Competition puts CSCI and Math Students Skills to the Test

Future pro­gram­mers from UW-Superior brought their skills to the battlefield.

On April 20th, a very inter­est­ing con­test that included com­puter sci­ence stu­dents from all lev­els was set up to prove the abil­i­ties of our future pro­gram­mers. The clock started tick­ing at 12:00 p.m. in Swen­son 3011, a famil­iar place for com­puter sci­ence stu­dents. The dif­fer­ence this time was that they were meet­ing in front of the com­put­ers to show off their skills instead of to learn.

A set of 7 ques­tions were posted, and the machines started run­ning. The pro­gram­ming lan­guage selected for the con­test was Java, a general-purpose, lan­guage that has been designed to have as few depen­den­cies as pos­si­ble. It is intended to let appli­ca­tion devel­op­ers write once, and run any­where. This means that code that runs on one plat­form does not need to be recom­piled to run on another. Java is the pre­ferred com­puter lan­guage used in com­puter sci­ence classes at UW– Supe­rior. That is why the com­pe­ti­tion was divided in two cat­e­gories, those who have taken CSCI 303 and those who have not. The teams were com­posed of one or two stu­dents, with the high­est level of pro­gram­ming of either part­ner deter­min­ing the pro­gram­ming category.

Every ques­tion sub­mit­ted in the sys­tem counted for 1 point. The con­tender with the higher score was the win­ner. About 45 min­utes in the com­pe­ti­tion, the first change in the score­board arose and set the bar higher for the other con­testers. Three and a half hours later, the timer stopped, all the par­tic­i­pants raised their heads to check the results in the big screen pro­jec­tion of the score­board. After all the sub­mis­sions, the con­test resumed with Kris­t­ian Vat­saas in sec­ond place and Michael LaVal­ley as the undis­puted winner.

2 points and only 3 min­utes of penalty time made LaVal­ley the win­ner of the first place, plus the recog­ni­tion of his peers. All the par­tic­i­pants received diplo­mas for their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the con­test; the first two places received plaques for their work and prizes from the Math and –com­puter sci­ence club. At the end the par­tic­i­pants had the oppor­tu­nity to ask ques­tion and check some of the pos­si­ble solu­tions for the prob­lems. Once the stress of the com­pe­ti­tion dis­si­pated, there was an oppor­tu­nity for stu­dents and orga­ni­za­tion, to min­gle and share pizza, soda and ideas for future con­tests. The math and com­puter sci­ence club is already think­ing about the next semes­ter com­pe­ti­tion, this time with a dif­fer­ent set of ques­tions and a new oppor­tu­nity for stu­dents to test their knowl­edge out of the classroom.

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