At the 2023 North America Championship (NAC) of the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC), held in Orlando, Florida, on May 29, three Samueli School of Engineering computer science students Niklil Roashan Selvam, Rishi Sankar, and Jason Liu represented UCLA. Guided by their coach David Smallberg, a UCLA Teaching Professor, they formed the team known as UCLA Tortellini.

Organized by ICPC Foundation, the ICPC is a global algorithmic programming contest open to college students from around the world. It is designed to foster creativity, teamwork, innovation, and the ability to perform under pressure. Through training and competition, teams of three,  teams of three from different universities challenge each other to invent trustworthy software systems that solve a range of complex, real-world problems. Today, the ICPC is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious programming contest in the world, having over 320,000 ICPC alumni including more than 58,973 students from 3,407 universities in 104 countries within the last year. 

For NAC, training begins at the local university, utilizing free educational resources provided by the ICPC community. Students participate in a variety of online training and competition opportunities, including the ICPC North America Qualifiers (ICPC NAQ). Each university selects one or more teams of three students to participate in the ICPC North America Regional Contests, hosted by universities throughout North America. The top teams from these regional contests will advance to the ICPC NAC 2023.

UCLA Tortellini, one of the 51 qualified student teams from the US and Canada, showcased their expertise in the National Security Agency (NSA)-sponsored North American Championship (NAC). Prior to the main event, the NSA presented a challenge problem, and UCLA’s team achieved an impressive third place in the NSA Challenge. During the main contest, consisting of 13 problems labeled A through M, UCLA Tortellini worked collaboratively on a single computer and demonstrated their exceptional skills by solving seven problems within a five-hour time frame. Their outstanding performance not only secured them a First-To-Solve award for Problem G but also earned them an invitation to the esteemed World Finals event, set to take place in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, in November. This accomplishment marks the fourth time in the past eight years that UCLA teams have achieved such recognition, highlighting the university’s remarkable programming excellence and unwavering dedication to the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC).