LU computer science team places in top 20 percent in three-state competition, tapped ‘Best at Site’ at LSU

LU computer science team | Photo: Lamar University

A student team represented Lamar University recently placed in the Top 20 at the Association on Computing Machinery (ACM) South Central Regional Programming Contest at Louisiana State University.

It was LU’s second consecutive year to crack the Top 20 list.

Two LU student teams participated in the competition. Thomas Norris of Conroe, Robert Monarch of Port Neches, and Ethan Hall of Pinehurst comprised the first team, called “Team Discovery Channel.” They placed 19th overall out of 75 teams from Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana and ranked No. 1 of the 12 teams at LSU site.

“This team solved 5 out of 11 very challenging problems and outperformed all teams from University of Oklahoma, Baylor University, LSU, and many more,” said Dr. Jing Zhang, the coach of LU’s two teams and the advisor to LU’s ACM Chapter.

John Comeaux of Beaumont, Thomas King of Mauriceville, and Nhu Nguyen Tran of Port Arthur were LU’s second team, called “Relentless,” and together solved 4 problems and placed 31st overall in the competition.

“The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest is the most important computer programming competition in the world. Over one thousand universities from more than 70 countries compete in the contest every year,” said Jing, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science.

At the competition, each team was assigned a single computer to solve more than 10 challenging programming problems in five hours. Teams were judged on the number of problems solved correctly. If more than one team solved the same number of problems, they were ranked according to the time it took to solve the problem.

“Due to Hurricane Harvey, we had a very tight schedule to prepare for this year’s contest,” said Jing. “We had two training meetings every week in October to review algorithms and solve previous contest problems. Students also spent many hours outside the classroom to improve their programming skills. Their hard work paid off.”

“I am very proud of our students and Dr. Jing Zhang,” said Stefan Andrei, chair of the Department of Computer Science. “I am sure this experience will greatly help our students in their future study and employment. The ‘Team Discovery Channel’ team of Lamar University solved 5 exercises out of 11 in a total combined time score of 518, which makes the team the ‘Best at Site.’”

- Lamar University