Every fall, the best student computer programmers in the world pit their skills against the clock and each other to solve a series of challenging problems in five short hours as part of the Association for Computing Machinery’s annual contest. Principia’s Programming Panthers have competed most years since 1990 and more often than not placed in the top third of all regional entrants. Twice the College has placed in the top tenth—always against vastly larger and more technically oriented competitor institutions.
The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is the largest, oldest (over 50 years), and most prestigious of the computer science professional societies. Their Annual International Collegiate Programming Contest (sponsored by IBM) involves more than 30,000 of the finest computer science students from over 2,000 universities in 88 countries on six continents. ACM believes their contest “fosters creativity, teamwork, and innovation in building new software programs, and enables students to test their ability to perform under pressure.”
In the fall of 2010, Principia’s Programming Panthers—Ross Vincent (C’12), Vladimir Darmin (C’12), and Kelsey Meidell (C’11) competed in the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest and placed third out of ten teams in the St. Louis area and 22nd among the 138 teams of the Mid-Central Region.
In the fall of 2011, Principia traveled to St. Louis’s Webster University to compete at ACM. Principia’s Blue Team, Vladimir Darmin (C’12), Emily Sander (C’12), and Ross Vincent (C’12), placed first among the eight teams at Webster University and 19th among the 141 teams in the Mid-Central Region! They ranked above much larger schools such as Northwestern, DePaul, St. Louis University, Washington University in St. Louis, and many state universities including Alabama, Missouri, and Tennessee State.