ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ACM ICPC) aims to elect the world's top students in programming abilities. NTU's Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering set up a training class in 2006 for the purpose of winning honors in the ACM ICPC. Under the full support of the President, the training class has been operating for four years, with a view toward participating in the finals of ACM ICPC which was to be held in February of 2010. The preliminaries was held in Mid July of 2009, and the students who were admitted to the training class had to sacrifice a week of their summer vacation, gathering in the departmental building, and participating in intensive training courses to enhance their individual strength and team cohesion. After the Fall Semester started, the students had to participate in a five-hour drill every week, plus solid weekly practice sessions and teamwork, which enabled them to adapt to various kinds of problems and familiarized them with problem-solving. After several months' strenuous efforts, NTU had three teams which emerged triumphant in the Asian regional contest, and were eligible to participate in the world finals. The training class held an additional PK contest, and the only team to represent NTU was finally born.
In the world finals, the NTU team was able to solve 4 problems at the 134th minute. At that time NTU was hovering between the 10th place and the 20th place. When the contest was half over, Shanghai's Jiao-tong University, Stanford University and the Moscow State University took the lead by solving 5 problems, with NTU and other universities (such as Cornell, University of Tokyo, Beijing's Tsing-hua University and the University of Warsaw) closely behind by having solved 4 problems. When the finals reached the 172th minute, NTU team solved the 5th problem and was admitted into the leading group, and the flags of Taiwan and NTU were shown on the scoring board. Unexpectedly, the long-stalled Shanghai Jiao-tong University solved the 6th problem at the 183rd minute and took the crown, with the Moscow State University soon to follow suit. Excitingly, the NTU team was able to solve the 6th problem at the 201th minute, and jumped to third place!! Game over, the dusts were settled, and the NTU team ascended to glory by winning the best ranking ever—the 2nd runner up.
NTU student team members said that in this type of international competitions, the key to success usually did not rest upon the team's strength and luck, but upon the team members' mutual understanding and discipline which could only be honed through long-term training, so that time and psychological pressures could be overcome. The training class's long term practice proved to be effective, in that the NTU team did not lose its control in the annual contest, lose its morale because of frustration, or lose its cool by caring too much about the gains and losses. The psychological factors usually played a more important role in ICPC than the disparity in power among the participating teams.
In recognition of the glorious achievements of the NTU team in the ACM ICPC, President Si-Chen Lee personally met with the teachers and students of the winning team on March 23rd, and awarded them cash prizes. He looks forward to more superior performance by NTU teams in the future, whereby higher honors for NTU can be won.