. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Praises Programmers for Beating the Best in the World

For MTThe St. Petersburg Institute of Fine Mechanics and Optics team celebrating in Prague.
Russian programmers have lived up to their reputation as being among the world's best, winning a prestigious international programming contest in Prague last week.

Three computer science majors from the St. Petersburg Institute of Fine Mechanics and Optics won first place at the 28th International Collegiate Programming Contest, while a team from Perm State University came in fourth -- ahead of U.S. teams from MIT, California Institute of Technology and Harvard University.

"Now those studying at Harvard should transfer to Perm," joked President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with Education and Science Minister Andrei Fursenko on Monday.

Putin said he would meet the winners in the Kremlin.

"I am not surprised by our good showing," said Vladimir Parfyonov, the head of the computer technology department at the winning institute from St. Petersburg. "Our teams have been consistently strong since we first participated in 1994."

Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology came in second and Belarussian State University third. Another Russian contender -- Izhevsk State Technical University -- was ranked eighth.

In the five-hour contest, three-person teams representing 73 universities in 31 countries competed to solve the most problems.

"The excellent results of the Perm and Izhevsk teams were the biggest surprise for me," Parfyonov said. "Just a few years ago, who seriously would have thought they could run against Moscow or St. Petersburg universities?"

MIT, Cal Tech and Harvard were ranked No. 5, No. 7 and No. 9, respectively. Last year's winner, Warsaw University, came in tenth.

Last year Moscow State University ranked second and St. Petersburg Institute of Fine Mechanics and Optics third.

St. Petersburg University won the ICPC in 2000 and 2001.