Four UK competitive programming teams, uky-BBB, uky-Blue, uky-Uno, and uky-bigMAC, participated in the ICPC 2020 Mid-Central Regionals on March 6. The uky-BBB team won the NKU satellite site, attained the sixth position in the Region and placed UK as the third-best school in the Mid-Central Region. Thanks to this result, uky-BBB team advanced to the Division Championship, the next level before the North America Championship, to decide who will represent the North American Universities in the World Finals.
“I think the experience of participating was very rewarding because the entire team has been practicing for quite a few months now—some of us for over a year—and it is really great to see all the practice pay off,” said Brendon Bultman, a junior double majoring in computer science and mathematics who participated on team uky-BBB. “I think competitive programming complements my in-class studies because competitive programming forces you to solve problems that you otherwise wouldn't have solved, which has many benefits like increasing critical thinking or generally increasing your understanding of differing algorithms. Additionally, I think competitive programming forces you to think in an algorithmic manner which really helps for Software Engineering because it strengthens your ability to think about differing concepts in computer science due to more coding practice and having a better understanding of algorithms. Lastly, many different companies like to recruit from various competitive programming events, which just serves as another benefit of competing.”
Chase Ballard, a junior computer science major who competed for uky-bigMAC, said that while his team didn’t advance to the next round, they plan to continue practicing and furthering their knowledge.
“Competitive programming not only complements your in-class studies but also deepens your understanding of algorithms that you learn in class because it forces you to apply them to problems you wouldn't normally see in the classroom,” he said. “There are also the added benefits of learning to think critically and work with a team under pressure. These skills are great to have when working in software engineering, and because of that, a lot of companies have high opinions of students with competitive programming experience.”
This photo was taken in 2019.