The Southern and West Africa heats of the ACM Inter-collegiate Programming Competition were held on 16 October, and Stellenbosch University sent 4 teams to participate. This year’s competition had 7 problems, and a Stellenbosch team was the first of 2 teams to complete all 7 in the allocated time. The team, consisting of Ralf Kistner, a 4th-year Electrical and Electronic engineering student, and Francois Conradie, a 1st-year Actuarial Science student, will now represent sub-Saharan Africa at the World Finals in Sharm-el-sheikh, Egypt, in March 2011, along with Dirk-B Coetzee, another 4th-year Electrical and Electronic engineering student. Dirk-B, the third member of the team, could not participate during the local competition due to illness, and it is very impressive that Francois and Ralf managed to qualify for the World Finals without their full team. This is the first time in 9 years that the University of Cape Town has not fielded the winning team at the competition, and it was a close affair, with their teams taking 4 of the top 6 positions this year.
The other Stellenbosch teams did not disappoint: all 3 other teams solved at least 3 problems, placing 4th, 11th, and 21st in a field of 83 teams. Prof. Konrad Scheffler, who accompanied the teams to the local competition, was impressed that three of the four Maties teams managed to solve a problem requiring a somewhat messy numerical evaluation of a path integral, which he considered to be quite tough.
Full standings of the competition are available at http://cm.baylor.edu/public/worldMap/publicStandings.icpc?contestId=579&cid=20373.