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Computer Science Club Heads to Regionals

By Rachel Baio '16
The Ionian - Student Reporter

Each year the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) holds a competition to see which college can solve the most computer technology problems. This year, a team from Iona will proudly be attending.

The competition will be held at Yale University on Oct. 27. It’s been five years since Iona has been a part of ACM’s Regional Competition, which is especially exciting for the six students who are going to be competing this October.

Senior Stephen Rodriguez will be leading the team as president of the Computer Science club, which is open to all and is a resource group that helps students to learn about software, such as making websites and applications.

Representing Iona this year will be Rodriguez, along with juniors Michael Brown, Orlando Barreiros, Costas Vraheimis, Jeoffrey Cawley, and graduate student Jay Velasco. They will be split into two teams and will compete against representatives from neighboring schools, including many Ivy League universities.

“Princeton will be there, as well as NYU, Cornell, and of course Yale,” said Rodriguez.

The ACM Regional Competition tests computer science students’ ability to solve incredibly difficult software problems, such as “millennia problems,” as Rodriguez explained.

“The problems are basically impossible to solve, but we do our best to create programs that will help us find a solution,” he said.

The problems will have strict time constraints, as each team races to create a computer programming solution for twelve problems in only eight hours. The teams will also be graded on their speed to find a solution and the efficiency of their solutions.

Even more pressure is added as the competitors are forced to solve the issues without any help from technology.

“We have to prep everything ourselves,” Rodriguez explains. “The only things we can bring are a few pages of cheat sheets.”

On top of solely relying on their memories and a few pieces of paper, the team is also pressured to perform at their best efforts because IBM will be attending the competition looking for future employees.

“It is very exciting because IBM will be recruiting students to work for them as programmers,” said Rodriguez.

If successful with their programs at the regionals, one of the two Iona teams will be sent to the World Finals competition in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Here, the problems only get more difficult, but the time given to find a solution increases as well.

Russia will be hosting the competition to teams from countries across the world, such as China and Italy. This is an incredible opportunity for Rodriguez and his team.

Only the top three teams from the regional competition can attend the World Finals.

Iona sends Rodriguez and the Computer Science club much luck at the ACM competition.