GRAND RAPIDS — Student computer programmers from across the region will gather Nov. 3 at Grand Valley State University to compete in the regional segment of the world’s most prestigious programming competition, the annual IBM-sponsored Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest.

“Battle of the Brains” consists of a five-hour, real-world problem-solving challenge that is equivalent to an entire semester’s worth of computer programming. Teams of three will use skills based upon open technology and advanced computing methods to compete for a coveted spot on the World Finals roster. The team that solves the most problems correctly in the least amount of time wins this portion of the competition.

The regional contest is Saturday, Nov. 3, following a practice contest, which will help familiarize students with contest rules, Friday, Nov. 2 from 7-9:30 p.m. in room 207 of Manitou Hall on the Allendale Campus.

Employment of software developers and computing careers is projected to grow 30 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The School of Computing and Information Systems at Grand Valley is experiencing a rapid growth in the demand for computing graduates, said Paul Leidig, assistant dean for SCIS. “Activities such as the programming competition provide a great opportunity for students to demonstrate their skills and abilities in this high-demand market,” he said.

Student programmers from Grand Valley will be participating, as well as students from the University of Notre Dame, Kalamazoo College, Michigan State University, Saginaw Valley State University, Trine University, University of Michigan and Central Michigan University.

The World Finals, held from June 30-July 4, in Saint Petersburg, Russia, will feature 100 three-person teams. This select group of programming students are chosen from tens of thousands of participants from universities in 90 countries and six continents.

For more information, visit or contact Hugh McGuire, computing professor and organizer of the event, at or (616) 331-2915.


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