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Moratuwa Univ. students surpass world’s best in programming skills

Moratuwa University students have shown the whole world that Sri Lankans can match, and surpass, the world’s best programmers with their exceptional intellectual performance.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is the world’s premier technical professional society in the fields of Electrical, Electronics and Computer Engineering with its membership spanning 160 countries.

The no. 1 team from Moratuwa University (from left) Lilantha Polpitiya, Chethiya Abeysinghe and Varuna Jayasiri

IEEEXtreme is a global challenge in which teams of student members compete in a 24-hour time span against each other to solve a set of programming problems. One thousand five hundred and fifteen teams from 65 countries participated in this year’s competition.

Largest ever contingent

With the sharpened experience gained by the successes over past two years, this was the most awaited coding competition for our undergraduates. IEEEXtreme 5.0 commenced on Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 5.30 am local time.

Moratuwa University started the competition this year by breaking a record. 100 3-member teams from Moratuwa University IEEE Student branch took part in the competition, almost three times last year’s number, and the largest ever contingent worldwide. “I was impressed that almost all the 300 participants stayed the course, until 5.30 a.m. on Sunday, and submitted their answers to the problems”, said Prof. Gihan Dias, IEEEXtreme 5.0 academic co-ordinator.

At the end of the competition, our teams stood up to the task bringing glory home again not only becoming as runners up but also getting 9th place out of over 1,500 teams.

Moratuwa not only had 10 teams in the top 100, but an amazing 30 teams in the top 200.

“I am extremely proud of this performance. Fifteen percent of the top teams are from Moratuwa. No other university anywhere can match this,” said Prof. Sisil Kumarawadu, the IEEE Student Branch Counsellor.

One team

The competition brought the academic staff, competitors, organizers and even non academic staff to one team, who were always wishing and contributing to their fullest, to go towards just one expectation, to make the university proud.

It was no wonder when team ‘CeylonSpiro’ from our university was on top of the rankings from the beginning. “I’m not surprised,” said Dr. Rohan Munasinghe, chairman of the IEEE Sri Lanka Section. “They were the same individuals who were the world champions in IEEEXtreme 3.0 - Varuna Jayasiri, Chethiya Abeysinghe and Lilantha Polpitiya.”

Moratuwa University

All three of them are final year B.Sc. Engineering students. Lilantha is majoring in Electrical Engineering whereas Varuna and Chethiya are from Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering. Varuna is an alumnus of Royal College, Colombo. Chethiya and Lilantha are from Maliyadeva College, Kurunegala. All of them have experience participating in coding competitions even from school age. Lilantha, who is also a former chairman of IEEE student branch, said, “You gave us all marvellous encouragement and unforgettable support. Nangila and Mallila, Thank you very much!”

Team ‘Selachimorpha’, comprising Kirthevasan Kandasamy, Manuranga Perera and Maleen Abeydeera who are second and third year students, was ranked 9th, heralding the dawn of another brilliant achievement in the very near future. Kandasamy said “We were a bit slow to start, but we caught up at the end”. When we asked him what ‘Selachimorpha’ meant, all he said was, “look in Wikipedia.” Go, Mora!

Challenging task

Conducting the event was a challenging task taken up by the IEEE Moratuwa University student branch. Keeping 300 participants and over 50 organizers and staff fed and comfortable, was not a simple task. The executive committee, student members and WIE members take the credit for organizing the massive event without a single hitch. The major part, of course, was played by our Student Branch chairman, Pasan Pethiyagoda.

“Our gratitude is extended to the Vice Chancellor, Deans of Engineering and IT and heads of the departments for their guidance and support, and the LK Domain Registry for their financial support. Staff members, who are also IEEE members, worked as proctors for the competition, ensuring that the competition was conducted strictly according to the rules and regulations,” said Pasan. With the interest rising exponentially among the undergraduates, we can expect even wider participation in the future, which would bring glory to the university.

For more info: please contact Prof. Gihan Dias - 0777-761626


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