Since 1977 the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) takes place every year. Teams of three students try to solve about 13 programming problems within five hours. What makes this task even harder, is that there is only one computer available per team. The problems demand for solid knowledge of algorithms from all areas of computer science and mathematics, e.g., graphs, combinatorics, strings, algebra, and geometry. To solve the problems, the teams need to find a correct and efficient algorithm and implement it.

The ICPC consists of three rounds. First, each participating university hosts a local contest to find the up to three teams that are afterwards competing in one of the various regional contests. Germany lies in the catchment area of the Northwestern European Regional Contest (NWERC) with competing teams from Great Britain, Benelux, Scandinavia, etc. The winners of all regionals in the world (and some second place holders) advance to the world finals in spring of the following year (2019 in Porto, Portugal).

In 2018 we conducted two local contests in Erlangen. In the winter semester there was a team contest with teams consisting of at most three students. The main goal of this contest was to interest new students in the contests. We had 30 FAU teams plus 57 more teams from universities all over Germany. Before the second contest, as in the previous years, in the summer term the seminar "Hello World - Programming for the Advanced" served to prepare students from different disciplines in algorithms and contest problems. In the German wide contest of the summer term we selected the students that would represent the FAU at the NWERC 2018 in Eindhoven (NL). 30 teams with students of computer science, computational engineering, mathematics as well as informations and communication technology took the challenge. We formed the NWERC teams out of the best participants in the qualifications, given the age restrictions. At the NWERC in Eindhoven, our teams reached places 53, 57 and 63 out of the 119 teams participating.