Computer Science

Computer science students make their mark


 
Computer science students at CCSE competition

David Hovemeyer, York College of Pennsylvania (left) presents Eric Wolf, Charlie Hines, Jeremy Kesterson with their award.

 

By Caleb Ayers

A team of three computer science juniors—Charlie Hines, Jeremy Kesterson, and Eric Wolf—placed second in the student programming competition at the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges (CCSC) Eastern Regional Conference in Arlington, VA on October 19th-20th. The Eastern Regional Conference is one of ten annual CCSC conferences that occur throughout the States, providing faculty and students opportunities to present and publish papers, network, and participate in contests.

With more than twenty teams competing, JMU was one of three teams that solved all seven programming problems. Students used Java or C++ to create programs such as Boggle, Dominoes, and a postfix calculator, each of which needed programming that would allow inputs to produce the correct outputs. Solving these problems required the application under time pressure of a variety of computer science topics, including algorithmic techniques such as iteration and backtracking as well as data structures such as arrays and stacks.

“What impressed me the most is that our team solved every problem in the competition,” said computer science professor Michael Lam, who co-advised the group with professor John Bowers. “I believe their dedication and consistency is what allowed them to succeed,” said Lam. “They've been meeting every week this semester—regular practice is key to performing well in programming competitions.”

The competition also made an impact on the students. “It means so much just to have completed all of the problems, and come in second place,” said Kesterson. “It was an awesome experience and such an honor.”

Juniors Cameron Bauserman, Christian Fuller, and Austin Lam also participated in the programming competition. Senior Andrew Jones won the best student poster award and professor Michael Stewart won the best faculty poster award. Zamua Nasrawt (’18) and professor Lam presented a journal paper about Less-Java, a new programming language specifically designed for teaching programming to beginners.

Sharon Simmons, head of the CS department, was impressed by the students’ hard work and the subsequent recognition, but what means even more to her is the impact this event will have on the students. “These are not only valuable technical experiences but also help develop teamwork and leadership strengths,” she said.

Published: Friday, November 2, 2018

Last Updated: Friday, November 2, 2018

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