was my first time participating in any programing competition.”
Koo continued, “After we won, I thought ‘Wow! We did it. We made it.’ We are aiming for Division I next year. We would like to compete on a higher level.”
Kwangok “Oaks” Ahn, a senior from Korea majoring in computer science, said, “We heard about it from Brother Draper when he announced it in class. This is my first time competing.
During the competition, we solved problems on the web by using programming languages like Java, Python, and C++. I learned these programs in one year. During the competition, I felt like it was very casual,” Ahn said also commenting on eating Subway food and having fun as a team.
Daegun Kim, a junior from Korea majoring in computer science, said, “Unlike these guys, I prepared a little for this competition. Our goal was actually not to win but to just try to solve as many problems as we can. I want to prepare for future competitions and I would like to coach others in programing.”
Behind the scenes
Geoffrey Draper, an associate professor of math and computing, said, “All the students competing on the teams are computer science majors. They form teams of three and take part of one competition. They write specific programs and try to see how many they can get correct.
“The students take on a self-study to prepare for the competition. The programming questions are math based. The contest is actually bigger than Hawaii, and includes teams from British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California, all working on the same problems simultaneously. Here was also a Division 1 category, but, alas, none of our BYUH teams chose to compete in it. I hope they will next year, now that they have some more experience.”
Draper continued, “I don’t do any coaching. I mostly oversee that the event runs smoothly by making sure rooms are prepped and etc. This is a good experience for the students to put on their resume. Companies often come and recruit the top teams.”
According to its website, “The ICPC has been in operation for over 40 years. In the past 20 years, the community has spread across the globe, with 49,935 students from 3,098 universities in 111 countries competing in the 2017 Regionals. Over 30,000 students represented their universities in on site competition which enhances the reliability of measuring performance while expanding their network of future friends and colleagues. We have 320,000+ alumni engaged in all sectors.”