Three Brigham Young University teams of computer-programming students recently pitted their abilities at the keyboard against teams from universities around the western U.S. and Canada at BYU and four other locations.
The conglomeration of cerebral muscle constituted the Rocky Mountain regional competition of the Association for Computing Machinery's International Collegiate Programming Contest, sponsored by IBM.
After the silicon chips settled at the close of the five-hour melee, BYU's four teams scored higher than any other Utah higher education institution.
Students Van Phillips, Tom Finnigan and Adam Helps-- team "Enigmatic Fork"--emerged with second prize overall and an invitation to the international competition finals next March in Los Angeles. The other three BYU teams placed third, ninth and thirteenth overall, illustrating BYU's impressive abilities in the computer-programming field.
"All four teams from BYU showed impressive strength," says coach Cory Barker of the BYU computer science faculty. "They are a fair representation of typical students in computer science at BYU. I'm excited about having a team from BYU advance to the world finals, but I'm even more impressed by having four teams that performed well."
The competition consisted of 70 teams from colleges around the Intermountain region that were given eight problem sets to solve with programming know-how, generous ingenuity and teamwork. The team to solve the problems in the least amount of time with the fewest mistakes won.
Essentially, a semester's worth of programming work was completed in one afternoon, with a clock looming overhead and judges breathing down necks craned at dancing computer screens.
"Enigmatic Fork" is one of only two teams selected from the Rocky Mountain region to attend the international competition March 22-26. They will face 63 other teams selected from thousands of teams representing more than 100,000 students of computing at more than 1,100 universities on six continents. The preliminaries alone attracted 17,000 participants from 67 different countries.
For more information, visit *~*http://www.acm.org/contest*~* or call Amy Oppenheim at (215) 790-4404.
Writer: Craig Kartchner