WMU News

WMU computer programmers place high in regional competition

November 19, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- A computer programming team from Western Michigan University was one of three high-placing U.S. teams at a Nov. 13-14 regional competition held in Canada.

The three-member student team from WMU finished in 10th place in the East Central North America Programming Contest of the Association for Computing Machinery. Sponsored by IBM, the event was held at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. Only teams from the Universities of Waterloo and Toronto and McGill University in Canada, and from Carnegie-Mellon and Case Western Reserve universities in the United States finished above the WMU team. The winning team was from Waterloo, with a second Waterloo team finishing in fifth place.

Dr. John A. Kapenga, WMU associate professor of computer science and the team's coach, says the North America East Central Region is among the world's toughest in the international competition held on six continents that leads to this year's world finals in the Netherlands. The WMU team, he notes, finished above strong teams from the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, the University of Notre Dame, DePauw University and a number of others.

"The East Central Region is always one of the toughest, with its winners usually placing high in the world competition," Kapenga says. "The regional contest draws students from colleges and universities in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana as well as from Ontario."

The WMU team, nicknamed "The Prussian Programmers," was one of two WMU teams competing at the event. The second team, "The Touring Machine," came in 33rd place out of the 92 teams competing. All of this year's participating WMU students are computer science majors.

The Prussian Programmers team members are: Nick Amato, a senior from Port Huron; David Meads, a senior from East Jordon; and Chris Steel, a senior from Grand Rapids.

The Touring Machine members are: Orien Vandenbergh, a senior from Wayland; Brad Strazisar, a senior from Mattawan; and Kudrie Nagaraj, a master's student from India. Alternate for the teams was Ravishankara Srinivasa, also a master's student from India.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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