A group of three Middlebury College students finished first among 37 teams in a computer programming contest held on April 20 at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

The Middlebury team included seniors Anna Blasiak and Kevin Chirls, and junior Jeff Wehrwein, and was the only team to successfully to solve all seven problems within the allotted three hours. Fitchburg State College, in second place, solved six problems, and third place went to the team from Ithaca College, who solved five problems.

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. For example, students were asked to write a program that would predict all the possible ways to make change given three coin values and a total sum of money.

“This was quite a feat by our team of students,” said Associate Professor of Computer Science Daniel Scharstein. “I was impressed by how well they worked together, and how they split up the responsibilities based on their various strengths. This team has competed together before, and their experience showed up in the final results.”

In addition to Scharstein, who accompanied the Middlebury team to Rochester, the students were coached by Middlebury College Associate Professor of Computer Science Tim Huang and Associate Professor of Mathematics Frank Swenton.

Blasiak, a computer science and mathematics major, plans to enroll in a doctoral program in computer science at Cornell University next fall. Chirls, a computer science major, will work for Amazon.com after graduation. Wehrwein, a computer science and mathematics major, hopes to return to the computer programming team as a senior next year.

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