Baylor Team Places Fifth In Computer Programming Contest

Nov. 5, 2002

by Judy Long

A Baylor University team of undergraduate computer programmers placed fifth out of 75 teams at the regional competition of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) International Collegiate Programming Contest Nov. 2 at Louisiana State University.

Students representing Baylor were juniors Jack Gorman from Snyder, Nathaniel Glass from Richwood and Josh Shelton from Graceville, Fla.

"Our team is young, and they can compete again next year," said the team's coach, computer science professor David Sturgill, who accompanied them to LSU. "Only two schools actually beat us. The University of Texas sent three teams, which came in first, second and third, and the team from LSU came in fourth."

In the contest, teams race to solve six to eight real-world programming challenges in five hours, which is equivalent to completing a semester's worth of computer programming in one afternoon. Each team huddles around a single computer to race against the clock in a battle of logic, strategy and mental endurance. Teammates collaborate to rank the difficulty of the problems, deduce the requirements and build software systems that solve the problems under the intense scrutiny of expert judges.

The first and second place winners of the competition will compete in the international contest March 22-26, 2003, in Los Angeles. In all, more than 17,000 students worldwide will participate in this year's event.

Baylor has played an integral part in the contest almost since its inception, thanks to the involvement of computer science professor Bill Poucher, who has served as the contest's director since 1985. Under Poucher, the international contest has grown to involve more than 1,200 universities in 69 countries competing at the various regional competitions.

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