Mines News

Release Date Tuesday, May 16, 2017

SD Mines Programming Team Battles World’s Best Coders at ICPC

SD Mines Programming Team for the 2017 International Collegiate Programming Contest’s World Finals. The team from left to right: Alex Iverson, junior computer science major, Fort Collins, Colo.; Matthew Dyke, senior computer science and math major, Hartford; and Matthew Schallenkamp,sophomore computer science and math major, Brookings.

RAPID CITY, SD (May 16, 2017) – The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology computer programming team is gearing up for the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) World Finals. The contest is held in Rapid City, S.D., May 20-25.  Approximately 1500 contestants, coaches, staff and spectators are traveling to Rapid City for the event. The contest itself is set for Wednesday, May 24, in the Rapid City Civic Center Ice Arena. The event opens for public seating at 7:30 a.m., and the contest runs from 8:10 a.m.-2 p.m. 

This is the first time in 11 years the ICPC World Finals is scheduled to be held on U.S. soil. SD Mines is one of 20 teams representing the United States at this competition.

The SD Mines team includes three students:

·         Matthew Dyke, senior computer science and math major, Hartford, S.D.

·         Alexander Iverson, junior computer science major, Fort Collins, Colo.

·         Matthew Schallenkamp, sophomore computer science and math major, Brookings, S.D.

Thanks to help from their coach, Larry Pyeatt and an anonymous donor, two of the Mines ICPC team members attended an elite computer programming boot camp in Russia last year.  The camp has trained world champions for the past five years.

In Russia, as well as many other countries around the world, computer programming is taught in grade school. In the United States most students don’t learn to code until they’re in college. The Mines’ team may be considered an underdog in this international competition, but they are still among an elite group of college-level programmers who have made it to the top level. The competitors at the ICPC World Finals represent the best collegiate programmers on the planet. This marks the seventh time Mines has qualified for this international competition.

“The ICPC has been a ton of fun,” says Mines team member Alex Iverson. His parents, who are software developers, taught him to code at a young age. “I’ve learned a lot from the ICPC practice problems and I’m looking forward to the world finals here,” he adds. 

The ICPC includes about 300,000 students from across six continents who compete for spots on 2,736 local university teams. The wining university teams progress through multi-level regional competitions. In the end, 133 teams from 70 countries earned the right to attend international competition this year in Rapid City

To listen to an audio interview featuring Toni Logar, one of the longtime coaches of the Mines team, click here.

The ICPC also includes a set of seminars from 9:30 a.m.–noon and 1:30-4 p.m. on Sunday, May 21, in the Rapid City Civic Center theater. The seminars are free and open to the public. Speakers include a list of world-class programmers, entrepreneurs and innovators.

SD Mines has a long history with the ICPC Programming Contest. The first North Central Regional was held in 1975, and Mines students took fifth place. The team continued to be a force in the contest, placing 10th at the national championship in 1979 after winning the region. The team has participated in the contest every year of its existence. The Mines programming team continues to be one of the premier competition teams at the university. The team provides professional opportunities for students and enhances the international reputation of the university’s Math and Computer Science Department.

Mines faculty also have a long and sustained history of involvement with the contest. Ed Corwin has been coaching the team since 1981. In addition to coaching, Corwin has served as chief judge for the North-Central region and is currently the Regional Contest Director for the Mid-Central region. Karen Whitehead stepped in to run the team while Corwin was on sabbatical in the mid-eighties. Toni Logar joined Corwin as co-coach in 1991. Logar serves as deputy director for the North American super-region. Roger Schrader joined as master of operations in 2004.  In 2014, Larry Pyeatt joined the coaching staff. Pyeatt took part in the world finals as a student and he comes to Mines as former coach of the Texas Tech team. Pyeatt has accepted the position of chief judge for the North-Central region beginning this fall.  Paul Hinker the newest addition to the staff, was on the 1985 team as a student and has been a coach since 2015. Hinker will work to lead Mines back to the world finals in 2018.

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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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