HPU student team wins computing competition for fourth time, shows well nationally

November 06, 2012

HPU's ACM teams

HPU's ACM teams and advisors were congratulated by HPU President Geoffrey Bannister for their outstanding showing.

HONOLULU – Hawai‘i Pacific University took first place Saturday at the Hawai‘i site of this year’s ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) for the second year in a row and fourth time since 2003.

Under the leadership of Curt Powley, Ph.D., chair of the HPU Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, the team took first place in Hawai‘i for the second consecutive year and finished 19th out of 111 teams participating in the Pacific Northwest Region of the international competition, which includes Alaska, Hawai‘i, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, northern/central California, Idaho, and western Nevada. Because of the large geographic area of the region, the contest is held simultaneously at multiple sites: California, Northwest (Oregon), Northeast (East Washington and Idaho), Puget Sound (Western Washington), Canada, and Hawai‘i.

The region includes some of the top computer science schools in the world. HPU trailed only Stanford, Berkeley and Washington among U.S. campuses.

HPU teams have now won the Hawai‘i competition in 2003 (the year it began in Hawai‘i), 2006, 2011 and 2012. In addition to winning this year, HPU teams also took second and fourth places. Ten teams took part in the competition, including teams from BYU-Hawaii and UH Hilo.

“I’m very proud of our competitors, which included both computer science and math students,” said Powley. “Their talent and intense preparation were demonstrated by such a high ranking in an extremely competitive region.”

“This competition is proof that hard work truly pays off,” said team member Kevin Goo. “Stanford better watch out next year because HPU will be fighting for their spot in the world finals.”

The ICPC pits teams of three university students against eight or more complex, real-world problems, with a grueling five-hour deadline. The team that solves the most problems in the fewest attempts in the least cumulative time is declared the winner.

Participation has grown to several tens of thousands of the finest students and faculty in computing disciplines at almost 2,000 universities from more than 80 countries on six continents. The contest fosters creativity, teamwork, and innovation in building new software programs, and enables students to test their ability to perform under pressure. It is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious programming contest in the world.

To learn more about the ICPC, visit or

Winning team (four problems solved)

• Kevin Goo

• Kenny Chai

• Kwok Cheung

2nd place team (three problems solved)

• Jarred Jobe

• Melvin Tomas

• Jessica Soriano

4th place team (three problems solved)

• Precious Binas

• Nathaniel Befus

• Abe Pineda