Robert Barrington Leigh’s teammates say they were looking forward to another year with him on the University of Toronto programming team.
Sean Henderson, who will be going into his fourth year of computer
science at U of T, and Henry Wong, who will be starting his masters in
computer engineering at UBC this fall, won’t get to compete with
Barrington Leigh this year. The body of the third-year mathematics
student was found in a downtown Edmonton creek on Tuesday, over a week
after he was first reported missing.
“The death of Robert
Barrington Leigh is a tragic loss for his family and friends, and for
the mathematics community,” said Edward Bierstone, a mathematics
professor at U of T, in an e-mail, adding he was extremely concerned
when he learned of his disappearance. “It was highly uncharacteristic
of his behaviour to be out of contact with his family, teachers and
friends for even a short period of time.”
20, began his studies at U of T three years ago. Bierstone met him when
he enrolled in his third-year complex analysis course as a first-year
“He was by far the best student in the class,” said
Bierstone, adding that Barrington Leigh was already taking graduate
courses by the time he was in his second year.
ITBusiness.ca spoke with Barrington Leigh at this spring’s IBM ACM or Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) World Finals in San Antonio, Texas. The U of T team tied for 19th place with 20 other teams at this year’s World Finals.
one of Leigh’s teammates, met Barrington Leigh in early 2004 after the
ACM contests that year. In an e-mail, Henderson recalled one of the
first times he practiced with him: “I remember discussing one problem
which Robert had solved,” he said. “I also remember at the time having
no idea how he solved it. Eventually he managed to explain it to me,
and that only made me more impressed.”
other teammate, Wong, said in an e-mail, while he was known for his
mathematical abilities, he excelled in other subjects, such as physics.
had a curiosity in pretty much anything,” said Wong. “I remember
discussing IPv6, a normally boring topic, over pizza during one of our
A Web site
has been set up in Barrington Leigh’s honour where friends and people
who knew him can record a memory. Igor Naverniouk, who met Barrington
Leigh at one of the ACM practices, said he was one of the smartest and
kindest people he has ever met.
“Everyone who knew Robert had
the greatest respect for him,” said Naverniouk in an e-mail. “Everyone
on the team knew what a great person he was, and I doubt I will ever
meet anyone like him.”
Barrington Leigh would have graduated this year.
expected him to go on to graduate studies at one of the world’s top
universities and to have a brilliant career,” said Bierstone.