Programmers Win Contest

Harvard Team Takes First Place at Computer Competition

A Harvard team won an international computer programming contest and $10,000 last Wednesday.

Derrick E. Bass '95, Tony C. Hsich '95 and Craig D. Silverstein '94 made up the first Harvard team ever to win the 17th annual Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming competition.

In a tight contest which challenged students' abilities to create computer programs to solve assigned tasks, the Harvard team led the field by solving six problems.

"We were given eight problems and five hours to solve them. We wanted to solve as many problems in as little time as possible," said Hsieh.

No other team solved more than five problems.


"It was a really close contest," said Hsieh, "We got the last problem in the last 10-15 minutes. We were pretty much neck-in-neck with Stanford. If we hadn't got the last problem we would have lost."

The competition included 31 teams from across the U.S., Europe and countries as far as New Zealand.

"The problems ranged from doing weird things to figuring out the most efficient gas mileage between cities," said Silverstein.

The three team members said they will divide the $10,000 prize money among themselves and may use it for whatever each sees fit.

Hsieh and Boss both won spots on the team through a preliminary contest given earlier this year at Harvard. The pair joined Silverstein, who was a member last year's team.

Hsieh, Bass and Silverstein went on to regional contests to qualify for the international tournament.