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Computer science students place in Top 20

Three Lamar University computer science majors placed in the Top 20 at the Association on Computing Machinery’s South Central Regional Programming Contest at Louisiana State University, Oct. 19-20.

Cardinals teamTwo student teams represented Lamar at the competition. The first Lamar team, called Cardinals, placed 19th overall out of 58 teams from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi. “In fact, this team outperformed some teams from Texas A&M, UT-Dallas and Rice University,” said Stefan Andrei, associate professor of computer science.

“The ACM ICPC contest is the most important computer programming competition in the world,” Andrei said.

The Cardinals team members, Zebulun Barnett of Lumberton, Matthew Williamson of Hardin, and Reza Shakouri from Beaumont bettered all teams from McNeese University, Abilene Christian University, Texas Christian University, University of Houston, and many more.

Lamar’s second team, called Mirabeaus, represented by Michael Waterstreet of Beaumont, Demetrius Taylor of Dayton, and J.T. Copeland of Santo placed 40th in the competition.

Mirabeau TeamAt the competition, each team was assigned a single computer to work on and eight challenging programming problems to solve in a five-hour period. One team member was responsible for implementing a program on the computer while the other two worked out other problems on paper. The solution was then submitted to the judges electronically.

Teams were judged based on the number of problems solved correctly. If more than one team solved the same number of problems, they were ranked according to the time it took to solve the problem.

“The results were very good for Lamar,” said Andrei, who holds a Ph.D. from Hamburg University. “Our teams practiced during September and October by solving similar exercises from previous contests and from an excellent textbook.”

Andrei, who also serves as Advisor to Lamar’s ACM Chapter and the students spent many hours outside the classroom to improve their skills.

“I am very proud of our students,” he said. “This kind of collegiate contest is not only important for LU students in general, but also can help those who participate in finding future employment.”