LAU hosts dozens of computer science students during national competition
Students from 11 universities throughout Lebanon competed in the second annual Lebanese Collegiate Programming Contest at LAU.
From left: Event organizers Dr. Samer Habre, chair of LAU's Computer Science and Mathematics Department in Beirut, and Dr. Faisal Abu Khzam, LAU assistant professor of computer science and chair of the LCPC organizing committee, with Dr. Ziad Najem, regional director of the International Collegiate Programming Contest, who oversaw the event.
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Nineteen teams of computer science students from 11 universities throughout Lebanon battled it out on June 26 during the second annual Lebanese Collegiate Programming Contest at LAU Beirut.
Barred from leaving the venue or using any electronic devices throughout the five-hour competition, each team relied on its members’ combined knowledge and any hard copy material they chose to carry with them in order to solve eight programming problems.
“This year, the students were more prepared, more excited and showed interest and enthusiasm. It was apparent that they worked hard before coming to the contest,” said Dr. Samer Habre, chair of LAU’s Computer Science and Mathematics Department in Beirut, which organized the competition for the second year in a row.
Participation was also up over last year when 15 teams from nine universities competed.
A team from the American University of Beirut took home the gold. Another AUB team came in second place, and a team from LAU finished third. Having answered seven questions correctly, the winning team members were each awarded a BlackBerry phone.
LCPC is a local chapter of the regional Arab Collegiate Programming Contest, formerly known as the Arab and North Africa Regional Programming Contest. ACPC itself is a regional chapter of the International Collegiate Programming Contest.
The event at LAU was supervised by Dr. Ziad Najem, regional ICPC director, and assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Kuwait University.
“They have an amazing setup, and it is done at a professional level,” Najem said in reference to the contest at LAU. “Projects like these require a high level of collaboration among different departments of the university to ensure its success,” he added.
LCPC was first launched last year as an initiative undertaken by Dr. Faisal Abu Khzam, assistant professor of computer science at LAU. Abu Khzam also chairs the LCPC organizing committee, comprised of several faculty members from universities in Lebanon.
“I was very thrilled when I was approached two years ago by Abu Khzam to organize this event,” Habre said during the contest’s opening ceremony on June 25.
“What is better than spreading the culture of academic excellence among university students, and more particularly, excellence in the skill of programming, which is in the heart of any computer science program,” he added.
LAU is currently preparing to also host the regional competition in November. It will be the first time since the ACPC’s founding in 1998 that the contest will be held in Lebanon.
All the local, regional and international events are sponsored by IBM and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). This year, the local contest at LAU was also sponsored by the Ayna Corporation and BMB.