Programming team ranks 4th in North America

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October 20, 2017
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October 20, 2017

Programming team ranks 4th in North America

Joseph Patchen and his teammates finished the Codesprint3 programming contest at midnight Saturday, Oct. 1, after competing for 36 hours. Photo: Daniel Petersen

Bob Jones University’s intercollegiate programming team ranked fourth in an international computer programming competition held last month.

The BJU programming team finished the 48-hour Hacker’s Rank University CodeSprint3 programming contest in 36 hours.

While the students competed individually, each school that participated was ranked by the average of the top 10 scores from students in that school.

BJU ranked fourth in North America, below only the University of Washington, University of Illinois and the University of Central Florida, finishing ahead of schools like Georgia Tech and the University of Florida.

Fourteen students represented BJU in this contest, 13 computer science majors and one a math major.

According to Dr. Jim Knisely, the coach of the team and a faculty member in the department of computer science, this contest took place online on campus. 

Nine computer science students were split into three teams: BJU Bruins, BJU Bruins Too and BJU Bruins III. One team from Clemson came to compete as well.

Knisely said that while the results are unofficial and will not be officiallly released until early November, it appears the BJU Bruins team finished fourth while the BJU Bruins Too team finished fifth out of 180 teams in the U.S. and 87th/98th out of 2,400 teams around the world.

Sam Henry, a junior computer science major and member of the team, said the team used each other’s skills during the competition because no individual member had all the skill required to solve the problems.

“[We did] pretty good,” Henry said. “Especially compared to last year, we’ve improved a lot, and the three [junior students on the A team] have another year to improve.”

Henry said he looks forward to next year’s competion and hopes the team will continue competing at the same high level.

He said the computer science program along with mentors like Knisely prepared him and the team to succeed in the competition.

Knisely said students who participate in contests such as these benefit in two ways.

“One is that they are developing a skill to help them to identify a problem and to be good at categorizing things,” Knisely said.

The other is the ability to think under pressure and to perform under [pressure].”

Students in the math and computer science fields will need these skills to succeed in their careers.

Knisely said one of BJU’s international students who participated was encouraged by the good results because he realized that he could come to a Christian university and not miss out on any necessary education.

Knisely said over this last summer, a graduate school reached out to the him after being impressed with BJU’s results in similar competions.

The representative from this graduate school said that BJU’s students are exactly the type of students they  want in their master’s programs.

“It opens doors for [these students] in the future,” Knisely said.

Knisely said teams from other universities, knowing little about BJU beforehand, walk out knowing that BJU can compete at a high level.

“They might have one idea of us,” Knisely said. “But at least they know that we are serious about doing our best.

“We are trying to demonstrate we are good stewards of what the Lord has given to us,” Knisely said.

Knisely said  he has enjoyed working with this year’s team.

He said the team has shown great potential, and he looks forward to following the team as they compete in contests throughout this semester.

The team also competed last weekend in the IEEE Xtreme contest, a 24-hour  international challenge.

The team is expected to compete in two more problem-solving competitions before the end the semester.