UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- With cash prizes and bragging rights on the line, char mander and The ["Hip","Hip"]s were the victors at the CodePSU programming competition held Oct. 19.
Modeled after the Association for Computing Machinery's (ACM) International Collegiate Programming Contest, CodePSU tasked teams of one to three students with solving 10 problems over a four-hour timeframe. Teams were divided into two tiers -- intermediate and advanced -- based on level of experience.
Computer science undergraduates Tian Zhou and Yang Meng and computer engineering senior Ruiwen Su worked together as char mander, winner of the advanced tier.
Engineering undergraduates Nicholas Denaro and William Bittner comprised The ["Hip","Hip"]s, the intermediate tier champions.
The third time was a charm for team char mander. Su noted, "We have had the same team every semester. The first time we received fourth place in the intermediate tier, and second time we got third place in the advanced tier."
Meng added, "I knew there were many teams with more skilled and competitive participants than us. I think we won because we had more contest experience."
Their approach also was strategic. Su said, "We scanned through all the problems to find the easiest ones then tried to tackle those first. To be the first team correctly submitting a problem definitely helped put us ahead from the very beginning. We also split up the work."
Bittner, who plans to major in computer science, was ecstatic because he had never entered a programming contest. He explained, "The questions were of such a complexity that to get a real sense of what we wanted to write, not just an abstract idea of how to accomplish the task, we needed to talk through the code."
The top three teams in each tier received cash prizes. Zhou, Meng and Su received $150 a piece while Denaro and Bittner walked away with $75 each.
A total of 46 teams competed in the contest, which was organized by the student chapters of the ACM and the Association of Women in Computing and sponsored by Cisco, Microsoft, Capital One and Booz Allen Hamilton.