South Pacific Programming Contests

2005 Champions

View the results here.

The 2005 ACM South Pacific Programming Contest sponsored by IBM was held on Saturday 17th September at 9 sites across Australia and New Zealand. 87 teams competed for the chance to represent their country in the World Finals in San Antonio, Texas next year.

Thanks to ACM for organising the contest, and to IBM for their support, including prizes for the top teams at each site.

We have done it again!  Another successful contest with the only disappointment being that the number of New Zealand teams entering the contest dropped.

The problem set was a great challenge to you all, whatever your level of skill, a measure of the talent in our Judging team.  We have several people who contribute to writing and solving these problems and they did a great job once again.  Thank you Radu and team.  And it is with regret that Radu is resigning as Head Judge.  We won’t lose his talent completely, thank goodness, but his wonderful contribution will be greatly missed.

All nine sites started on time and this is down to the professional organisation of our technicians.  We have a large group that take the time to organise equipment and software as well as set up the judging software.  Without their contribution to this infrastructure, it would be a difficult to run a distributed contest like we do. 

Another year without appeals from coaches means that our site directors, once again, took good care of the teams at their site.  Thank you site directors for another ‘success’ indicator fully achieved.

And why do we do all of this voluntary work?  To provide an opportunity to our students.  An opportunity to test themselves against their peers, an opportunity to measure their strengths and strengthen their weaknesses and to give two teams the opportunity to represent their country at the World Finals.  Congratulations to 3 University of Adelaide students – Patrick Coleman, Thoai Duy Khang Tran and Alex Flint and 3 University of Auckland students –  Robert Bowmaker, Stephen Merriman and Andrew Olsen.  It is the first time that Adelaide has represented Australia and this is a great boost to the site.  Congratulations to the teams and their coaches Brad Alexander and Michael Dinneen.  Both teams will be off to Texas in April 2005 to represent our Region. They will find the competition fierce and we know that they will prepare well to meet the challenge.  Good luck, we will all be following your performance.

Raewyn Boersen, Regional Director

Site Reports

Adelaide from Brad Alexander

The South Australian site shifted to the University of Adelaide for the first time this year. After some last-minute checks and settling-in the contest got under way just after 11.30 local time.

We had a total of fourteen teams competing with a late surge of teams from the three local universities. The contest started off at a frenetic pace with the first solution from team KQ, from Adelaide, coming after 5 minutes, followed by team Obfuscated, also from Adelaide, 3 minutes later. There was a flurry of white and yellow balloons as several teams got an early start with the first one or two questions.

Team KQ pulled ahead with four questions answered in the first hour. Competition for the other places was tight with Obfuscated competing hard with the HECS Files and Spice Weasels, both from UniSA. The flow of answers slowed as the contest progressed and the questions became more challenging. We entered the last hour of the contest with KQ as the top Australian team on 5 questions. They retained this ranking until the end to cement their place in the world finals in Texas next year.

Many thanks go to the other two coaches Paul Calder and G. Stewart von Itzstien, next year’s site director, for their help with preparation and on the day. Thanks also to Ben Avery, Joseph Kuehn, Kylie Williams and Takeshi Matsumoto for their enthusiastic support. Additional thanks to Darius Pfitzner for his advice and our systems administrator Steve White for coming in to baby-sit the computers in the early part of the contest.

Auckland from Phil Robbins

The Auckland site ran extremely smoothly again this year. We had two guests from IBM who participated in the contest activities, Steve Holley who presented a questionnaire at the opening ceremony, and Kate McElwee who presented the prizes after the contest.

We had only 10 teams from 3 different universities this year, University of Auckland, University of Waikato and Auckland University of Technology. This was only just over half last year’s total of 18 teams. We were competing with a General Election!

The contest was opened by Kathy Garden, Dean of the Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies at AUT. We started promptly at 2pm and our first solution took just 7 minutes. With fewer teams and harder problems this year, helpers were less exhausted as we entered the final hour and stopped giving out “balloons” (rectangular pieces of coloured paper!).

With the regional scoreboard stopped after 4 hours, and showing an Auckland team at the top, we waited to see who would reach 6 solutions first. With half an hour to go it was our own CIA team (Compile It Anyway) from University of Auckland who solved Rankings and cemented their place at the top of the scoreboard. They look forward to competing in Texas next year.

Thanks to the judges, Radu Nicolescu, Michael Dinneen and Eibe Frank, to our technical staff Art Brown and Brian Green, and to the AUT staff who helped out, Anne Philpott, Gordon Grimsey and Jacqui Whalley.

Brisbane. No report from Brisbane.

Canberra from Eric McCreath

This year the Canberra site had three teams competing from the ANU. It would be great to get some teams from The University of Canberra and ADFA in next years competition (assuming they are up to the challenge!).

ANU Atra managed to get ahead early on in the contest, however unlike last year they were unable to maintain their position. ANU Red leaped ahead and solved a total of 4 problems. Well done Team Red! ANU Blue was a first year team and did very well solving 3 problems.

Overall the contest ran very smoothly, with the pc2 software not causing any problems. Everyone concerned found this a challenging and enjoyable day.

The Australian National University: Red

  • Gregory Raevski
  • Matt Collins
  • Michael de Hoog

Dunedin from Chris Handley

Contest ran smoothly here although we had a software glitch that delayed the start of the practice session (the system administrator could see the passwords, but the rest of the system decided not to). We only had 3 teams this year – 2 from Otago and one from Canterbury. Election should not have been an issue – there was a polling station on campus, not 5 minute’s walk from the contest venue.

No visitors from IBM this year, I guess that we are too far from the bright lights. PC^2 performed well, and connectivity across the region seemed to hold up well. Having access to the private scoreboard after the public board closed helped keep the judges’ interest up. Congratulations to CIA (Auckland) as worthy regional winners (the first time a New Zealand team has won at this level I think). Hope they can repeat the process in San Antonio.

Thanks to Radu for setting a fine set of questions (albeit a tad harder than usual), Nick Meek who kept PC^2 happy and ticking over as it should, Barry Wright who kept our Linux systems talking to each other and not to anyone or anything else (about the only thing tighter than our system would be a student on Friday night) and Andrew Trotman for coaching all two of the teams that showed up and helped me (hard job, see the photos) judge on the day.

Launceston from Mike Cameron-Jones

Congratulations to Matthew Armsby, Alex Berry and Jarrah van Rijswijk for winning the Launceston site, as “UTas A”.

As appears to be the case elsewhere in the region, the site ran quite smoothly on the day. Although “Illegal Operation” hared out to an early site lead which they held for most of the event, “UTas A”, who started slowly, took the site lead when it counted, (“tortoising” to victory?), with Jarrah clocking up his second successive Tasmanian site win.

Thanks are due to the head judge for yet another well prepared problem set, to the ACM and IBM for organisation and sponsorship, and to those who helped out with the site both before and on the day: Tony Gray (Technical Director), Robyn Gibson (Judge), Andrew Spilling (Technician), Christian McGee (Technician), and Julia Mollison (Travel and Food Organiser).

Melbourne from Mirka Borowska

The Melbourne site was very successful, Fab was happy with PC^2 and technically everything went fine. For us it was one of the smoothest competitions ever. Looks like the PC^2 software is finally getting there and with the help of Simon and his magic PHP score board we were all able to see the master score board work in real time!

This year we had 12 teams from 5 universities, University of Melbourne , La Trobe University, Monash University , RMIT and Swinburne University. An IBM representative was invited to attend the competition, however they were not able to participate this year and we look forward to their presence next year.

While the results were being compiled all teams and support staff gathered for the pizza. The first four teams were presented with the prizes and the “Caffeine inside” recognised for the best team-name. Everyone was awarded with the Certificate of Achievement.

Special thanks to:

Fei Liu , Craig Hamilton, John Dethridge , Rajesh Vasa and Lucien Stals for the judging, Fab Iannarella, Emil Mikulic, Neeraj Arora for technical support, and Kim Patton and Beata Kruza for help with organizing.

Perth. No report from Perth.

Sydney. No report from Sydney.


CIA from University of Auckland


Coach Michael Dinneen


Robert Bowmaker
Stephen Merriman
Andrew Olsen


IBM Representative Kate McElwee


pres cia


KQ from University of Adelaide


Coach Brad Alexander


Patrick Coleman,
Thoai Duy Khang Tran
Alex Flint


Photo courtesy of University of Adelaide



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