Cedarville Programming Team Tops in Ohio

by Public Relations Office—Cedarville, Ohio

Cedarville, Ohio—Cedarville University computer science students recently honed their analytical thinking and programming skills through direct competition with some of the region’s best student programmers.

At the 2008 Regional Programming Contest in Cincinnati, sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery, Cedarville’s top team finished seventh overall among 123 teams and first among Ohio schools. They placed higher than other well-known college and university teams such as the University of Cincinnati, the Ohio State University, the University of Michigan and the University of Pittsburgh. In total, 65 different schools participated in the competition.

In a grueling five-hour contest requiring programming skill, ingenuity and mental endurance, the top Cedarville team stayed on task to solve four of eight complex contest problems. Ordinarily, writing a few programs may not seem like much; but these problems were equivalent to a semester’s worth of computer programming — in one afternoon! “We view these contests as great tools for developing the problem-solving skills of our students,” said Dr. David Gallagher, who coached the team along with Dr. Keith Shomper.

Junior computer science and mathematics major Matt Week says, “I was thrilled with how well our team did, and thankful that our professors put so much effort and time into helping us.”

Fellow team member Eric Bell, a senior mathematics major, agreed. “Our professors set up extracurricular meetings designed specifically for this contest. We practiced applying algorithmic techniques and data structures to effectively classify and solve problems. Additionally, we learned to work together, to support one another and to anticipate each other’s errors.”

Bell explained computer science as an exercise in critical thinking. “We develop problem solving skills that prove valuable in academic, professional and personal settings … we must think in logical, analytical ways to correctly and efficiently implement working solutions to problems.”

In addition to Weeks and Bell, the Cedarville teams included Kyle Linden, Ryan Morehart, Eric Smith and Aaron Volenec.