Programming team takes second at regional competition

Katie Eder

The senior programming team from the department of computer science took second place at the Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest held at Wilkes University on Nov. 7.

Villanova sent two teams, each consisting of three computer science students, to the competition.

The senior team, “We’ll Do It Live,” named after Bill O’Reilly’s infamous flip-out on “Insider Edition,” placed second out of 24 collegiate teams on-site and 11th out of 151 collegiate teams in the Mid-Atlantic region of the international competition.

The second team, “Villanova White,” placed seventh at Wilkes and 44th in the region.

The Mid-Atlantic region includes universities ranging from North Carolina to northeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

For the contest, all of the teams have five hours to complete eight problems. To get a point, the teams must write a program that can sufficiently solve the logic-intensive and math-based computation problems. During the contest, teams are given colored balloons to reflect the number of problems that they have solved.

The number of balloons given out this year, however, was few and far between.

“The problems were much harder this year,” said junior Casey Burkhardt, a member of the senior team who has competed for three years. “Even though we only solved two out of the eight problems, the amount of time that it took us to complete those two problems was much less than the time it took the other teams to finish the same number of problems. Our team’s time score is what got us second place, since the other top teams completed the same amount of problems, but in a greater amount of time.”

The increase in difficulty is evident in the fact that at last year’s contest “We’ll Do It Live” answered four out of the eight problems but only got 14th place in the region.

This year, “We’ll Do It Live” beat out the programming teams from Drexel, Bucknell, Temple and Rutgers, as well as three out of the four teams from Virginia Tech, who are usually highly ranked every year.

“I’m impressed by the amount of dedication that these students have,” said Frank Klassner, associate professor of computer science and the teams’ faculty adviser for the past 12 years. “There’s nothing like success to breed success, and the perseverance of the senior team members is clearly rubbing off on the underclassmen.”

Members of “We’ll Do It Live” are seniors AJ Palkovic and Kory Kirk and junior Burkhardt. Members of “Villanova White” are senior Kristin Raudonis, junior Tim Vincent and freshman Taylor Clifton.

“Even though I’ve only been in two competitions, being on the team is a great experience for me,” Clifton said. “The upperclassmen are really supportive, and I’ve already learned a lot from the problems. I can tell that I’m getting better at programming.”

The next contest that the two teams will compete in runs from Jan. 30 to the end of the spring semester. It is a programming competition run by MIT called BattleCode.