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11 / 07 / 2007
HKUST Hosts Greater China Collegiate Programming Contest Tsinghua University Wins Championship
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Undergraduate computer wizards from Tsinghua University in Mainland China, National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) tested their skills against each other on Tuesday (July 10) at the HKUST campus in this year’s Tsinghua-HKUST Programming Contest, an exciting Greater China collegiate team competition.

The contest, hosted by HKUST’s Computer Science and Engineering Department, marked the first time that the annual event had been held in Hong Kong. Launched seven years ago, the contest was initially held between Tsinghua University in Beijing and National Tsing Hua in Taiwan. HKUST joined in 2006. The competition aims to foster creativity, teamwork and innovation in building new software programs among computer science students and to promote cultural exchange.

Seven teams took part in this year’s challenge, two individual teams from each university and a joint “United Women’s Team” formed by female students from all three institutions. After a remarkable day of enterprise and effort on Tuesday, students from Beijing’s Tsinghua University eventually beat the other contestants to take home the Tsinghua-HKUST Programming Contest 2007 Championship.

Liu He, a second-year student from the winning team at Tsinghua University, said: “Although the contest questions were very challenging, I believe all the participants had the technical knowledge to handle them. The main reason we outperformed the other teams was our team’s great coordination, which enabled each of us to utilize our own unique strengths.”

To teammate Zhu Chenguang, a first-year undergraduate, the greatest reward was not taking home the trophy but having the opportunity to interact with students from Taiwan as they are hard to find at universities in China, he said. All three members of the winning team were impressed by the hospitality of HKUST students during their stay on the HKUST campus.

The United Women’s Team won the third prize in the contest. “We did not feel any pressure being the only female team,” said Yang Siyu, from Tsinghua University in Beijing. “We wereconfident that our programming skills were as good as the male teams.” Teammates Li Qingxi from HKUST and Hung Hui-ju representing National Tsing Hua were both amazed by the mutual understanding between Women’s Team members. Although they came from different parts of Greater China, the young women found their similar age, interest in computing and experiences as female engineering students immediately created strong bonds. There was just one email exchange before the competition but the team's coordination proved to be flawless.

Prof. Lionel M. Ni, Head of the Computer Science and Engineering Department at HKUST, said that the contest had provided an excellent platform for computer science students to learn from each other and thanked Tsinghua University and National Tsing Hua University for their support. “I have been delighted to be able to bring together students from the Mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong,” Prof Ni said. “It has not only been a good opportunity for them to share ideas in the computer science field, but also an interesting cultural learning experience.”

Following the contest, all the teams were able to relax today (July 11) with an expedition to Hong Kong Disneyland, where HKUST students acted as guides for their fellow competitors from Tsinghua and National Tsing Hua.

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