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UW Team Earns Fourth Place at ‘Battle of the Brains’ Competition

November 29, 2011
Three students
UW's Gold team placed fourth in the regional Battle of the Brains competition. From left are Brett Riotto, Wilson; Tom Pearce, Buffalo, and Zeb Fross, Lysite. (Jim Ward Photo)

A University of Wyoming College of Engineering and Applied Science student team placed fourth in a recent computer programming competition at Colorado State University.

The UW Department of Computer Science had four teams competing in the 36th annual IBM-sponsored Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest. The Wyo Gold team of Zeb Fross from Lysite; Tom Pearce, Buffalo; and Brett Riotto, Wilson, placed fourth at CSU and 21st overall in the Rocky Mountain region.

The contest challenged student teams to use their programming skills and rely on mental endurance to solve complex, real-world problems under a five-hour deadline.

UW competed in the Rocky Mountain regional contest, which had four sites this year. At the Fort Collins site, UW teams competed against 19 teams from the Colorado School of Mines, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs campus, Colorado State University, Mesa State University, Montana State University and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Other regional contests were held involving schools from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Arizona, Eastern Nevada, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Utah. In all, 49 teams were involved in regional competitions.

Regional contests in the United States begin in October and will continue through December. Following the regional rounds, only 100 elite three-person teams will advance to the world finals next May in Warsaw, Poland.

Three other UW teams also competed at the CSU site. Representing Wyo  Brown were Jon Duke, Denver, Colo.; Kira Lawrence, Laramie; and Alex Wellock, Dallas, Ore.

On the Wyo Cowboys team were Josh Herr, Cheyenne; Donovan Miller, Littleton, Colo.; and Chris Prosser, Thermopolis.

Competing for The Freshness team were Ian Hall, Spearfish, S.D.; Jake Harper, Temecula, Calif.; and Taylor Legg, Laramie.

UW teams were coached by Department of Computer Science Lecturer Jim Ward.

"The Battle of the Brains is the Olympics of the computer programming world," says Michael Karasick, vice president of strategy and technology at IBM Software Group. "These students push their minds to the limit, manipulating technologies such as analytics, system optimization and collaboration to effectively solve a semester's worth of computer programming in just five hours. The amount of talent that we have the opportunity to witness each year is truly impressive and a testament to the value of this competition."

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