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Middlebury team places first at 2009 computer programming competition

April 27, 2009

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - For the third year in a row, a group of three Middlebury College students finished first in a computer programming contest held on April 24 at SUNY Plattsburgh in New York. The Middlebury team included juniors Toby Norden and Scott Wehrwein, and sophomore David Fouhey. The group was coached by Middlebury College Associate Professor of Computer Science Tim Huang and Associate Professor of Mathematics Frank Swenton.

The annual competition, conducted by the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges Northeast Region (CCSCNE), tests students' abilities to work collaboratively within a limited time to develop computer programs for specific problems.

Each team of three students is given several hours to write programs that solve a series of problems, such as computing the shortest path from point A to B given a set of obstacles. The team that solves the most problems wins, and ties are broken based on the amount of time used. The contests challenge students to think both analytically and creatively, to work quickly but carefully, and to cooperate with each other.

This year, 11 of the 28 teams solved all five problems in the allotted time, so winners were determined based on amount of time used. Middlebury used the least amount of time, followed by Hamilton College and Worcester State College.

CCSCNE strives to bring together faculty, staff and students from academic institutions throughout the Northeast for the exchange of ideas and information concerning undergraduate computing curricula in a smaller academic environment.