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Bethel College students place in ACM programming competition

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. - Bethel College student teams of computer programmers placed second and fourth among Kansas teams competing in the annual ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) International Collegiate Programming Contest Nov. 9 at Emporia State University. The teams also ranked 41st and 56th out of 156 teams in the North Central Region contest, which included 56 colleges and universities. Members of the Bethel team which finished second among Kansas teams included Denis Antipov, senior from Wichita; Jesse Overright, sophomore from Normal, Ill.; and Ian Schmidt, junior from Walton.

The team that placed fourth among Kansas teams consisted of Rafael Feijo, sophomore from Lima, Peru; Allison Penner, junior from West Chester, Ohio; and Daniel Regier, sophomore from Newton.

Tim Buller, instructor of system administration, accompanied the team to the contest. David S. Janzen, assistant professor of computer science, served as team coach.

"The ACM programming contest is a wonderful opportunity for our students to highlight their problem-solving and programming skills," Janzen said. "We sent two young teams who performed very well in a highly competitive environment." The contest is sponsored by IBM. This year 3,082 teams participated in preliminary and regional contests at 94 regional sites. Students represented 67 countries and six continents.

"I’m really proud of our Bethel students," Janzen said. "The contest is a fun way for students to apply and improve their computing and collaboration skills." Described as a battle of the brains, the contest pits teams of three university students against eight or more complex, real-world problems, with a five-hour deadline. Huddled around a single computer, competitors 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, design test beds, and build software systems that solve the problems under the scrutiny of expert judges.

Fostering creativity, teamwork and innovation in building new software programs, the contest enables students to test their ability to perform under pressure. It is the oldest, largest and most prestigious programming contest in the world, according to IBM.

"Despite the technical nature of computer programming, I think the best way to learn it is in the context of a small liberal arts college," Janzen said. "We have bright students who receive individual attention and learn to think and communicate across multiple disciplines."

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