2014 Judges Report

The SBITC is a competition for teams of undergraduate and honours students.  The teams receive a number of problems and have to write the programs to solve the problems.  They do not know the data that will be used to test their programs and incur heavy penalties for submitting incorrect answers.

The Heats are run at universities and the Finals take place in Gauteng.

This year the team of judges was more representative of different universities than ever.  All three judges had taken part in the Challenge before.  Robert Ketteringham was on the Stellenbosch University team for a number of years.  Schalk-Willem Kruger was the backbone of the team from the North-West University for many years while Graham Manuell is a past member of the UCT team.  Chief Judge Peter Waker studied at both Stellenbosch and UCT.


Twelve universities entered.  Some universities entered a large number of teams, not all of them actually took part.

1          Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University                    7 teams

2          North West University                                                 2 teams

3          Rhodes University                                                      6 teams

4          Stellenbosch University                                              2 teams

5          University of Cape Town                                            11 teams

6          University of Johannesburg                                        3 teams

7          University of KwaZulu-Natal                                       10 teams

8          University of Limpopo                                                 6 teams

9          University of Pretoria                                                  3 teams

10        University of the Western Cape                                 9 teams

11        University of the Witwatersrand                                 8 teams

12        Walter Sisulu University                                              10 teams


The contestants and lecturers were treated to a visit to Samrand and given an opportunity to tour the Data Centre in the morning.  What impressed them more was the afternoon presentation when real Standard Bank IT people presented talks on real Standard Bank developments.

  • Nicolas McKenzie on “Standard Bank Mobile Apps”
  • Louis Meiring on “Reusable Framework for IOS development”
  • Brett Upton on “New Platforms utilising Angularjs”
  • Jose Malheiro on “Demo Elastic Search”


For the first time the Finals were held at the new “green” Standard Bank HQ in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

The all glass and stainless steel building has marvelous views over the Johannesburg suburbs, and yet created an atmosphere conductive to high-tech thinking.

One of the problems created by shifting the venue was that the judges’ room was at the end of a semi-circle of competitors’ rooms, necessitating a long walk – or run – for the furthest team.  The rooms were allocated by means of a double-blind random draw.  By happy coincidence the team that was the furthest from the judges was the team that won.

It has become a tradition to introduce a surprise for every Final. For 2014 the surprise was that the two-part question came late in the competition and read nearly the same as one of the questions from the Heats.  Few participants noticed.

Awards Function

The theme for 2014 was “You call it Africa, we call it home”.  There was some enthusiastic Vuvuzela blowing.  For most the evening ended at eleven.  For some, a bit later.


First Place University of Cape Town
Team: A Coupla Mathematicians
Team members: Ashraf Moolla, Dylan Nelson and Sean Wentzel
Questions answered:  6 out of 7 questions, with a bonus for winning the interactive game.
Prizes: R170,000 for the Computer Science Department sponsored by CIB IT
A ten-inch tablet for each of the students; sponsored by DELL

Second Place University of the Witwatersrand
Team: ASync Coms Kru
Team members: Michael Belletti, Jeremy Lai Hong and David Kroukamp
Questions answered: 3 out of 7 questions
Prizes: R20,000 for the Computer Science Department sponsored by CIB IT
An eight-inch tablet for each of the students; sponsored by DELL

Third Place University of Pretoria
Team members: Melany Barnes, Gerard Lamusse, Jimmy Peleha and Daniel Smith
Questions answered: 3 out of 7 questions
Prizes: R10,000 for the Computer Science Department sponsored by CIB IT
A Prestige Multiphone for each of the students; sponsored by DG Store

Runners-up (in alphabetical order)
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Team
North West University Team
Rhodes University Team
Standard Bank
Stellenbosch University
University of KwaZulu-Natal Team
University of the Western Cape Team

No 2 and No 3 team both solved 3 problems.  When this happens the winning team is chosen on time.  The timing is complicated because there is a penalty every time a team submits an incorrect solution.

Is there any significance in the fact that the top two teams had only three members each?

Complete Results

Place Team Name Solved Time 1 2 3 4A 4B 5 6 Comp
1 UCT A Coupla Mathematicians 7 08:31:10 + + + + +   + +
2 WITS ASync Coms Kru 3 05:12:58 +   -1 +   -1 +1  
3 Pretoria SIGSEGV 3 08:59:33 + -1   +     +  
4 NWU NWU3 3 10:16:33 + -7 -2 +     +  
5 Rhodes This is the Team you are looking for 2 07:57:11 +   -1 -1     +4 +
6 UWC Almost Done 1 00:25:07 + -1            
7 NMMU Hack Yes!!! 1 00:47:49 + -1       -1    
8 Standard Bank Baker Street Boys 1 01:09:09 +1 -6   -2        
9 UKZN Please data nerd 1 01:51:47 + -1 -1 -1        
10 Stellenbosch Fat Hair 1 02:59:07 +3 -3   -3        

Some facts and stats
Nine university teams and a Standard Bank teams participated in the finals.

Different teams used different languages as their primary language (primary language: the team made most of their submissions in that language):

Language Count
Java 6
Python 2.x 3
C++ 1

Four teams used more than one language.

Number of submissions per language:

Language Count %
C++ 13 19
Java 40 57
Python 2.x 17 24

No submission was made in Python 3.x.

A breakdown of the submissions by language used shows that of the problem by problem shows the following:

Result C++ Java Python 2 Total
Correct answer 3 12 8 23
Wrong answer 4 14 3 21
Time limit exceeded 2 6 2 10
Abnormal termination of program 3 4 3 10
Compilation failed 0 2 0 2
Format error 1 2 1 4
TOTAL 13 40 17 70

Submission Results
Breakdown of the submission results by problem:

Result 1 2 3 4a 4b 5 6* Total
Correct answer 10 1 1 4 1 0 6 23
Wrong answer 2 7 1 4 0 2 5 21
Time limit exceeded 0 9 0 1 0 0 0 10
Abnormal termination of program 1 2 4 1 0 0 2 10
Compilation failed 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 2
Format error 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 4
Total 15 21 7 11 1 2 13 70

* The teams were allowed to resubmit their solution for the interactive problem.

Number of teams that solved each problem:

Problem Correct submissions
1 10
2 1
3 1
4a 4
4b 1
6 5
  • No team managed to solve all the problems.
  • Every team managed to solve at least one problem.
  • One team managed to solve problem 1a in 8 minutes.


Only five teams submitted a valid solution for the interactive problem. Results of the inter-team playoff (tournament) for the interactive question:

  Team Game Score
1 University of Cape Town 37501
2 University of the Witwatersrand -2103
3 University of Pretoria -2543
4 Rhodes University -3418
5 North-West University -6156


For questions from the Finals see Past Papers.