Stony Brook students competed in the worldwide IEEEXtreme programming competition Friday, a second time since its inception.
The SBU chapter of world-renowned engineering association, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), held the 24-hour long competition on Friday.
The contest began at 7 p.m. Friday, and ended at 7 p.m. Saturday. Contestants were required to solve challenging programming problems, mostly based on algorithm design.
The IEEE chapter at SBU participated in this competition last year for the first time, and came second place worldwide, beating the prestigious University of California at Berkeley, among others.
However, the competition is not only about winning, but something else, too. “Although we would be very happy if any one of our teams win the contest, what we really [want] to see is that our Electrical Engineering (EE) and Computer Engineering (CE) students become involved in activities,” Peter Poon, president of IEEE chapter, said. “Service is the main theme of IEEE Stony Brook this year, and this contest is just a great way to promote EE/CE students to do more.”
“A major benefit of organizing such contests is getting recognition for students and the programs on an objective, worldwide basis. It can be a good exercise in team work, meeting deadlines and undertaking a technical challenge; all of which come up in life after the university,” said Professor Robertazzi, advisor of IEEE Stony Brook, and one of the proctors of the competition.
Students who participated responded positively on their experience through solving the mind-boggling problems.
Muhammad Sajjad Aman, a third-year computer engineering student, said, “It was an insanely great challenging experience. I gained a lot of experience, and got some knowledge about what kind of problems I should expect in the future.”
The contest consisted of a set of 16 problems distributed in three booklets that were uploaded on the IEEEXtreme website periodically. As in any typical challenging exam, the complexity of the problems increased progressively.
Arjun Menon, a freshman computer engineering student, who completed the most number of problems from all the SBU teams, said, “This challenge was an interesting experience for me to realize my capabilities, and in-capabilities, at the same time.”
For other students, the contest proved to be a worthwhile networking experience. Students were able to ask questions to other IEEE members and professors about careers in electrical and computer engineering fields, and what promises they hold.
Professors and faculty members of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, voluntarily proctored the contest.
Professor Harbans Singh Dhadwal was the first to proctor the exam, followed by Professor Ridha Kamoua, Anthony Olivo, and Professor Thomas G. Robertazzi, a fellow of IEEE.
Professor Robertazzi seemed to be confident about the performances of all the Stony Brook teams. “We did very well last year, beat Berkeley, and hopefully we will do better this year,” he said, smiling.
Most of the students who participated were freshmen undergraduates, compared to other teams across the globe that consisted of graduate, and Ph.D. students.
Three of the teams that participated included “Adi” of Arjun Menon, “Quest” of Muhammad Sajjad Aman, and Qaisar Iqbal, and “Codeman” of Jason Chung, and Ivan Pang.
“The contest may have been unfairly challenging for freshmen, but we’d like those students to try again next year,” Professor Robertazzi said. “The challenge next year will be getting a broader mix of students who well represent what the average Stony Brook student is capable of,” he said. “Last year Stony Brook placed second worldwide of 50 schools, even beating Berkeley.”
“We would have liked to get more senior students, even graduate students like last year and also some computer science students,” he said.