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CSE Society of Competitive Programmers elevates USF's status in the hacking community

October 18, 2019

SCP at Metropolitan Ministries

The Computer Science and Engineering student organization Society of Competitive Programmers (SCP) is transforming USF into a competitive hacking school. Before 2018, USF had a ranking of seventh in the state and 114th overall. After the organization was founded in January of 2018, USF rose to second in the state, and 44th overall out of more than 3,000 schools in North America, in less than two years.

These rankings are issued in the yearly report from Major League Hacking (MLH). According to the MLH website, “Major League Hacking is the official student hackathon league. We organize the hackathon seasons in North America and Europe and support the 75,000 student hackers who participate annually in student hackathons.”

In the 2018-2019 season, Hackabull, USF’s hackathon, was established as a full MLH affiliated hackathon. During this season, SCP travelled to more than 10 hackathons, allowing more than 100 students to participate, some for the first time. Support from companies like JPMorgan Chase and Qualcomm have made SCP’s participation in these competitions possible. 

According to SCP president Jamshidbek Mirzakhalov, SCP was established, “with the purpose of creating a hackathon and innovation culture among USF students by encouraging and supporting students in preparation for various hackathon and programming competitions.” SCP’s membership grew from 10 students to about 350 active members in the last year and a half.

So far this semester, SCP has attended hackathons at University of Pennsylvania, MIT and Florida International University. They plan to compete in hackathons at Harvard, FSU and Georgia Tech later this semester. “Our goal for the next year's rankings is to finally become the 1st in Florida and crack top 25 overall, which is pretty ambitious given the popularity of schools such as UF within the hackathon community,” Mirzakhalov stated.

Beyond bringing the hacking culture to USF, SCP also gives back to the community by volunteering with the Metropolitan Ministries. Each Monday afternoon, members of SCP gather to mentor and collaborate with students on their robotics competitions. According to the Metropolitan Ministries website, “Metropolitan Ministries currently has a robotics team, Coding Hope, which competes throughout the season. In an effort to encourage the natural talents, curiosity, and spirit of our students, we actively participate in STEAM programming.”

SCP and its members have made a positive impact on the community, USF students, the CSE department and USF as a whole.