The ICPC traces its roots to a competition held at Texas A&M in 1970 hosted by the Alpha Chapter of the UPE Computer Science Honor Society.  The idea quickly gained popularity within the United States and Canada as an innovative initiative to raise the aspirations, performance, and opportunity of the top students in the emerging field of computer science.

The contest evolved into a multi-tier competition with the first Finals held at the ACM Computer Science Conference in 1977.  Operating under the auspices of ACM and headquartered at Baylor University since 1989, the contest has expanded into a global network of universities hosting regional competitions that advance teams to the ACM-ICPC World Finals.

Since IBM became sponsor in 1997, ICPC participation has increased by more than 1600%.  This past year, ICPC participation included 40,266 of the finest students and faculty in computing disciplines from 2,736 universities from 102 countries on six continents.

The contest fosters creativity, teamwork, and innovation in building new software programs, and enables students to test their ability to perform under pressure.  Quite simply, it is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious programming contest in the world.

Rapid City and ACM-ICPC

Rapid City is home to the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, the premier engineering university in the state, known informally as the School of Mines. A bachelor’s degree in computer science was begun in 1981 at the School of Mines with a master’s program following in 1986. Recognizing the importance of competitive programming in developing both coding and problem solving skills, the School of Mines has participated in ICPC since 1980.

Teams from the School of Mines have qualified for the World Finals six times since 1998.