Senior computer team takes first at programming competition

Feb. 5, 2007, midnight | By Priyanka Gokhale | 14 years ago

Blazers win for the third straight year

The Blair senior computer team placed first out of 18 teams in the Loyola College High School Programming Contest on Feb. 2. The senior team solved all five contest problems as well as the bonus problem, earning a score of six, which was the highest score in the competition. The Blazers won $512, which will go towards school funds.

Blair's junior team also fared well in the contest, solving two of the five regular problems correctly and placing seventh overall. Unlike other competitions, the Loyola contest did not have separate "junior" and "senior" divisions, according to team sponsor and computer science teacher Karen Collins; Blair's junior team faced the same competition as the senior team.

During the contest, each school is given seven programming problems to solve on one computer. This year, the programmers at Loyola accidentally provided solutions to two of the problems, so they posted a bonus problem towards the end of the competition.

The team was disappointed that the two problems had to be removed, according to senior team member Matt McCutchen. But despite the setbacks, the team was competitive throughout, he added. "I got really geared up at the beginning of the contest. I just started tearing out problems and passing them out," he said.

Teams have roughly three hours to complete all the problems. When a team solves a problem correctly, the time from the start of the contest to when that problem was finished is noted. When the contest is over, the times are added together – with 10 points added for each incorrect submission – and the scores are used to distinguish between teams that completed the same number of problems, according to McCutchen.

The four members on each team were chosen based on their interest in participating. Each student is also a member of the Blair computer club, also sponsored by Collins. A large part of the computer club's time is spent practicing for competitions such as this one.

The computer team has appeared at the Loyola competition for the past three years, claiming first place each time. This year, the second prize went to the senior computer team at Centennial High School in Ellicot City, Maryland. The senior computer team at Marriotts Ridge High School in Marriottsville, Maryland placed third. Both teams solved all five problems correctly.

The members of the senior computer team are:
Edward Gan
Aki Hogge
Matt McCutchen
Louis Wasserman

The members of the junior computer team are:
Stephen Carlson
Michael Cohen
David Tao
Scott Zimmerman

To see the scoreboard and find out more about the competition, click here.

Priyanka Gokhale. More »

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