Carolina team to compete in world finals of computer programming contest

Feb. 6, 2007–Three Carolina undergraduate students will travel to Tokyo during spring break to compete in the world finals of a collegiate computer programming contest being held March 12-16.

Seniors Jared Brothers, Philip Kelley and Tao Xie will compete against 87 teams from around the world in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) International Collegiate Programming Contest, sponsored by IBM. They’ll be accompanied by their coach Dr. Kevin Jeffay, a computer science professor in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences.

The team name is Pantone278, the official color for Carolina blue, according to UNC Trademarks and Licensing. (Graphic designers use the Pantone color system to communicate specific colors to clients and printers.)

Brothers came up with the Pantone278 team name, but Kelley is the fastest typist, and the team relied on his keyboarding as part of their strategy when they won the regional competition.

“Because each team had at their disposal only one computer, our strategy was to assign Philip, who can type the fastest, the role of flawlessly implementing solutions, while Tao and I mulled over the conceptual aspects of different problems, thereby obtaining solutions to give to Philip,” Brothers said.

The students competed in the regionals — the Mid-Atlantic USA Programming Contest — in Durham last October, and placed third in order to advance to the finals. The team was pitted against more than 130 teams to solve eight computer programming problems as quickly as they could. It was the third year Brothers, Kelley and Xie competed in the regional competition, but the first time they competed on the same team.

This is the second time a team from UNC has made it to the world finals. In 2002, a team of five undergraduates received an honorable mention at the finals.

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