Students headed to world competition

Computer science team first from Mount A to earn spot at programming competition World Finals

Computer science students headed to world finals.

William Fiset, Finn Lidbetter, and Micah Stairs have made the Mount Allison history books as the University’s first team to qualify for the World Finals of the International Collegiate Programming Contest.

The team qualified by placing third at the regional competition, which offers some of the toughest competition in North America, with teams from schools like MIT and Harvard.

The grueling competition gave teams five hours to solve eight programming problems.

Liam Keliher, associate professor of computer science at Mount Allison and the team’s coach, says the students put in countless hours to achieve their goal.

“In January 2016 I started a weekly practice year-round, but they put in an incredible amount of time on their own,” he says. “It is a very significant accomplishment. It is hard to reach that level without a lot of focus and a lot of work. They earned it.”

More than 40,000 students from 2,700 universities in 100 countries take part in the programming competition. Only 128 teams make it to the finals. This is only the fourth time a team from Atlantic Canada has made the cut.

Both Fiset and Stairs have jobs lined up with Google after graduation in May. Lidbetter is planning to pursue a Master’s degree in theoretical computer science next year.

The World Finals take place in Rapid City, South Dakota in May.

Photo caption: (L-R) William Fiset, Micah Stairs, and Finn Lidbetter.