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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 first and third among college and university teams from Kansas competing in the annual Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) International Collegiate Programming Contest Nov. 8 at Emporia State University. The teams also ranked 31st and 49th in the North Central Regional contest, which included 183 teams from Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario and Manitoba. Members of the first place team were Jesse Overright, junior from Normal, Ill., and Ian Schmidt, senior from Walton.

The team that placed third consisted of Rae Dain, sophomore from Wichita, Peter Goerzen, freshman from Goessel, and David Nance, sophomore from Dallas, Texas.

Also participating in the contest were Daniel Regier, junior from Newton, and Rafael Feijo, junior from Lima, Peru.

David Janzen, associate professor of computer science, served as team coach.

"This is a fine group of students," Janzen said. "I really enjoy working with them, and I am thrilled to see them receive this recognition for their abilities and hard work." This was the first time a Bethel team had earned a first-place finish at the Emporia State competition.

Sponsored by IBM and headquartered at Baylor University, the contest is comprised of a global network of universities hosting regional competitions that advance teams to the world finals.

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.

"The programming contest is a lot of fun for the students," Janzen said. "They find the problems challenging, and they enjoy competing."

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.

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