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     Volume 2 Issue 91 | October 26, 2008|


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ULAB National Computer
Programming Contest 2008

Neelofer Shabnum Chowdhury

Computer Programming has evolved in the last four decades and with the advancement of science and communication technologies in the present century it has given birth to new challenges in solving computing problems. Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), one of the earliest and prestigious professional association of the world traces its roots to a competition held at Texas A&M University in 1970 hosted by the Alpha Chapter of the Upsilon Pi Epsilon Computer Science Honor Society (UPE). Since the IBM took the initiative to sponsor the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) in 1997 to meet the demand of more competitive logical thinkers in the industries associated with ICT hardware and software contest participation has grown enormously. Computer programming swiftly graduated into programming contest soon and it gained a worldwide acceptance and popularity. The entire idea was to create a platform for strong logical thinkers and talented minds to solve problems in a team environment using computer online.

National Computer Programming Contest (NCPC) in Bangladesh started in the year 1998 to provide a platform for our young and talented minds to join ACM ICPC Regional Programming Contests in different parts of the world and finally take Bangladesh to the ACM ICPC World Finals. The NCPC initiative under the support of the government continued for four years from 1998 till 2002.

The discontinuation of NCPC by the government created huge frustration among the existing young and talented contestants. They started looking at other options like organizing Intra-University Contest, Inter-University Contest and similar kinds of events to maintain the sharpness of problem solving skills. Fortunately there are still role models in the society whose relentless efforts help the nation and makes the presence of Bangladesh felt in the international competitive centre stage. Professor M Kaykobad of BUET is one such person whose tireless efforts to foster the culture of programming contest among the young talent pools of the country, starting from school to the university contributed in bringing laurels from many international competition in programming contests for Bangladesh such as ACM ICPC World Finals, Google CodeJam and from other online contests.

University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB), one of the youngest and promising private universities of Bangladesh taking into consideration the importance of the competition and enthusiasm it generates among the young programmers and problem solvers and to provide an opportunity to young programmers to sharpen their problem solving skills for the upcoming ACM Regional Contest later this year decided to host the National Programming Contest named ULAB NCPC 2008 on October 17, 2008. A strong steering committee formed under the leadership of Mr. Kazi Shahid Ahmed took up the responsibility of organizing the event and ensure maximum participation which they did very successfully. Computer Jagat, ETV and RadioToday joined as the Media Partner, Global Brand Pvt Ltd as the Prize Partner, Singer Bangladesh as the sponsor partner and Green Power supported the online power backup.

The long Eid and Puja vacation could not dampen the spirit and the enthusiasm of the participants and when the registration closed on October 15, 2008 the number of participating teams from twenty three public and private universities stood at seventy one, one of the highest ever in such a competition organized in Bangladesh. The teams included: American International University Bangladesh, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, BRAC University, Chittagong University of Engineering & Technology, Daffodil International University, Darul Ihsan University, East West University, Eastern University, International Islamic University Chittagong, International Islamic University Chittagong, Dhaka Campus, Jahangirnagar University, Khulna University, Military Institute of Science & Technology, North South University, Shah- Jalal University of Science & Technology, South East University, Stamford University Bangladesh, State University of Bangladesh, University of Dhaka, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, University of Rajshahi, and United International University

The ULAB NCPC 2008 was inaugurated by Professor Rafiqul Islam, Vice Chancellor of ULAB at 9.00 on the cool Friday morning of October 17 and five hours of problem solving contest began. The contest was entirely arranged at international flavor. It was designed to be contest of the best. In the next five hours of contest the internationally reputed computer scientist Professor Zafar Iqbal lead the NCPC as the Chief Judge along with Mr Shahriar Manjur as the Judging Director.

With these teams Mr Mahmudur Rahman, Mr Sabbir Yousuf Sanny, Mr Shamim Hafiz, Mr Sohel Hafiz, and Md. Arifujjaman Arif were the problem setters beside judging the submissions. Besides, Dr Amir Ali, Mr Tanmun Mursalin, Mr Ismail Jabiullah, Mr Kazi Jahidur Rahman, Mr M Shamsul Alam, Mr Tanveer Ahsan, Syed Monowar Hossain, Manzurur Rahman Khan Sidky worked as Judges. They were assisted by two volunteers from ULAB. Dr. Syed Akhter Hossain, Professor and Head of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering of ULAB was the Contest Director and took care of all the minute details along with the ULAB team to make the contest a success.

The ULAB NCPC 2008 continued till 2 in the afternoon and all along the contestants were served with adequate food and drinks by the host. The five time power outage were hardly noticed by the participants as the Green Power had their stand-by state of art power back up system. The NCPC teams had 9 problems to solve and the five hour contest came to a close with BUET Falcon Team heading the list of the winners solving seven problems followed by NSU Arcturus team coming out second with six problems solved to their credit. Other successful teams were: BUET Sniper 5 problems, DU Knights 4 problems, DU Dhruba 4 problems, DU Gladiators 4 problems, SUST Sprut 3 problems, BUET Mystic 3 problems, IOI Polynomial 3 problems and MIST Asterisks 3 problems. The lead winning team of ULAB NCPC 2008 contest from BUET comprised of Tanaeem M Moosa, Md. Mahbubul Hasan and Shahriar Rouf Nafi while the NSU Arcturus team consisted of Samee Zahur Al Islam, M Mustafijur Rahman Faysal and Ameer Hamza.

The Award Night started at 5:20 p.m and the Chief Patron Mr Kazi Shahid Ahmed chaired the session with Mr Zabeed Ali Sorkar, Executive Director, Bangladesh Computer Council graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. An aura of warmth and happiness filled the award night with all the coaches, contestants, guests, faculty members, volunteers and other partners from the industry filling the ULAB auditorium, all eagerly waiting for big moment when the Chief Judge, Professor Zafar Iqbal would be announcing the results of the contest formally. The Vice Chancellor Professor Rafiqul Islam welcomed the guests and congratulated the contestants. The Pro-VC Professor Imran Rahman in his speech urged the need for nurturing the contest and related training issues and felt the need for formation of a ACM Programming Contest Training Institution to support all these activities.

The Guest of Honour Professor Ali Asgar, a renowned scientist of the country addressed the audience and urged young participants to be trail blazers for the new generation of Bangladesh and lead the country into the exciting and challenging world of IT. In Professor Sohrab Uddin Ahmed in his brief speech opined that good leadership, proper training and guidance given to the young generation of Bangladesh can change the profile of the country and make it a better place to live in. The contestant received awards sponsored by Global Brand and crests and certificates for their successful performance in the contest. Professor Zafar Iqbal declared the contest result and announced the winners. Top ten teams received NCPC crest from the Chief Patron Mr Kazi Shahid Ahmed, President, Board of Directors, ULAB and top six teams received hardware prizes from the support partner. Professor Zafar Iqbal thanked ULAB for hosting such a wonderful contest and said he looked forward to the day when this contest will become an annual event. Mr Shahriar Manjur explained the problems set to the gathering.

The Chief Patron Mr Kazi Shahid Ahmed enthralled the gathering through his inspiring speech and stressed the importance of competing in all spheres of our life for achieving excellence in our performance. Among the gathering Professor M Lutfar Rahman, Professor Abu Laise Haque and other respected members from the academia, industry and media were present. The award night program ended with a musical soiree.

(The writer is a student of CSE, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh)

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