University of Missouri computer science students recently were given a chance to show off their skills at an annual programming competition. Co-sponsored by Cerner Corporation, a healthcare information technology supplier, and the MU Association for Computing Machinery chapter the October 18 event attracted 35 competitors.
“The competition helps to build strong programming skills, you get to see how you perform under pressure and it’s a great opportunity to network,” senior computer science major and MU-ACM President Ian Graves said.
Competition consists of two separate events. The first was a Java/C/C++ programming contest that included four problems. Students were given two hours to solve each problem and were judged on a basis of correctness and speed.
The second event, aimed at entry-level Computer Science students, was a visual basic contest in which competitors solved problems in another language and are evalutated with the same criteria.
Cerner provided a lunch for the day event, as well as prizes to the first, second, and third place winners.
This year, the visual basic first place winners, Brad Klingensmith and Chris Riggs, received iPods. The first place winners for the Java/C/C++, Kevin Karsch and Brian Grinstead, received a Nintendo DS, while the second and third place winners, Xin Chen, Klingensmith and Riggs, received gift certificates.
Sophomores Riggs and Klingensmith have been participating in the competition since they were freshmen. Riggs said many different facets are beneficial in participation.
“It gets your name out there and builds your resume. You also get to see what companies are really looking for and perform problems in the real world,” Riggs said.
The pair also participated in the November 1 regional competition sponsored by IBM. Their team placed 16th out of 139 competitors.
“It’s a really great experience and we plan to compete our junior and senior years also,” Riggs said.
While the experience is an incentive for some competitors, Graves said the majority of ACM events are focused on social aspects and networking.
“This programming competition is a social event. It allows you to meet other people in your department and see how you stack up,” Graves said.
ACM also brings in speakers from different companies, many who are Mizzou Engineering alumni.
“If you prepare and wind up doing really well, a lot of times recruitment officers will offer you internships and positions,” Graves said.