Knox teams show strength at computer programming contest

January 03, 2012

Computer Programming Competition
Knox students Avinab Rajbhandary, Andrei Papancea, and Jason McGeeney in computer programming competition

Knox College scored among the top five liberal arts colleges in the region, in the 2011 Association for Computing Machinery Intercollegiate Programming Contest.

Computer Programming TeamFor the second year in a row Knox fielded three teams in the competition held in November. "We did well, and the competition is getting tougher," said John Dooley, Ingersoll Professor and chair of computer science at Knox.

"A number of Illinois schools brought three or more teams, so the competition was very intense," Dooley said. "All the big universities always have at least one graduate student on their teams and the winning team had three graduate students. It's a sign of increasing interest in the contest and the field of programming."

Knox competes in the Mid-Central USA region that includes Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas. "Knox is fielding strong teams in this contest. We're among the top five liberal arts colleges in the region," Dooley said.

Computer Programming CompetitionThis year 143 teams from 58 colleges and universities competed in Mid-Central regionals at 8 sites. Knox competed November 5 at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

The teams were given five hours to solve eight programming problems of varying difficulty. No team solved all eight; the top team in the region, from the University of Illinois, solved seven; four teams solved six; 29 solved five; the highest ranked Knox team was among 18 teams that solved four. More than half of the teams in the region solved three or fewer of the eight problems.

The Knox Black and Blue Team of Stefan Feer '12, Johnathan Ebbers '13, and Sung Joo Lee '13 solved four problems to come in ninth at the UI-Springfield site and in 48th place out of 143 teams in the region.

Computer Programming CompetitionKnox's other teams each solved two problems. The Gold Team of Andrei Papancea '14 (photo, right), Jason McGeeney '13, and Avinab Rajbhandary '14 came in 15th at the site and 101st in the region; while the Purple Team of Casey Samoore '12, Kathleen Chalas '13, and Paige Anderson '14 (above, right) finished 16th at the U of I - Springfield site and 115th in the region.

The coaches for the programming teams are Dooley and assistant professors David Bunde and Jaime Spacco. Max Galloway-Carson, a 2011 Knox graduate and post-baccalaureate fellow, served as an assistant coach.

Teams from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Chicago advance to the World Finals at the University of Warsaw in Warsaw, Poland in March 2012.