Wildcats take byte out of IBM competition

Yin Xiao – News editor. Linfield students competed in one of the world’s most prestigious computer programming competitions in a decisive regional round Nov. 7.
Teams of three were challenged to use their programming skills to solve 11 complex, real-world problems within a grueling five-hour deadline in the Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest sponsored by IBM.
“The goal is to be fast, exactly perfect and not to make any mistakes,” Daniel Ford, assistant professor of computer science and coach of the Linfield teams, said. “Compared to the huge schools in Oregon, we did a good job.”
This year, two Linfield teams participated: Robert Ferrese, Sam Shryrock and Erick Loden, all juniors; and junior Julianne Upton, senior Tamir Lkhamsuren and junior Katherine Grainey.
Lkhamsuren, computer science major, competed in the contest for the first time. His team solved three problems, an improvement on the past three years Linfield has participated.
The problems were difficult, he said, and he was under constant pressure. He said he was proud of the team, although it made small errors that prevented it from completing two other problems.
“Linfield [placed] second best of Oregon colleges, although we didn’t have a program that was able to spend several months [preparing] just for the contest,” Ford said. “The University of Oregon also should be respected. It was one of three teams that solved five problems, which is same amount as [one of three teams of] Stanford University.”
College students from 90 countries on six different continents attended the contest. The contest comprises several levels of competition: local contests, regional contests and the world finals.Large universities usually have local contests first to select the teams that will represent them.
Regional rounds began in the United States on Oct. 18 and will continue through December, continuing on from continent to continent. Only 100 three-person teams will compete in the finals Feb. 5, 2010, which will be hosted by Harbin Engineering University in Harbin, China.

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