AUB computer science team finalist in international programming competition

​Safa Jafari Safa, Office of Communications, media@aub.edu.lb​

A team of AUB computer science students have become finalists in the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) World Finals. Senior students Antoine Zouein and Remi Sabaa, master's student Rayan Halal, and their coach, Assistant Professor Mohamad Jaber—all at AUB's Computer Science Department―won the bronze medal in the Arab and Africa Collegiate Programming Competition (ACPC) 2018, which qualified them to the world fina​​ls to be held in April 2019

Following a local contest, the AUB team beat 130 top teams in a regional contest involving Arab and African universities in the 2018 ACPC held in November in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. Now qualified, they will compete in the 2019 ICPC World Finals, which will be hosted by the University of Porto and the City of Porto in Portugal on April 4, 2019. 

“I sincerely congratulate the students, their coach, and AUB for this remarkable achievement," said chair of the Computer Science Department, Dr. Wassim El Hajj. “Lebanon has not been represented internationally in this contest for many years. With clear vision, hard work, talent, and most importantly, dedication, the team was able to win and qualify."

The International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) is an extra-curricular, competitive programming sport for students at universities around the world. It is the premier global programming competition conducted by and for the world's universities. It fosters creativity, teamwork, and innovation in building new efficient ​software solutions, and enables students to test their ability to perform under pressure. The first ICPC competition was hosted in 1970 and, over time, spread within the US and Canada to evolve into a multi-tier worldwide collaborative effort of universities hosting generations of the world's best problem solvers in the computing sciences and engineering in regional competitions that advance teams to the annual global championship round, the ICPC World Finals.


Two teams from AUB's Computer Science Department had participated in the local, Lebanese contest. Both were qualified to participate in the regional contest. The second team, which included Abbass El-Khalil, Ali Sabaa, and Mohsen Shamas solved four problems and presented remarkable work yet did not qualify beyond the regional competition. For almost a year, all teams had been going through intensive training and local competitions. Training sessions included theoretical lectures and practical sessions that aim to help the teams solve problems correctly and efficiently.

“This excellent achievement could not have happened without the tremendous hard work and determination of the talented students," said Dr. Mohamad Jaber. “A special thanks goes to all the members of the Computer Science Department; the chair, Dr. Wassim El Hajj; and the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Nadia El Cheikh, for their continuous and full support. I should also not forget the contribution of alumnus Mohammad Ali Baydoun during the past three years!"

Headquartered at Baylor University, the ICPC operates autonomous regional contests covering six continents culminating in global finals every year. In 2017, around 50,000 students from over 3,000 universities in 111 countries participated. Over 320,000 ICPC alumni populate the professional ranks of high-tech companies, consulting firms, financial institutions, investment firms, high-tech startups, venture-capital firms, academia, and public service.

“These students now have the advantage of being accepted in top-tier graduate schools and became instantly on the radar of big companies such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon, among others. In fact, these companies have been steadily recruiting our students, specifically the ones who train for this contest," said Dr. El Hajj of the AUB team. “To solve hard algorithmic problems and solve them efficiently is what successful companies look for, and this is exactly what we train our students for in the Computer Science Department and AUB."