Association for Computing Machinery chapter takes 17th out of 260 at regional contest

November 20, 2013

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PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville hosted a part of the Association of Computer Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest on Nov. 9. This contest includes almost 2,330 universities from more than 91 countries on six continents. According to ACM, this is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious programming contest in the world.

This worldwide competition is broken into regions all over the world and each region competes at a different time. Each region sends two to four teams to the world competition. The 2014 world competition will be held in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

UW-Platteville is a member of the North Central Region of ACM. These students compete against colleges from Minnesota; Wisconsin; Western Ontario, Canada; Manitoba, Canada; Iowa; North Dakota; South Dakota; Nebraska; Kansas and the upper peninsula of Michigan.

This year, UW-Platteville entered nine teams into the regional contest. Six of those teams welcomed Loras College and St. Ambrose to UW-Platteville for one contest. The other three teams went to Epic, a software developing company located in Verona, Wis., to compete with other teams from the area.

Team Drop Table won first place at the UW-Platteville contest and all teams received ACM UW-Platteville T-shirts for participating. Members of team Drop Table are Cody Calhoun, Peter Behl and Seth Westphal. This team also placed 17th in the region. This year the North Central Region entered 260 teams adding up to 780 students.

Westphal, a junior software engineering major from Fond du Lac, Wis., was one of the members of the winning team. “This contest is a great way to test your problem-solving skills with the added competitive edge that isn’t found in the classroom,” said Westphal. “I would strongly encourage anyone to sign up for next year’s competition.”

Calhoun, a junior software engineering major from Black River Falls, Wis., was also on the 17th place team. This is his third year participating in the ACM programming competition. “Every year I’ve strove to do a little better and I feel it helps me with real-life applications in classes I take,” said Calhoun. “The contest can be aggravating, but in the end I always have a good time and it’s a great way to interact with fellow students.”

Behl, a junior software engineering major from Cottage Grove, Wis., was the third member of team Drop Table. “I signed up for the contest to do something fun with my friends,” said Behl.

During the contest, students are given a set of eight problems, which they must solve by writing computer programs. The problems are a collection of conceptualized problems that may become scenarios at the professional level. The students choose to code in either C++ or Java. The teams only have five hours to complete all of the problems.

Westphal encourages those who aspire to be computer scientists to sign up for next year’s ACM-ICPC. For more information on the ACM competition contact Dr. Clifton.

Contact: Dr. Joseph Clifton, computer science, (608) 342-1558,

Written by: Megan Schmidt, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194,


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