The Mount Allison Programming Showdown (MAPS 2020), an open, online programming competition, is taking place this Saturday, March 28, 2020 from 1 – 6 p.m. (ADT). The annual virtual competition, organized by Mount Allison students, faculty, and alumni, is welcoming more than 300 teams from over 30 countries, and counting.
Dr. Liam Keliher, Mount Allison University associate professor, Math and Computer Science, and chair of the MAPS 2020 committee, says these kinds of virtual competitions are valuable learning opportunities for students.
“Programming competitions like this allow students to test their skills and work on challenging algorithmic problems in a friendly battle with teams from all over the world,” he says. “It’s a great experience for them to prepare for and take part in this kind of event.”
Along with Keliher, Mount Allison Computer Science alumni Finn Lidbetter, Micah Stairs, and William Fiset have also volunteered their time and talents as members of the MAPS 2020 organizing committee. All three graduates participated in similar competitions as students at Mount Allison, and are currently working in the technology sector.
Registered teams (up to three people) and individuals will work to complete 12 problems remotely over a five-hour period. Following the format of the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC), MAPS 2020 features an original set of problems, some of which were created by Mount Allison students as a challenging co-curricular activity.
Fourth-year Computer Science and Commerce student Graeme Zinck of Charlottetown, PEI will be competing in this weekend’s MAPS competition. Zinck was on the Mount Allison team that received first place in the 2018 and 2019 Science Atlantic programming competitions and represented the University at the national ‘Hack the North’ hackathon event in 2018. He is also the co-founder of MtA Hacks, which organized the University’s first hackathons in 2019 and a second event in 2020. He will be continuing his studies with a master’s in Computer Science at the University of Waterloo next year.
“The Mount Allison Programming Showdown is a particularly remarkable opportunity because students can author their own problems. It’s not easy: you have to precisely define the problem, think of every way competitors could mess up, and write test cases that ensure only correct answers are accepted. Nevertheless, it’s worth it: students learn how to formally define problems and solutions, which is essential for any kind of large-scale project.”
Participants and spectators will be able to watch the scoreboard throughout Saturday’s competition, beginning at 1 p.m. Atlantic: https://maps20.kattis.com/standings
For more information or to register a programming team or individual, please visit: https://maps20.kattis.com/