Tennessee Tech Wins Local Round of Elite Programming Contes

It took several tension-filled hours to do it, but a team of computer science students won first place among local competitors earlier this fall during a world-wide programming contest.

The ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) Programming Contest this year was hosted in Cookeville for the first time by Tennessee Technological University with Multi-Computer Products providing space for the competition.

In the world-wide contest, 79 teams from different universities in the Mid-Central Region competed at different locations for a chance to participate at the national competition in Atlanta next March. The locally winning Tennessee Tech team placed sixth among all regional competitors, finishing ahead of schools like the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, University of Mississippi and Middle Tennessee State University. The Mid-Central Region includes colleges and universities in Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas. Tennessee Tech was the first Tennessee host in recent memory. Five teams competed at the local site - two from TTU, one from MTSU and two from Belmont University. The second TTU team placed third locally.

In the contest, each team has five hours to solve as many programming problems as it can. The team that successfully completes the most programs in the allotted time and passes all the judges' tests wins. In the event of a tie, the team that completed the programs in the shortest amount of time wins. The winning TTU team, which solved five out of six programming problems to earn its local rank, consisted of students Aaron Maddux, Jason Pace and Benji York. The third-place TTU team members were Donald Bullock, Alan Davies and Cookeville native Matt Malone.

Malone, the son of Pat Malone of Cookeville, is a 1994 graduate of Cookeville High School. He is a senior computer science major at Tennessee Tech and plans to work in Houston, Texas, after he graduates.

In the past, teams from Tennessee Tech have earned their place among other winning teams in the region. In 1990, a Tennessee Tech team placed first out of the southeast region and competed in the national finals. In 1994, 1995 and 1996, teams from Tennessee Tech competed to win a place in the top three local finalists. Also in the past, Tennessee Tech teams have had to travel the farthest to compete, most recently at Murray State University in Kentucky.

"During the competition, students are exposed to team dynamics under pressure," said Panagiotis Linos, chairperson of Tennessee Tech's computer science department. "In the real job market, students join teams and always have to meet deadlines. This is a means of giving students the skills and equipment they need to work and succeed in real life."

The ACM Programming Contest was held at Multi-Computer Products in Cookeville on Nov. 1. As soon as judging was complete, the results and statistics were reported on the World Wide Web at .

Planning and organizing the contest at Tennessee Tech were Martha Kosa, faculty coordinator; Eric Brown, systems administrator; Kathryn Choate, department secretary; and Linos. The contest was sponsored by IBM in cooperation with Multi-Computer Products, Tennessee Tech and