Waterloo places eighth at 2024 ICPC North America Championship, advances to 48th ICPC World Finals

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

A trio of Waterloo coders will advance to the 48th International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals. 

Veteran ICPC participants Kevin Wan, who graduates in June with a double major in computer science and combinatorics and optimization, Wen Yuen Pang, also graduating in June with a computer science degree, and Max Jiang, a third-year student pursuing a double major in computer science and combinatorics and optimization, showcased their programming skills by securing eighth place at the ICPC North America Championship on May 27 at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

“We’re thrilled with Waterloo’s performance against the continent’s top teams at the ICPC North America Championships,” said Cheriton School of Computer Science Professor Troy Vasiga, who coaches the team alongside colleague Professor Ondřej Lhoták. “By being among the top teams at the North America Championship, they have the honour of representing Waterloo at the 48th ICPC World Finals, which will be held in Astana, Kazakhstan in September.”

photo of Wen Yuen Pang, Kevin Wan, Troy Vasiga and Max Jiang

L to R: Wen Yuen Pang, Kevin Wan, Professor Troy Vasiga, and Max Jiang at the 2024 ICPC North American Championship

ICPC contests challenge teams of three to solve algorithmic programming problems during an intense five-hour competition. The team that solves the most problems in the shortest amount of time wins. At this year’s North America Championship, Waterloo’s trio of coders solved eight out of 13 coding problems.

2024 ICPC North America Championship Scoreboard

screen capture of the 2024 ICPC NAC scoreboard

The top 10 teams according to their final standings. See the full results on the 2024 NAC ICPC scoreboard.

About the ICPC

The International Collegiate Programming Contest is the oldest, largest and most prestigious university-level algorithmic programming contest in the world. Annually, some 50,000 students from more than 3,000 universities across 111 countries compete in regional contest to qualify for the ICPC World Finals.

Volunteer coaches prepare their teams with intense training and instruction in algorithms, programming and teamwork strategy. Huddled around a single computer, teams of three compete against each other to solve a dozen or so complex, real-world problems within a gruelling five-hour deadline. Teammates collaborate to rank the difficulty of the problems, deduce the requirements, design test beds and build software systems that solve the problems.

Across the various ICPC competitions, teams of three students represent their university in multiple levels of regional competition. Success at one level leads to an invitation to the next. Each region progresses differently, but the end result is the same — the best teams advance. The final regional contest determines the teams that advance to the ICPC World Finals.

Waterloo’s legacy at the ICPC

The University of Waterloo is the only Canadian institution to have won the ICPC World Finals, taking the prized title twice, once in 1994 and again in 1999.

For an insider’s perspective on the ICPC competitions, please see A passion for programming: An interview with Professor Ondřej Lhoták of the Cheriton School of Computer Science, who was a student on the Waterloo team that won the 1999 ICPC World Finals.

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