UCF won a regional super-contest of computer programming known as the “Battle of the Brains,” a victory that UCF also claimed in 2013.
The victory marks the 33rd consecutive year that the UCF Programming Team has achieved a top-three regional win in the Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest, a record unmatched by any similar team in the nation.
UCF sent seven three-member teams to the 2014 Southeast Regional Contest in Melbourne Saturday that featured 109 university teams from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina.
UCF teams also finished third, fourth, 10th, 13th, 16th and 17th.
By winning first place, UCF computer science students John Boswell, of Parkland, Fla., Tyler Brazill of Leesburg, Fla, and Evan Dorundo, of Boca Raton, Fla., will travel to Morocco in May to compete in the World Finals against the best of 10,000 regional teams from 90 countries.
The contest begins with each team receiving problems that draw on competitors’ skills in math, logic, graphs, charts, geometry and more. Each three-member team shares one computer to solve the most problems in five hours, writing a computer program for each solution. For example, a problem might ask competitors to route a fire truck across a city in the quickest time, using a complex set of conditions, such as one-way streets and road closures. A penalty point system is used to resolve ties.
In Saturday’s contest, Boswell, Brazill and Dorundo successfully solved seven of nine problems to win first place. The second-place team, from Georgia Tech, also solved seven problems but had more penalty points.
The secret to UCF’s success is devoted practice, 35 to 40 Saturdays a year. UCF’s seven-hour practice sessions simulate the five-hour contest, with the extra time spent on analysis and feedback.
“Not only are the students committed to practicing, but we owe so much of our team success to our coaching staff who devote countless hours to the team effort,” said Ali Orooji, a professor and advisor in the UCF Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and the team’s faculty advisor. The seven coaches are UCF faculty, former team members and industry professionals.