Students Compete for Coding Supremacy

December 4, 2013

BRANDON, MB – Three Brandon University (BU) students have become the first to represent the University in a global computer programming competition where winners are courted by companies including Microsoft, IBM and Google.

Roque Lacroix, Alex Trush and Bailey Kacsmar with coach Dr. Ashraf Abdelbar (web)

Roque Lacroix, Alex Trush and Bailey Kacsmar with coach Dr. Ashraf Abdelbar

In November, Roque Lacroix, Alex Trush and Bailey Kacsmar took part in regional play-downs for the International Collegiate Programming Contest, an annual challenge sponsored by high-tech giant IBM. The trio matched on-line wits with nearly 200 teams from eight US states, Manitoba and western Ontario, solving mathematical problems designed to test programming skills and teamwork.

The team coach, Dr. Ashraf Abdelbar in BU’s Department of Math and Computer Science, praises his students for an excellent effort, solving two of the eight test problems. Teams from University of Manitoba and University of Winnipeg solved anywhere from one to three problems and only a couple of the US teams solved all eight.

“This has been a fabulous learning experience,” says Dr. Abdelbar, noting that his team of 3rd year students, including the lone female in the play-downs, was competing almost entirely against 4th year undergraduates. “I am very happy,” he says. “I didn’t expect them to be so competitive.”

Alex Trush says, ”My takeaways from the competition were better pre-planning and focusing of my thoughts.” Bailey Kacsmar says she learned a lot about teamwork. “We will definitely do better next time,” she says, adding all three team members hope to compete again.

120 teams will take part in the world finals for the International Collegiate Programming Contest in June, 2014, in Russia.

Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship; educating students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.


For more information, please contact:
Dr. Ashraf Abdelbar
Dept. of Math and Computer Science
Glen Kirby
Communications Officer