Cypress Woods HS alumnus set to compete in ICPC World Finals

August 7, 2020

Cypress Woods High School 2015 graduate and current University of Texas at Dallas student Darrin Wiley, left, qualified for the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) World Finals, scheduled for June 2021 in Moscow, Russia. Wiley has been competing in computer science competitions since he was a student at Cypress Woods. (Photo courtesy UT Dallas)Cypress Woods High School 2015 graduate and current University of Texas at Dallas student Darrin Wiley, left, qualified for the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) World Finals, scheduled for June 2021 in Moscow, Russia. Wiley has been competing in computer science competitions since he was a student at Cypress Woods. (Photo courtesy UT Dallas)

Aug. 7, 2020—Cypress Woods High School 2015 graduate and current University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) student Darrin Wiley has qualified for the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) World Finals, scheduled for June 19-24, 2021, in Moscow, Russia.

Wiley and his teammates, An Q. Nguyen and Duy Vu, advanced to the ICPC World Finals after placing 15th out of 65 teams at the ICPC North America Championship in February.

The World Finals will feature 140 teams from 111 countries, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgia Tech University and the University of Texas at Austin.

Wiley has been involved in computer science competitions since his time at Cypress Woods and won notable competitions, including HP’s CodeWars and the UTD’s Battle of the Brains.

“My high school computer science teacher put me on a team and I did really bad, but I had a lot of fun so I kept competing and eventually we got a lot better,” Wiley said. “It became my passion in high school and I ended up coming to UTD because of its competitive programming.”

Wiley and his teammates qualified for the ICPC World Finals in Wiley’s last year of eligibility.

“I’ve been competing for UTD for the last five years with the goal of going to worlds and for the last three, we narrowly missed qualifying,” Wiley said. “We solved the same number of problems as the teams that advanced, just a little too slowly. Making worlds after five years of hard work, on my last year of eligibility, is a great feeling.”

At the ICPC World Finals, teams of three solve problems over the course of five hours. Teams must design and implement algorithms that solve problems under strict time and space limits. Skills needed to win include problem-solving, advanced algorithms, data structures, mathematics, abstract thinking, programming languages and teamwork.

“Think about solving for the length of one side of a triangle when you are given two sides,” Wiley said. “We aren’t trying to find the answer, exactly; rather we want to create an equation that will give us the right answer regardless of the given measurements. That’s what we do in the competitions, but with code.”

Stacey Armstrong, Wiley’s high school computer science teacher, is not surprised Wiley qualified for the ICPC World Finals.

“Darrin was an integral part of the computer science team while here at Cy Woods,” Armstrong said. “His teams always did exceptionally well and Darrin made it to the UIL state competition as a senior and finished in the top 10. Darrin is the only Wildcat to have made it to the World Finals at the collegiate level. This is a testament to his talent and determination. Darrin is a great person as well as a great student. He always went out of his way while at the Woods to help younger students and continues to do this at the University of Texas at Dallas as a member of the Code Burners. Hopefully, Darrin will continue to be a mentor as a teacher one day.”

Wiley will begin working on his Ph.D. in computer science then hopes to become a computer science teacher to help students become top competitive programmers.

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