Programming team earns third place at regional competition

Programming Team 2

Alan Nieto, Giuseppe Vietri and Nathan Mackay (left to right) represented the FIU-SCIS Programming Team and brought home third place at a regional computer science conference.

By Joel Delgado ’12 MS ’17 

Six members of the FIU-SCIS Programming Team drove up to Fort Lauderdale in early April to represent FIU in the skills competition portion of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Region 3 SoutheastCon Conference.

Divided into two teams of three members apiece, each team was tasked with solving eight different programming problems on a single computer during a three-hour timeframe. The team that solved the most problems by writing a computer program that worked correctly won the contest.

The FIU team of computer science majors Nathan Mackay, Alan Nieto and Giuseppe Vietri successfully solved four of the eight problems given to them and finished in third place out of the 26 schools that competed on April 11. FIU only finished behind regional powerhouses Duke and the University of Central Florida, respectively.

“We weren’t expecting that result. We had asked one of the teams how they did and thought we weren’t going to end up placing. That team ended up being one of the teams that beat us,” said Mackay, a junior.

The annual conference brings together computer scientists, electrical and computer engineering professionals and faculty and students from across the Southeastern United States to share the latest information in their fields.

The third-place finish put the team ahead of teams like Georgia Tech, the University of Florida and the University of Miami; it was one of the best showings for the team in more than a decade.

Now the team will be gearing up for the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Southeast regional competition this fall. They hope to qualify for the World Finals, which determines the world champion team.

“It’s very motivating,” Mackay continued. “The team is really stepping up and is trying to place in the competitions we go to and win instead of going just for the experience.”

For more information on the FIU-SCIS Programming Team, go to their website.