Mines News

Release Date Wednesday, August 16, 2017

ICPC Foundation Gives $10,000 to SD Mines for Visa Help at 2017 World Programming Finals

Some of the local ICPC organizers who gathered to celebrate the ICPC Foundation Donation included: Tanya Gray, Edward Corwin, Toni Logar, Karen Whitehead,  Jamie Al-Haj, Qusi Al-Haj and Barb Dolan. Other key local organizers not pictured include: Dick and Nancy Gowen, Paul Hinker, Lisa Storms, Jenny Malon

RAPID CITY, SD (August 17, 2017) – The ICPC Foundation is giving the SD Mines Mathematics and Computer Science Department a $10,000 donation following the International Computer Programming Contest (ICPC) World Finals held in Rapid City in May. The donation is being made to recognize the contributions of two individuals who were instrumental in the successful event.  Both, Qusi Al-Haj, with U.S. Senator John Thune’s office, and Barb Dolan, a retired SD Mines Registrar and ICPC volunteer, worked to secure hundreds of visas for the visiting computer programmers. Al-Haj and Dolan were officially recognized for their efforts at the Mines’ Opening Convocation held on Wednesday, August 16, in the Surbeck Center Ballroom at Mines. 

“It was a great logistical challenge,” says the ICPC Foundation President and Baylor University computer science professor Bill Poucher, Ph.D., “Fully 100 people would not have been able to come to the world finals had Qusi and Barb not gone the distance.”  He says, “Thanks also to SD Mines and Excellence in Computer Programing (ECP) we had a fabulously successful world finals.”

The $10,000 donation from the ICPC Foundation provides an excellence fund for SD Mines competitive programmers. “This is our way of saying thank you for going beyond the limit for people from out of the country,” says Poucher. The SD Mines team may use the funding to help offset costs of traveling to future competitions. The team has set their goal for earning an invitation to 2018 ICPC World Finals in Beijing, China. 

On top of the financial donation from the ICPC Foundation, Baylor University has entered into a partnership with the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology that involves cybersecurity. One part of the partnership includes the arrival of advanced computing equipment to help enhance lab capabilities at the university. The equipment, donated as a result of hosting the ICPC World Finals, is targeted at creating a cybersecurity lab that mirrors a similar resource at Baylor University.

Mines computer science professor Paul Hinker, Ph.D., led the effort to set up the infrastructure needed in the Rapid City Civic Center for the ICPC World Finals and was instrumental in helping secure the equipment donation and forge the new agreement with Baylor, “Cybersecurity has drawn a lot of interest in recent months due to significant security breaches, and SD Mines has been increasing our focus on this area,” says Hinker, who now serves as the coach for the 2018 Mines’ Computer Programming Team.  

Kyle Riley, Ph.D., Department Head of the SD Mines Math and Computer Science Department agrees. “This new partnership helps us on multiple fronts, but we are especially interested in the new opportunities this provides in our research and curriculum development related to cybersecurity. This equipment can also assist with our research in high-performance computing and our outreach activities that include the NSA-funded GenCyber Girls Cybersecurity Camp held this summer,” Riley says. “Hosting the ICPC World Finals was a great opportunity for South Dakota to showcase our high-quality academic programs and also bring a premiere academic competition to the Black Hills. This event involved a very large group of volunteers and supporters, and we are very appreciative to everyone that made this event possible,” he adds.

ICPC organizers also expressed appreciation and praise for the outstanding support provided by SD Mines, area volunteers, Rapid City, and the Black Hills community.  “Our volunteers set the standard for all world finals to come, and it will be a difficult mark to meet,” says Hinker.

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About SD Mines  

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,778 students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1. The SD School of Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $61,300. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat

Contact: Charles Michael Ray , 605-394-6082, charles.ray@sdsmt.edu

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