Simpson Shines at Programming Contest

Simpson students excelled once again at the Midwest Instructional Computing Symposium (MICS), in Duluth, Minn., held on April 6 and 7.

A three-person team – Mark Becker, Sam Law and Payton McBurney — finished in second place in the programming contest and received $300.

The results showed the depth of Simpson’s programmers. Four Simpson teams finished in the top 15; no other college had more than two.

“What we’re doing at Simpson is getting more students to a higher level of programming skill,” said Mark Brodie, associate professor of computer science.

Brodie said the competition is important because it allows Simpson students to compare their skills with students at comparable colleges.

“They also get to see students from other colleges present research work, and I think it helps them realize that the research work they are doing is fully at the same level or even better than that of students at other colleges, and hopefully inspires them to be more confident about presenting their own work,” he said.

The 18 students representing Simpson were escorted by Brodie, Derek Lyons, assistant professor of chemistry, and Lydia Sinapova, professor of computer science.
Students Kelby Kies and Manoj Rai showed a poster on their work with Lyons, and Lyons and Brodie showed a poster on the Carver Bridge program. Student Ryan Policheri student gave a presentation on his capstone project, and Brodie gave a presentation on his sabbatical work.

All 18 of the Simpson students participated in the programming contest. The top team finished 2nd, with Simpson’s other teams placing 9th, 12th, 13th, 31st and 36th.
“Depending on how one measures such things, this is our best result yet,” Brodie said. “By comparison, the University of North Dakota placed 1st and 8th, so they did better than we did in the top 10, but their remaining teams were 20th, 26th, 28th and 43rd.”

The only other entrants from Iowa this year were UNI, Loras, Kirkwood, Morningside and Graceland. None of them had a team in the top 15.

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