Student Competitions

New York City Area High School Teams Win Cornell U Programming Contest

A team from the Dalton School in New York City won the April 7 Cornell University High School Programming Contest. Image courtesy of Cornell University.Teams from New York City-area high schools snagged the top spots at the second annual Cornell University High School Programming Contest, in which the teams were asked to solve problems by writing their own computer programs.

That is in contrast to last year's inaugural competition in which schools closer to Cornell, in the Ithaca, NY area, took the top honors.

This year, teams from the Dalton School in New York City took first and third place while a team from Byram Hills High School in Westchester County, NY took second place. Last year, teams from Ithaca High School won first and third place and a team from West Irondequoit High School in Rochester, NY came in second.

Both years, the goal was for teams to take seven problems they were presented with and solve them by writing their own computer programs. The problems this year ranged from translating English into Pig Latin to calculating the grade a student would need on a final exam to pass a class and counting the guests at an imaginary party.

Each team was provided only a computer workstation, pencils, paper and a calculator. None were allowed access to any other electronic devices or the Internet. Although the teams could choose almost any programming language they wanted, all chose Java, the language typically taught in high school.

The winners were those teams that solved the most problems within a three-hour period. The problems varied in complexity and, among the teams' concerns, was deciding which ones could be solved the quickest.

The "judge" was actually a computer program that compared the submitted entries with the expected result.

This year, of the 17 teams from eight schools to participate, two teams solved all seven problems, one each solved five or six and three teams solved four.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.