Programming team places third

Michael Ford
Managing Editor
Photo courtesy of Media Services
Rewarded —  (from left) Lori Selby, faculty sponsor, with members of the UAM programming team: Justin Hurst of El Dorado, Samantha Bunting and James Ellis of Monticello.

   The University of Arkansas – Monticello placed third in the Computer Information Systems division of the 2005 Arkansas Collegiate Programming Contest held at the University of Central Arkansas Feb. 18.

   UAM’s third-place team consisted of Jim Ellis and Samantha Bunting, both juniors from Monticello, and Justin Hurst, a senior from El Dorado. A second UAM team of Kevin Murphy and Matt Parker of Monticello also took part in the competition.

   “The programming contest was a very exciting experience for me, and I had a great time meeting other students from around the state and talking with Acxiom representatives,” Ellis said. “Although we placed third, I felt we could have performed a lot better, and I plan on working hard throughout this year so that we can bring home first place next year.”

   First place went to a team from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and second place went to a team from Arkansas Tech University.

   Bunting said she enjoyed meeting other talented programmers from around the state.

   Nine teams from universities across the state competed for the top award in the CIS division, by working to solve seven problems with the COBOL programming language. After five hours of programming, the team with the most problems solved in the shortest period of time won.

   Lori Selby, faculty sponsor of the team, said the format of the contest challenges the students in their abilities to understand the problem sets under strict time guidelines.

  “This by far was the most difficult contest based on the problem sets,” she said. “Problem sets were so tedious that it required teams to read the sets thoroughly at least three times to have a good understanding of the requirements.”

   Contest rules specified a 20-minute penalty for every problem submitted with an incorrect solution. The Archive Station saved time-stamped runs for later retrieval in the event of a judging error. The run will either be accepted or rejected by a test-data set. If rejected, the accountant enters the result into the contest ledger. If accepted, they store the run envelope and return a solution receipt to the team.

   “The programming contest was a great learning experience,” Hurst said. “It was fun meeting other teams across the state and sharing our programming knowledge.  It definitely helped me enhance my programming skills and further my desire as a programmer.”  

   With this being Ellis’ first programming contest, he said he made some mistakes, but learned from them and that will help him improve.

   “I’d like to thank Mrs. Lori Selby for all her support and leadership, and I look forward to next year,” Ellis said.

   According to Selby, the teams worked well together and exhibited their expertise in the various programming areas.

   “I am so proud of both teams and how well they represented the CIS program and the university,” she said.

    UAM first participated in the Acxiom sponsored State Collegiate Programming Contest in 1992 and continues to do so, while consistently finishing as one of the top four teams in the competition. In 1996 and 2003, UAM placed first in the state.

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The Voice, 2005
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