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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Cubans make their way in programming

Por qubano22005

Cubans seem to reawaken their enthusiasm for the computer’s world and programming. In addition to the recent announcement of being invited to the world programming championship that Google organizes, the Cuba team passing to the final of the ACM-ICPC world contest also generated a stir among the enthusiasts of the island. More than 15 thousand teams were eliminated all over the planet to reach Beijing, where the competition will take place, and of these only 140 achieved it.

Cuba celebrated last November the classification for the first time in the history of three selections for the universal appointment. Although for developed nations it is common to "pull some strings" to get into the ACM-ICPC World Finals, there still are countries that dream of qualifying for the first time to a World Championship.

ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest is an annual programming and algorithmic competition between universities all around the world sponsored by IBM.

For Cubans it has already been an achievement to participate in this kind of event. In addition to the hours devoted to training to overcome any of the challenges frequent in these competitions, there are the economic and daily challenges that these young people have to deal with. Even political challenges are imposed for Cuban contenders. During last year ACM-ICPC’s edition the US embassy in Havana didn’t authorized the visas to the Cuban representatives. Now the Cuban team sUrPRise of the University of Pinar del Rio will attend Beijing not only for receiving a special invitation from the organizers of the event, but also for its excellent score in the regional tournament that once again guaranteed a place for the final.

According to Dovier Antonio Ripoll Méndez, General Coordinator of the ACM-ICPC movement in Cuba, Cuba’s participation is a positive message and prestige the island in terms of competitive programming, and also takes Cuban programmers to the center of international spotlight. Cuba dabbled for the first time in these competitions in 2010, and since then they have been gaining experience and have classified for the regional events.

Although the Internet connectivity in the island is still low, the Caribbean people have entered the group of the best in the world in terms of programming. According to Cubadebate Daniel Enrique Cordobés is the Cuban best placed in the ranking of competitors of the Codeforces website -the most prestigious digital portal among the exponents of competitive programming worldwide. Thanks to the presence of several Cubans among the best in the world, the nation ranks 50th among the more than 120 countries represented.

Cuba is one of the few countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that has achieved success in the finals of this kind of contest. Only Brazil and Argentina join the privileged in obtaining such achievements.

At national level, the largest of the Antilles, in addition to encourage the use of new technologies through the Youth's Club of Computer Sciences and Electronics, an institution that makes computer laboratories available to the people and offers courses, the movement in the universities has also gained strength. Even the Computer Science University develops international training and practice camps that are gradually getting prestige in the region.

Although Cuba owns some very modest software companies, and has managed to get several of its engineers to collaborate with other nations, it still does not have a takeoff in the industry as expected. However, it is possible that with the arrival of Díaz-Canel Bermúdez to the presidency, the island will rise as a prestigious nation regarding software, at least at the regional level. At least the invitation to the two most important championships in the computing world is paving the way.