SBCC computer science team takes first place at Southern California programming competition

At the Southern California International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) held Feb. 25-26, Santa Barbara City College won the top honor for two-year colleges for the second year in a row.

The ICPC is a programming challenge for college students to solve real-world problems, fostering collaboration, creativity, innovation and the ability to perform under pressure.

Held in Riverside, California, 48 teams from 15 Southern California institutions competed to solve a set of 10 programming problems in five hours. The problem set was particularly difficult this year, with no team solving all of the problems.

SBCC Yellow – the team consisting of Jaden Baptista, Chen-Wei Chou and Daniel Schaffield – took First Place honors among two-year schools. Also competing were SBCC Blue: Ricardo Arana, Sarah Duncan and Aleksandar Nisavic; and SBCC Red: Paulo Aguirre, Jordan Ayvazian and Vanessa Santillan.

“The ICPC SoCal contest is a unique experience that allows us to apply our in-class knowledge by working together to solve challenging problems,” said Chen-Wei Chou of SBCC Yellow. “SBCC provided me a good opportunity to join this event, to encourage us to gain insights from one instance in programming and apply them to other cases.”

Summarizing her experience, Vanessa Santillan said, “The competition was the most fun five hours of programming ever! As a woman in tech, I realized how significant my presence and participation are in these events. I hope to compete again.”

In addition to hosting regional contests, the ICPC is a global platform that allows academia and industry to shine the spotlight on — and raise the aspirations of — the next generation of computing professionals as they pursue excellence.

Computer Science professor and coach Stephen Strenn expressed how proud he is of the students: “They studied and trained and collaborated to solve interesting problems. And I have to say that after two years of pandemic, it was really refreshing to spend some quality time with our quality students.”

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