ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest Champions Take Home World Titles, Microsoft Scholarships, Software and Real-World Experience

SAN JOSE, Calif., March 3, 1997 — Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, Calif., earned the title of computing world champion from a field of 50 finalists in the 21 st ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest, sponsored by Microsoft Corporation in collaboration with the Association for Computing (ACM). To reward and encourage excellence in computer programming, Microsoft awarded educational scholarships totaling $31,500 and approximately $225,000 in software to the top ten teams in the final competition.

The ACM Programming Contest, launched more than 20 years ago, is considered one of the top collegiate computer science competitions in the world, showcasing the achievements of computer science students worldwide. The Harvey Mudd College team outpaced their competitors by a mere six minutes in an intense five-hour intellectual battle to complete as many real-life programming problems as possible. For the first time in the history of the contest, two schools tied for second place, the University of Washington, Seattle, and the University of Queensland, Australia. The National Taiwan University is Asian champion and Umea University, Sweden, earned the European champion title.

“We’ve put Harvey Mudd on the map. Hopefully people will no longer say ‘Harvey Who?'”
said Brian Johnson, Harvey Mudd College junior.
“The competition was extremely tough, and all three top teams were very close. We’re just glad we won.”

“The intensity of the nearly 200 student participants and their excitement at the awards banquet demonstrate the importance of this competition,”
said Rick Rashid, vice president of advanced technology and research for Microsoft, who presented the awards.
“These are the students whose skills and passion for technology will change the way we work and live in the future. Microsoft is proud to support the education of the next generation of software superstars.”

In addition to scholarships and software for the winning teams, Microsoft has donated approximately $460,000 in software and an estimated $12 million in software licenses to the more than 1,000 schools that competed in worldwide regional contests leading up to the finals. Over the four years that Microsoft has sponsored the ACM programming contest, the company has contributed more than $27 million in software site licenses and support to the participating teams and schools.

The teams earned their titles in a five-hour challenge to create computer programs that solved as many real-life problems as possible from a set of eight in the fewest number of attempts. Working with a single computer per team, students developed solutions for linking bicycle routes with an extensive, urban public transportation system, recovering data from multiple disks when using Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks (RAID) and more. As testament to the skills of this year’s students, three teams solved at least one programming challenge in the first 20 minutes of competition, and nearly half of the 50 teams solved at least one challenge in the first hour.

“I’m impressed with the teams’ abilities to get to the heart of the problems so quickly,”
said Dick Rinewalt, director of ACM contest judging.
“The problems aren’t designed to stump the students, but they certainly are challenging. Every year the teams solve more and more problems in the same timeframe.”

“Year after year I am amazed by the talent and tenacity of the students this competition attracts,”
said Bill Poucher, ACM contest director and professor of computer science, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.
“Through the contest, ACM and Microsoft are encouraging and rewarding intellectual achievement in practical application.”

Reflecting the growth in the computer industry, the contest has changed dramatically since its inception in 1976. Today, teams send their answers to judges over the sophisticated Windows NT Server, while years ago teams submitted their answers on floppy disks to contest staff at a central PC. Answers were printed out for the judges who then responded to the teams on paper. The contest has mushroomed from 500 teams in 15 regional competitions on three continents to 1,000 teams in 20 regional competitions on five continents.

For more information about the ACM Programming Contest and Microsoft’s sponsorship of this event, visit the Web site ( . For more information on Microsoft’s other programs and products for colleges and universities, visit Microsoft’s Academic Cooperative Web site at (

The ACM is a major force in advancing the skills of information technology professionals and students. ACM serves its global membership by delivering cutting-edge technical information and transferring ideas from theory to practice. With its world-class journals, magazines and books; dynamic special interest groups; numerous conferences; workshops and electronic forums, the ACM is a primary resource to the information technology field.

Microsoft is committed to providing practical solutions to the complex challenges colleges and universities face in implementing and integrating technology – in the classroom, in administration, and even beyond the campus – and to preparing information technology professionals and students for success in the workplace and for lifelong learning.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for

personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use; each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Other product and/or company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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Contacts: Lisa Collins/[email protected] and Lisa Wolfe/[email protected] at Marcy Monyek and Associates, 312-263-2135 or Christopher Morgan/[email protected] at Association for Computing (ACM), 617-262-2044

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