Maties beats Ikeys at programming

Paul Vecchiatto
By Paul Vecchiatto, ITWeb Cape Town correspondent
Cape Town, 25 Nov 2010

A university of Stellenbosch (Maties) team is heading for the world finals of the ACM Inter-collegiate Programming competition after winning the sub-Saharan African heats.

The team beat long-time sporting rivals from the University of Cape Town (Ikeys), who for the first time in nine years will not be sending a team to the world finals.

The competition was held in October in Cape Town, but the results have only been recently been released. The world finals will be held in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm El Sheik in March.

Maties entered four teams with one winning, and the other three taking fourth, 11th, and 21st places out of a field of 83 teams. Ikeys, while not winning, took four out of the top six places.

This year's competition had seven problems, and a Stellenbosch team was the first of two teams to complete all in the allocated time.

The team, consisting of Ralf Kistner, a fourth-year electrical and electronic engineering student, and Francois Conradie, a first-year actuarial science student, will now represent sub-Saharan Africa at the world finals, along with Dirk-B Coetzee, another fourth-year electrical and electronic engineering student.

Professor Konrad Scheffler, the teams' coach who accompanied them to the local competition, says he 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.

Referred to as "The Battle of the Brains", the ACM Inter-collegiate Programming competition world finals challenged the world's 100 top university teams to use open standard technology in designing software that solves real-world problems. It is an initiative of the Association of Computing Machinery, and is sponsored by IBM.