By Monique Larkin
By Monique Larkin
Competition is infiltrating the air and it’s contagious.Soon your hands start shaking nervously.
Your heart starts racing rapidly.
Your head hurts because it is tired of all the pressure.
Your stomach feels as if you’ve eaten 12 candy bars in one sitting.You have no idea when you have felt worse.
And then you solve the problem…or, at least you think you have…Students from 60 colleges along with students from Riverside Community College experienced these emotions and more when they participated in the annual SoCal Association for Computer Machinery International Collegiate Programming contest Nov. 13 held at RCC.Each of the colleges and universities had five hours to solve six intense problems that involved designing a specific program for each.
“They are going to be executing more than one command at a time,” said Mark Lehr, instructor in Computer Information Systems as well as the club adviser for the RCC ACM club. “In the competition, they each have a definite goal. They are to cover every aspect, nothing redundant.”Clayton Audi, who is a member of the RCC ACM club, was very happy to be participating in the competition.
“This is my first time participating,” Audi said before the competition. “This is something that I’m really interested; I like it very much.”
Before he went to join the rest of his teammates in a group photo, he smiled and said that he thought it is going to be tough–but he feels ready.
The competition was sponsored by IBM and Google awarded monetary prizes to the winning teams following the event.
“The students have opportunities here as well,” Lehr said.
Representitives from IBM were sitting at the tables in blue shirts that were placed there to extend the opportunity for internships to those who were interested during and after the competition.
The computer lab in the Martin Luther King building was silent as the students focused and diligently worked in teams of three in order to solve each problem.
“There are so many of them,” said Lois McGury, who was one of the many volunteers who stood by the printers to hand printed answers to contestants.
Students smiled and some cried as they came up with solutions, and vice-versus.
“It’s crazy,” said RCC ACM club member Justin Nahin as he helped his teammate, Pamela Bowman work on their second problem.
Communication is key and developing a system of how to score against the other team is essential in any competition.
“You have to develop a system,” Bowman said. “It’s the only way you survive.”
Clark Williams, who had also helped out during the event as a volunteer stood nearby watching in awe as the teams competed.
“It’s intense,” Williams said. “They are so focused. You have to sit there and watch them for a second; they go through a range of emotions in this competition.”
Williams was excited that students were picking their brains for possiblities.
“As a teacher, it’s a thrill watching them use what you’ve taught them. It’s a wonderful thing,” Williams said.
But in all competitions, contestants don’t just compete against other teams; they compete with themselves and their own ability, intensity and assumptions as RCC volunteer John Myers reiterated.
To most people programming is a science, but as for RCC ACM club member Kundai Midzi, he begs to differ.
“I don’t consider myself a scientist, I consider myself an artist,” Midzi said.
For more information regarding the universities and colleges that competed and their placements, check out the website http://www.socalcontest.org.