The ICPC World Finals are certainly one of the most prestigious coding competitions worldwide. It is the dream of every contestant in competitive programming to participate once in the famous ICPC World Finals. Winning a medal in this distinguished contest is the highlight of any competitive programming career.

Only once in history a TUM team qualified for the ICPC World Finals and this incident already dates back to the year 2006. In 2018, however, team TUMbling placed 5th in the NWERC and hence qualified for the 43th ICPC World Finals taking place in Porto, Portugal from the 31st of March to April 5th. After 13 years TUM will be again represented in one of the most prestigious international coding competitions. Moreover, this will be the first time since 2014 that a German university is taking part in the ICPC World Finals. Back then, a team from Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg placed 58th in the competition.

Together with their two coaches team TUMbling boarded the plane to Porto in morning of Sunday March 31st and flew to Porto with a short layover in Madrid. Together with some other ICPC World Finals teams TUM's delegation was picked up from the airport in a bus and brought directly to a luxury 4 star hotel in the heart of Porto. The ICPC foundation paid for the accommodation of the team including their coaches while TUM covered the costs for the flights to Porto.

The ICPC World Finals are embedded in a nice social program. The first day of the week was the Registration/RCD/Host/Sponsor Hospitality Day which, as the name suggests, included the registration of the team, meetings of the Regional Contest Directors (RCD), and tech talks of one of the main sponsors - JetBrains. Tuesday was the Excursion/Opening day. After a city tour through the beautiful historic Porto (see pics below), all World Finals teams participated in the Neural Network Challenge powered by Huawei, the second main sponsor of the finals. In between these events, the contestants mingled, played board games and table tennis. The next day, Wednesday, was dedicated to the Dress Rehearsal for the World Finals. Contestants were explained in detail the rules for the ICPC World Finals, entered the contest area, and were given the chance to test the contest system in a practice session. Unfortunately, the volume of the loud speakers were set so high, that TUM's contestants had to cover their ears during the announcements and finished the practice session with a light headache.

The contest of the 43th ICPC World Finals took place on Thursday. After a quick breakfast the contestants were brought to the contest area, the Alfândega do Porto, which is the former customshouse situated in the historic center of the Porto next to the Douro River. After the first hour of the contest, the coaches were allowed to enter the contest area and sit on a stage to view their teams solving a collection of incredible hard problems. In the end, TUM was ranked 25th out of 135 universities having solved 6 out of 11 problems. With this remarkable result TUMbling were able to finish the contest ahead of the teams from many other prestigious universities throughout the world - including the teams from Havard (26th), Stanford (30th), ETH Zürich (43th), Princeton (59th), Carnegie Mellon (62th), Columbia (83th), and Duke (101th). The winner of the contest was a team from Moskau State University, being the only team having solved 10 out of 11 problems. The final scoreboard of the ICPC World Finals in Porto can be found here. Luckily, all three contestants of team TUMbling are still eligible in the next season so that there might be chance to even win a medal in the upcoming 44th ICPC World Finals that will take place in Moscow next year.

We would like to end this report by thanking ICPC Foundation and the local volunteers from the University of Porto for the professional organization of this great contest! Hopefully it won't take another 13 years until a TUM team qualifies agian for the ICPC World Finals.


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