Collegiate Computer Geniuses Gather in Banff, Canada for World Finals Contest of IBM-Sponsored 'Battle of the Brains'

Teams of Students Race to Solve Open Source Technology Challenges at the 32nd Annual ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest, April 6-9, 2008

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BANFF, AB - 31 Mar 2008: The world's most talented and creative information technology (IT) students will gather April 6-9, 2008 in Alberta, Canada for the 32nd annual World Finals of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC), sponsored by IBM (NYSE: IBM). The competition will be hosted by the University of Alberta, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. One hundred three-person teams from 33 countries have qualified for what is affectionately known as the "Battle of the Brains." The ACM-ICPC World Finals brings these teams together to solve eight to ten highly complex computer programming problems, modeled after real-world business challenges. The problems are designed to test students' knowledge, endurance and business acumen -- key skills that are needed by global employers in the new IT workforce.

"This contest brings together future innovators from around the world, who may one day tackle some of the world's biggest problems by means of collaboration," said Doug Heintzman, Director of Strategy, Lotus Software, IBM Software Group, and ICPC Sponsorship Executive. "Using technologies that extend the Internet and interactive social networking capabilities ever further, this year's contestants will be exposed to advanced technology that will one day touch millions of people worldwide."

Limited to only five hours, the teams need to demonstrate skills in a contest equal to a semester's worth of curriculum. The team that solves the most problems correctly in the least time will emerge as champions, earning scholarships, bragging rights and prizes from IBM. Many of these bright contestants will catch the eye of leading firms like IBM who are always looking for creative talent.

IBM's sponsorship of the Battle of the Brains is just one of the company's many university-facing programs focusing on open standards skills. The IBM Academic Initiative is another, offering colleges and universities a wide range of technology benefits including free access to IBM software, discounted hardware, course materials, training and curriculum development to better educate millions of students for a more competitive IT workforce.

"Since joining forces with IBM, we've seen this contest develop into a truly global competition, attracting a deep and diverse pool of students," said Dr. William Poucher, Professor of Computer Science at Baylor University and Executive Director of the ACM-ICPC. "The competition allows students to hone their analytical and problem-solving skills and encourages them to apply their programming talents to the world of business. This unique experience gives these students a competitive edge when they eventually join the workforce."

The United States has 20 teams participating this year, the largest representation from any country. China, the Russian Federation and Canada are also represented by many teams from different schools. Warsaw University, the 2007 World Finals champions, will return in 2008. Also noteworthy, hosting school University of Alberta has been to the World Finals eight of the last 10 years. To view the full list of teams, visit the contest website at

More than 6,700 teams representing 1,821 universities from 83 countries competed in the fall Regionals competition this year, compared to 840 teams in 1997 when IBM first sponsored.

For more information about the contest or to listen to IBM's podcast series for students and coaches, visit RSS feeds are also available.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: For high resolution images, please visit For the latest schedule of World Finals events in April, visit

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