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[The Road to the Gold Medal] Ding Lihuang: a member of PKU Team in the 42nd ACM-ICPC World Final

MAY . 04 2018
Peking University, April 30, 2018: “It is much more interesting to write programs than anything else,” said Ding Lihuang, a member of PKU Team in the 42nd ACM-ICPC World Final. Ding, who is also a freshman from School of Mathematical Sciences, Peking University, has studied programming for nearly 7 years since junior high school. He was admitted to Peking University because of his performance in Mathematical Olympiads, but even when he was preparing for Mathematical Olympiads, he did not give up learning programming.

Ding is proud and happy of writing good code. The experience of participating in Mathematical Olympiads complemented his study of programming. Learning programming made Ding fast at calculation. Exercises for Mathematical Olympiads, on the other hand, fostered in him clear logic and broad thinking.

As the only team member from School of Mathematical Sciences, Ding was responsible for designing a series of algorithms to solve problems under the given scenario. When the other two team members were answering a question, he needed to think ahead about the algorithm for the next one.

Ding Lihuang

This was the first time for Ding to participate in the contest. He was proud and excited to be able to compete against all the top players.

Ding recounted that the team not only overcame the initial disadvantages and calmly turned the table, but also managed to submit the answer to Question G at the last minute. Eventually, they solved 8 questions and won the gold medal. “Thanks to many strong teams which have not performed well, we are able to get a good score,” Ding said humbly.

“If there is anything about the team that needs to be improved, it is to further strengthen communication skills,” said Ding, “It is not easy for me to get them to understand the algorithms and it takes longer than other strong teams. It also takes more time to debug.”

In addition to the curriculum of School of Mathematics Sciences, Ding spent almost all his spare time on training. He often trained with Ji Ruyi and Hong Huadun together, solving problems and doing simulation exercises online. They were good friends in private.

At the time of the interview, Ding was preparing for the mid-term exams. However, he looked brilliant instead of hurried or tired, for the simple reason that he has always been doing what he is interested in.

Written by: Ma Yaoli
Edited by: Hu Rong
Source: PKU News (Chinese)