École polytechnique: Two silver medals for l’X at the SWERC programming contest

Two teams of students from l’X ranked respectively 4th and 6th at the prestigious Southwestern Europe Regional Contest (SWERC) 2020-2021 organized by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and hosted online by Institut Polytechnique de Paris.

École Polytechnique bagged two silver medals at the SWERC (Southwestern Europe Regional Contest) programming competition, its teams ranking respectively 4th and 6th.

SWERC is a 5-hour programming contest for teams of three students, focused on algorithmic problem solving and practical coding. It is open to teams from France, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland. SWERC serves as the regional selection phase for the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC).

The 2020-2021 edition was organised by Institut Polytechnique de Paris and took place on March 6th-7th as an online contest due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year, 12 students from l’X were involved in the contest. Overall, 109 teams took part in the contest, coming from 51 institutions from 6 southwestern European countries: France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Israel. Last year, l’X won the contest as well as a gold and a silver medal.

To win the contest, students need to excel in mathematics, algorithmics and programming. L’X students were supported by the Computer Science Department of l’X, especially Eric Goubault, to help them with their training. Coaches Nathanaël Courant and Hang Zhou organised regular training sessions and prepared the teams.

“Despite many difficulties in preparing for the SWERC 2020-2021 contest, notably because of the lockdown and remote training, our students trained every week, with several sessions per week, including evenings and weekends, for a year,” Hang Zhou emphasized.

For the students, being involved in the ACM SWERC contest can be a career booster. In the short term, this experience can lead to an internship, the integration of a master or PhD in the best international universities. This experience can also help students to get a job in large international companies such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple or IBM.