Last Thursday, Apr 19, our team Unicorn competed in the ACM-ICPC World Finals 2018 at Peking University. This year, Moscow State University won the champion by solving 9 (out of 11) problems. We solved 4 problems and ranked 56, tied with a couple of Universities, like Zhejiang University, who is the world finals champion in 2011. It’s also worth mentioning that we beat Waterloo, who is a traditionally strong American team.

From left to right: Bill Poucher, Tianwei Xu, Jingbo Shang, Xiyao Shi, Shunping Xie.

As we are running the CS 491 seminars (CAP and WF) and the Illinois Programming League (IPL), I can see that in the near future, our teams can dominate the regional contest and get some medals in the world finals.

Some interesting facts

Before the contest, the host brought us to the famous Great Wall in Beijing. There’s an old saying in China that “If you have never been to the Great Wall, you are not a real man.” Now, as we have all visited the great wall, we are “real men” :).

From left to right: Mattox Beckman, Jingbo Shang, Shunping Xie, Xiyao Shi.

Before the scoreboard became frozen (i.e., 4 hours), Unicorn only has 2 problems solved, although they have tried the problem A. At that time, I felt worried about their final ranking, since 2 problems can only make the honorable mention :(. I carefully monitored their work station, and suddenly, I found they have a new submission to the problem K and they looked exciting! Therefore, I bet they have passed problem K.

In the last 10 minutes, they submitted the problem A again, and they stood up together, walked around the arena, and made others very surprised! Some spectators even wondered whether they have killed all problems! This is a very nice bluffing! I quickly checked with Tianwei, one of the team members, “4 problems?”. And he returned me a smile and a nod.

Thanks for all your dedicated practice in this semester! All efforts finally pay off. I’m proud of Unicorn!

Next Year

We still don’t know where is the world finals next year. Originally, people are thinking about India. But I heard they may have some difficulties in finding enough sponsorships. Rumors are indicating Portugal. We will see.