A high-scoring final in the annual BCS Programming Competition saw a team of former students at London University's Imperial College emerge as champions.
University teams were in a minority in the final for the first time in the competition's 21-year history, but they made up for it by coming second, third, fifth and seventh in the final results.
The competition is for teams of up to five people, including a team manager, who solve problems against the clock. Teams that complete the same number of problems are ranked according to their total elapsed time.
This year most of the 11 teams used Java; others used C, C++ and C#. The event tests teamwork and management as well as programming skills, not least because the teams only have one PC.
The finalists had come through from regional heats of more than 40 teams. In some years, completing five problems has been enough to win, but this year, three teams completed an impressive seven each. They were the teams of Imperial College graduates, Trinity College Dublin and current Imperial College students.
Three teams finished six problems: IBM's Hursley Laboratory, which hosted the final, one of two teams from the University of East Anglia, and a team of two former Manchester University students.
The second University of East Anglia team completed five problems, and then came four industry teams: software consultancy Edgespace, which also completed five problems, games software specialist Creative Assembly, systems and services company Capula, and software and services company Boss Computing.
The competition was sponsored by IBM and Microsoft.