Cairo students to tackle ‘battle of the brains’

Students from Cairo will be Africa’s representatives in an IBM programming challenge contested by 112 teams of students from around the world.

The next generation of elite computer engineers will meet in Warsaw, Poland, May 14 through May 17 to compete in the 36th Annual World Finals of the IBM-sponsored International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC).

Universities participating from Africa and the Middle East are Alexandria University - Faculty of Engineering; American University of Sharjah; Cairo University - Faculty of Computers and Information; German University in Cairo; University of Cape Town  

The contest, which is affectionately known as the Battle of the Brains, will be hosted by the University of Warsaw and will challenge students to solve some of the most difficult programming problems in a strict five hour deadline. Of the 112 teams who will compete in the contest, only one will emerge as the winner and claim "The World's Smartest Trophy." 

The contest, described as the world's oldest and most prestigious, serves as a proving ground for the top collegiate engineers who are encouraged to embrace the latest in business and technology evolution, such as IBM's Smarter Planet initiative and its vision of a new era of computing, which emphasizes the breakthrough of smart systems and software that has the capability to do more than just compute, but also sense, learn, predict and in some ways think.

"As the contest sponsor, our ultimate goal is to celebrate excellence in the next generation of computer scientists, to provide them with insight and perspective that will help them successfully transition from students into business and technology professionals," said Doug Heintzman, Director of Strategy for IBM Collaboration Solutions and ICPC Sponsorship Executive.

"Through our sponsorship of the ICPC, we help expose students to the latest in business analytics, smarter commerce, cloud computing and social business as well as vastly different cultures and ways of thinking." He added, "Every year, we are amazed and delighted by the quality of talent this contest attracts and look forward to working with these students as they take the next steps in their careers."

The contest, which attracts thousands of participants from around the world, asks students to solve the most problems in the least amount of time. The problem sets are modeled after real world issues and follow the theme of a Smarter Planet. For instance, the contest will help students understand creative solutions for issues from water management and air traffic control to Web security and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes.

"What began as a competition hosted by Texas A&M in 1970, the ICPC has transformed into a worldwide phenomenon. Since IBM became the sponsor in 1997, we have grown to engage universities from every region of the globe," said Dr. Bill Poucher, ICPC Executive Director and Baylor University Professor.  "We are thrilled to open doors of opportunity for these talented young students as they face real world challenges in a competitive environment.  With the University of Warsaw as host, we are thrilled to provide the best of Warsaw to the brightest problem solvers of tomorrow."  

In addition to the contest itself, students will explore some of the latest industry advancements at IBM's Technology Showcase and have the opportunity to interact and network with technology experts and executives from IBM. Students will also have the opportunity to learn about and discover the local Polish culture.

The sponsorship in cooperation with the world's largest educational and scientific computing society ACM is just one of IBM's many university-focused programs to better educate millions of students for a more competitive IT workforce. The IBM Academic Initiative offers colleges and universities a wide range of benefits including free access to IBM software, discounted hardware, course materials, training and curriculum development.

In addition, IBM offers the Extreme Blue global internship program, which challenges interns to use their technological skills to develop business plans. Since 1999, more than 360 patent disclosures have been submitted from Extreme Blue participants. To date, more than 30 applicants from the United States Extreme Blue program have identified themselves as ICPC contestants. 

For more information about the contest and IBM's sponsorship visit or listen to the ACM ICPC podcast.  

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