Engineering Nebraska, Summer07
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Student Programmers Place in Top 30 in World Competition

Pisetsky, Stolee, Meinders, Coach Charles Riedesel and Assistant Coach Jeff Ifland

Three University of Nebraska–Lincoln students returned from spring break with some serious bragging rights. The computer programming team of Travis Meinders of Pleasant Hill, Iowa, Yuliy Pisetsky of Omaha and Derrick Stolee of Perham, Minn., placed 26th overall at the World Finals of the Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest in Tokyo.

The UNL trio tied with teams from 18 other schools and tied for fourth among U.S. schools along with Stanford and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Travis Meinders, Yuliy Pisetsky, and Derrick Stolee with their trophy

“This is an amazing achievement for UNL,” said David Keck, director of the J.D. Edwards Honors Program in Computer Science and Management. “The team’s coach, Chuck Riedesel, and Rick Sincovec, the chair of the computer science department, deserve a lot of credit. This is an indication that our graduates are absolutely world class. This contest is widely known and respected, and computer science departments worldwide put a great deal of effort into it. And while UNL teams have competed in the world finals for the last several years, which is a huge honor in and of itself, this year we placed with the very top technical universities worldwide.”

More than 6,099 teams representing 1,756 universities from around the world participated in regional ACM-ICPC competitions last fall. The top 88 teams competed in Tokyo March 12-16. The three UNL seniors, all students in the J.D. Edwards Honors Program, placed ahead of teams from Carnegie Mellon, Duke, Cornell and Harvard universities. The American teams that scored higher than the UNL team were from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the California Institute of Technology and the University of Texas at Dallas. Poland’s Warsaw University took top honors.

Derrick Stolee, Yuliy Piesetsky, and Travis Meinders

“It’s interesting to see how well the Russian and Chinese schools performed, because we’re always reading that they’re taking over the world market for software development,” Keck said. “But it’s worth noting that those teams are probably carefully picked by their universities, and they probably practice hours a day. They go to all kinds of lengths that we’re not going to. In our case, the team is just some friends who get together to practice and have fun doing it.”

—Office of University Communications