Computer science club members attend programming competition

May 26, 2017 — by Daniel Bessonov

Members of the school’s Computer Science club wrestled with highly complex problems during the annual ProCo programming competition hosted at Stanford University on May 21, an opportunity for high-school aged coders to showcase their talents.

Among the attendees were freshmen Dhruv Shah, Brandon Wang, and Ronak Pai, who all attended the contest for the first time. Albert Tseng, president of the Computer Science Club and a veteran of the competition, also joined the freshmen, although programming for a different team.  

Although no one from the school placed on the competition’s main leaderboards, Wang was able to win a prize in the “Special Round,” which consisted of brain teasers and logic problems.

As opposed to hackathons, where attendees build real-world applications for mobile or web platforms, programming competitions like ProCo require competitors to think critically by solving challenging problems. According to Tseng, future computer science students will encounter similar problems in college and in their future endeavours - problems which the Computer Science Club helps people prepare for.

ProCo is specifically modeled after the collegiate level ACM-ICPC, an international collegiate-programming contest. The competition itself consists of a set of four problems, of which teams of three then attempt to solve. Points are awarded only for complete solutions and no points are given to partial implementations.

Shah said that the event presented problems extremely similar to that of other online programming contests such as the United States Computing Olympiad (USACO), a popular contest at the school and around the nation.

“ProCo was a really great experience, and something I would definitely go to again next year,” Shah said. “Although my team and I didn’t place too high in the leaderboards, I’m confident that with practice, I will be able to come back much stronger next year.”

According to Shah, the competition was much tougher than last year, since it attracted many members of the United States International Olympiad  Informatics team, all of whom are extremely seasoned programmers.

Shah, as well as Pai, believe that continuing to attend these types of programming competitions will significantly improve their skills as both problem solvers and, more importantly, coders.

“Since I am most likely going to be pursuing a career in computer science, improving my skills at competitions like ProCo is a pretty crucial step in furthering my computer science career,” Shah said.



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