Nicolas G. Ajalat of Toluca Lake recently traveled to Ekaterinburg, Russia from June 21st to June 26th to compete in the world finals of the International Collegiate Programming Contest (“ICPC”). Nicolas is the son of Gregory Ajalat (a native Toluca Lake resident) and Julie Ajalat; and grandson of longtime Toluca Lake residents Sol and Lily Ajalat.
Now in its 38th year, ICPC is an annual multi-tiered competitive programming competition among universities throughout the world. It is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious programming contest in the world. The contest is sponsored by IBM and operates under the auspices of the Association for Computing Machinery (“ACM”).
ICPC attracts computer science students from around the globe. This year nearly 30,000 contestants from more than 2,300 universities in 91 countries competed in regional competitions at about 300 sites worldwide. The World Finals in Russia brought together the top 122 teams, who were the winners of regional rounds.
Nicolas and his two classmates/teammates – Michael Cappe and Alan Castro (the UCI Constructors team), all undergraduates in their third year at UC Irvine, earned their spot in the finals by placing second in ICPC’s Southern California Regional, consisting of a field of 91 teams from 31 colleges and universities from Southern California and Las Vegas. This was the first time UCI has had a team make the world finals, and they were one of only 20 teams from the USA to make the finals this year.
In the World Finals competition, held on June 25, 2014, the UCI Constructors team finished 88th out of the 122 teams. They were competing against a select group of the world’s top computer programming schools and students, many of whom have been participating in the competition for years, and many graduate students. They finished 13th out of the 20 United States teams, beating the likes of UC Berkeley, Virginia Tech, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, University of Virginia and University of Maryland, as well as many international teams.