Students Place First in Area Programming Contest

11-10-2014

In a five-hour battle of logic, strategy and mental endurance, three Virginia Wesleyan students spent their Saturday afternoon solving computer programming problems Nov. 1 at the Association for Computing Machinery-International Collegiate Programming Contest (ACM-ICPC) Mid-Atlantic Regional Competition. Tyler Chang ’16, Corey Gray ’15, and Thomas Simmons ’16 finished in first place at the local competition site—Christopher Newport University—as they contended against 16 other teams from William & Mary, Hampton University, University of Richmond, Virginia State University and CNU. The annual contest promotes creativity, teamwork, and innovation, while testing students’ ability to perform under pressure. With a single computer, teams are asked to solve eight or more complex problems in a five-hour timeframe. The team that solves the most problems in the fewest attempts in the least cumulative time is declared the winner. Despite the battle against the clock, junior Thomas Simmons did not feel stress or pressure during the competition: “It was thoroughly enjoyable to be able to sit down for five hours, free from distractions, and devote myself to solving, or rather, trying to solve, a handful of enigmatic puzzles...I think what I took away most from the experience is a desire to go back next year.” The ACM-ICPC is comprised of three competition levels: local, regional and world. This year set new records in participation, with more than 30,000 contestants from 2,286 universities in 94 countries on six continents competing at more than 300 sites for a chance to advance to the World Finals. Though VWC’s team won at the local site, they did not place regionally. More