Purdue wins ECNA Regional Programming Competition - Department of Computer Science - Purdue University Skip to main content

Purdue wins ECNA Regional Programming Competition


Members of Purdue's Algorithmic Programming team pose together after their historic win.


Purdue continually among the best algorithmic programming teams in North America.


For the first time, a Purdue University team finished first in their regional contest in the International Collegiate Programming Competition (ICPC). The Purdue BTR team won overall and will advance to represent Purdue in the North American Championship in May 2023.  


At the event on February 25, six algorithmic programming teams from Purdue University competed at the East Central North America Regional (ECNA) with 87 other teams from universities including; Carnegie Mellon University, University of Waterloo, University of Toronto, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, and Indiana University. See the final standings of all teams in the regional competition.

“This is the equivalent of Purdue winning a Big 10 championship in computer programming,” said Professor Ninghui Li, one of the coaches of the team. 

He added, “This is arguably the strongest region in North America for computer programming contests. Last year at the 2022 world finals in Dhaka, the top 4 universities from North America were MIT, CMU, Waterloo, and Purdue.”

Purdue has put up a strong showing by advancing to the ICPC World Finals in the past three years. For this contest, the Purdue GLD team finished in eighth place. This marks the first time that two Purdue algorithmic programming teams finished among the top ten in a regional conference. 


Most Challenging

The Purdue BTR team was the first to solve eight of the 12 questions correctly in the allotted time netting them first place. Of all the problems, the team was proudest for solving Problem A due to its complexity.

"At a first glance, the problem is extremely intricate with lots of details that we had to bring attention to," said Trung Dang, a member of Purdue BTR. He added, "Such details are incredibly prone to create bugs in the code, but we were able to solve the problem only within two tries, which helped us shoot to the top of the leaderboard as other top teams struggled to solve it within  tries.

We are so proud of the hard work our teams put in for this event,” said Professor Gustavo Rodriguez-Rivera. He added, “This motivates students interested in programming competitions to apply to Purdue. Our next steps are moving forward to the North American Championship in May 2023 and the World Finals.”


Algorithmic Programming

The contest pits teams of three university students against 12 complex, real-world problems, with a grueling five-hour deadline. Huddled around a single computer, competitors race against the clock in a battle of logic, strategy, and mental endurance.

Teammates collaborate to rank the difficulty of the problems, deduce the requirements, design test beds, and build software systems that solve the problems under the intense scrutiny of expert judges. For a well-versed computer science student, some of the problems require precision only. Others require a knowledge and understanding of advanced algorithms. Still others are simply too hard to solve – except, of course, for the world’s brightest problem-solvers.

Judging is relentlessly strict. The students are given a problem statement – not a requirements document. They are given an example of test data, but they do not have access to the judges’ test data and acceptance criteria. Each incorrect solution submitted is assessed a time penalty. You don’t want to waste your customer’s time when you are dealing with the supreme court of computing. The team that solves the most problems in the fewest attempts in the least cumulative time is declared the winner.


More programming at Purdue

The Purdue Computer Science student group, Competitive Programmers Union, spurs growth and involvement in the ICPC and helps students develop skills needed to solve complex algorithms and data structures problems often presented in technical interviews.


Algorithmic Programming Teams

Purdue BTR Team (1st)
Trung Dang (BS '23), Richard Li (BS/MS '23) and Devin Qu (BS ‘23).  

Purdue GLD Team (8th)  
Minh Nguyen (CS major), Peter Jin (CS major), and Egor Gagushin (Math major)

Purdue PNK Team (18th) 
Owen Eckart (CS major), Saarang Srinivasan (CS major), and Brian Zhu (CS major)

Additional team members;
Varun Sampath Asuri, Yaroslav Diachenko, Jimmy Dinh, Leo Lee, Yuzhe Liu, Anvit Sinha, Hamilton Wang, Joshua Yang. 

Professor Gustavo Rodriguez-Rivera
Professor Ninghui Li 
Ethan Dickey (graduate student and instructor of the introductory competitive programming course)


About ICPC

The ICPC is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious algorithmic programming contest for college students around the world. Organized by ICPC Foundation, it is designed to foster creativity, teamwork, innovation, and the ability to perform under pressure. Through training and competition, teams of three, representing their university, challenge each other to raise the bar of excellence in inventing trustworthy software systems that solve a range of complex, real-world problems. 

About the Department of Computer Science at Purdue University

Founded in 1962, the Department of Computer Science was created to be an innovative base of knowledge in the emerging field of computing as the first degree-awarding program in the United States. The department continues to advance the computer science industry through research. US News & Reports ranks Purdue CS #20 and #16 overall in graduate and undergraduate programs respectively, seventh in cybersecurity, 10th in software engineering, 13th in programming languages, data analytics, and computer systems, and 19th in artificial intelligence. Graduates of the program are able to solve complex and challenging problems in many fields. Our consistent success in an ever-changing landscape is reflected in the record undergraduate enrollment, increased faculty hiring, innovative research projects, and the creation of new academic programs. The increasing centrality of computer science in academic disciplines and society, and new research activities - centered around data science, artificial intelligence, programming languages, theoretical computer science, machine learning, and cybersecurity - are the future focus of the department. cs.purdue.edu


Writer: Emily Kinsell, emily@purdue.edu

Sources: Ninghui Li, ninghui@purdue.edu

Gustavo Rodriguez-Rivera, grr@purdue.edu

Last Updated: Nov 1, 2023 5:06 PM

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