Polyup at ACM-ICPC Bootcamp for 52 International Teams

This September, Shaya and I were invited to give a keynote speech for the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) Bootcamp in Barcelona, hosted by Harbour Space University. The ACM-ICPC Bootcamp is a preparation session for the ICPC, the world’s premier contest for programming among undergraduate students around the world. Universities spend years training their top students and send two to three teams apiece to the contest. Many of these universities send their teams to the ACM-ICPC Bootcamp months before the competition, to prepare them with problem sets. In short, this Bootcamp consisted of some of the world’s greatest minds in computer science.

By speaking here, we wanted to get more technical feedback on the merit of Polyup as a programming platform, and see what limitations the students saw. Personally, we were also interested at how quickly they could get up to speed, given the language’s nonstandard practices. The talk went very well — we first gave students some background on the goal and history of Polyup and then had them download and play with it for some hands-on exercises! I was extremely impressed at how quickly they figured out the platform — just twenty minutes after seeing it for the first time, they figured out how to code complicated algorithms, from the Euclidean Algorithm to factorial! Here are some pictures from the talk:

We also held a Problem Fest, where students could submit problems (with their solutions in Polyup) to win prizes. Here are some of the problems that students submitted:

Left: For any number of people, it is possible to calculate the chance that no 2 birthdays are on the same day. This mod does it the other way round: given a (maximum) chance that no two birthdays are the same, how many people are there (at least)?, Right: Given two integers n and k it calculates which person will be last one standing if every kth person is killed until only one remains.

After the ACM-ICPC presentation, we were spontaneously invited to speak for an entrepreneurship class at Harbour Space University. We were happy to speak, and it turned out better than we could have imagined. The students were so interested in our company that we had a 30 minute Q&A session, which had to be stopped because the class was running out of time! More importantly, they gave some very good ideas for applications of Polyup, and some great feedback on the business side of the company.