3 UCF Teammates Advance to Elite North America Computing Championship | University of Central Florida News

 3 UCF Teammates Advance to Elite North America Computing Championship |  University of Central Florida News

On Monday, three UCF teammates competed in the 2023 North American Championship (ICPC) against 150 of the best and brightest computer programming students in the United States and Canada.

Out of 51 varsity teams, UCF was ranked 17th beating Ivy League institutions including Yale, Princeton and Brown and earning a spot in the 2023 ICPC World Finals later this year.

Fifty-one universities assembled three-member teams of elite programmers who train rigorously throughout the year to compete in solving highly complex, real-world computer programming challenges. In this intense battle of brains, students raced against the clock in a five-hour competition of logic, strategy and mental toughness.

Out of 51 varsity teams, UCF was ranked 17th beating Ivy League institutions including Yale, Princeton and Brown and earning a spot in the 2023 ICPC World Finals later this year.

Not only did UCF compete in the North American championship, but they also hosted the event on their own turf: UCF’s main campus in Orlando.

Computer science student Natalie Longtin and computer science alumni Andy Phan 21 23MS AND Jacob Steinbronn 23 applied their advanced problem-solving skills and collaborative teamwork at the 2023 International Collegiate Programming Contest North America Championship.

UCF earned their spot to compete in Monday’s ICPC North American Championship after Longtin, Phan and Steinbronn finished 2na in the ICPC Southeast USA region in February. The region includes universities from five states. UCF has ranked in the top three in the ICPC Southeast Region for 40 consecutive years, a record unmatched by any other school.

Natalie Longtin (left), Jacob Steinbronn 23 (center) and Andy Phan 21 23MS (right)

As a team, Longtin, Phan and Steinbronn excel at working together to solve problems, according to coach Arup Guha, a senior computer science instructor at UCF.

While Andy will occasionally solve a problem himself, most of the time, two of the three students will carefully discuss and design a solution to a problem before deciding who is the best person to code it. Since they have a combination of distinct and overlapping strengths, the team has some flexibility in deciding who should code solutions to which problems, Guha says.

The success of the UCF teams brings an exclusive invitation to the 2023 ICPC World Finals, an elite competition of the top 130 finalist teams representing the best of more than 16,000 regional teams from 111 countries. Last year’s World Finals were delayed due to the COVID pandemic, so the 2022 and 2023 World Finals will be held in Egypt in November.

Meet the UCF competitors

Natalie Longtin, ccomputer science university student
Longtin is the first woman to represent UCF in invitational competition above the regional level. Prior to attending UCF, she made a name for herself at Timber Creek High School in Orlando as one of two students of hers in her graduating year to achieve a perfect 100% on the AP Informatica A examination. With stellar academic results, Longtin gained admission to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but chose to attend the University of Central Florida instead. Longtin is now working at Google on a summer internship and is on track to receive his computer science degree in spring 2024.

Competing experience: South East Regional ICPC 2020, 2021, 2022
Strengths: Dynamic programming, mathematical problems, number theory

Andy Phan 21 23MS, ccomputer science student; math master student
At the age of 17, Phan has already earned two degrees from UCF. In fact, he was 15 when he received his computer science degree, making him one of the youngest graduates in the university’s history. As a member of the UCF programming team, he competed in the 2020 ICPC World Finals held in October 2021. His team finished 17th out of more than 130 teams worldwide just missing a medal by just five places. Phan is ranked as an International Grandmaster on Codeforces, a competitive programming website. Phan earned a master’s degree in computer science earlier this month, and he’ll begin a master’s degree program in mathematics this fall.

Competing experience: ICPC World Finals 2020, ICPC Southeast Regionals 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
Strengths: Problem solving, mathematics, ad hoc problems.

Jacob Steinbronn 23, computer science student
Steinbronn is a recent computer science graduate from UCF. Over the past four years he has been practicing and competing with his teammates on the UCF coding team, he has gone as far as serving as a point guard, making sure all problems are read and time is allocated appropriately. In addition to practicing and competing, Steinbronn also mentors members of the junior varsity programming team. He says his three internships allowed him to bring industry-level programming experience to the team. In his spare time, he enjoys rock climbing, a hobby he’s incorporated into his senior design capstone project: a mobile app that uses stats to track progress on the climbing tower at the UCF Recreation and Wellness Center. Steinbronn will begin his job at Meta in Seattle as a software engineer in July.

Competing experience: South East Regional ICPC 2020, 2021, 2022
Strengths: Data structures, tree problems, string problems

Why competitive programming matters

Projected growth in IT and computer science jobs of approximately 667,600 new jobs by 2030 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics results in strong employer demand for skilled programmers. Many companies recruit students to enter ICPC competitions, often before they graduate.

ICPC, the world’s oldest, largest and most prestigious programming competition, helps meet the needs of the workforce through training and competition. The contests are run under the auspices of the ICPC Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity responsible for sponsorship, hospitality, fundraising, outreach, and operations.

The 2023 ICPC North America Championship and North America Programming Camp is hosted by UCF and is sponsored by the National Security Agency, L3Harris, Lockheed Martin, the National Security Innovation Network and The Florida High Tech Corridor.

Kimberly J. Lewis and Mark Schlueb ’93 ’21MA

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