On Wednesday, January 13, 2016, it was announced on the official homepage (*1) of the ACM-ICPC International Collegiate Programming Contest (*2) that University of Aizu team FinalZukky had been selected as one of the teams to compete in the World Finals.

This is the second time that the University of Aizu will have competed in the ACM-ICPC International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals, with the first time being seven years ago in 2009 (*3). The World Finals will be contested by the universities that survived the domestic and regional (Africa and the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, South Pacific) qualifiers.

The members of FinalZukky have diligently trained, aiming at competing in the World Finals. All of that practice, including practicing three times per week with their club, as well as individual practice using Aizu Online Judge (*4), has truly paid off.

Team leader Kazuki Omomo (2nd-year Master's student), who began competitive programming after entering the University, was able to achieve his long-term goal of competing in the World Finals. Omomo will graduate in March, and leave Aizu in April to start his career.

On his prospects for the World Finals, Omomo commented "I am extremely happy to have achieved my long-term goal of securing a spot in the World Finals, as this was my last chance to do so. We have all strived to leverage our past experience and gain new knowledge in order to cut down on our mistakes. Even after graduation, I will continue practicing so that I can complete my final performance without any regrets."

Tadamasa Yamaguchi (3rd-year undergraduate) expressed his delight, stating "We did our best at the competition so that Omomo-san's career could end on a high note. Making it to the World Finals was our long-term goal, so now we have to find our next goal."

Talking of his aspirations for the future, Yamaguchi said, "The most important thing is to lower the burden on your teammates. I hope that through continuous individual practice, I will be able to think about and steadily solve problems using my abilities. Although our team environment will change greatly with Omomo-san graduating in April, I hope that we can continue to grow in our abilities through diligent practice."

The team's youngest member Takumi Yamashita (2nd-year undergraduate) spoke confidently about the team's determination, stating "I am really glad. I feel that we have come a really long way. I hope we can rewrite the UoA's record (49th place at the 2009 World Finals). I also hope to prove my own abilities and show that selecting me as a member of this team was the right choice."

Coach Yutaka Watanobe (*5) praised his team members for having overcome a great obstacle, commenting, "The ACM-ICPC International Collegiate Programming Contest is the top programming competition for university students in the world. I have great admiration for them, as they now stand on the world stage, having broken through the Asian Contest. This is the fruit of their unyielding efforts. Looking towards the finals, I hope to support the team so that the team can bring out the extent of their abilities."

The World Finals will be held from the 15th (Sun) to 20th (Fri) of May at Prince of Songkla University in Phuket, Thailand.

FinalZukky's past achievements:

From left: Omomo, Yamaguchi, Yamashita, Coach Watanobe


*1 The ACM-ICPC World Finals
*2 An international programming contest for university students held by the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) since 1976, the ICPC is a contest in which teams of three students try to answer as many problems in as short a time as possible. As the only world-level programming contest for university students, the universities and teams that compete are highly respected around the world.
Here is the web site of the Competitive Programming Club.
*3 News archive: Team "Watch.C" Makes Great Efforts at ACM-ICPC
*4 Aizu Online Judge: A system through which students can challenge solving practice problems of programming competitions, such as ACM-ICPC, High School Personal Computer Competition (Pasokon Koshien), Information Olympic, and get judgment of correct programs.
*5 Associate Professor Yutaka Watanobe