Cherry Hill Students Tops in Programming Contest at Rowan University

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The Computer Science Department at Rowan University hosted the 18th Annual South Jersey Regional High School Programming Contest on April 24. The contest was open to students who had previously won a

The Computer Science Department at Rowan University hosted the 18th Annual South Jersey Regional High School Programming Contest on April 24. The contest was open to students who had previously won at the county level in preliminary rounds held at area county colleges.

First prize went to Lee Baker and Josh Levinson of Cherry Hill High School East. Each took home a Sony hand-held computer and a $500 scholarship to Rowan. These and other prizes, including digital cameras and other electronic hardware, software packages, and a wide variety of computer science books, were donated by corporate sponsors Addison-Wesley, COVEX, Lockheed-Martin, and Prentice Hall.

Student competitors had to program a computer to evaluate a set of character groups to determine how many positions were different between each possible pairing. This measure, known as the ?Hamming Distance,? is an important tool used to detect and prevent errors in computation.

While the students were working, their teacher-coaches were given detailed descriptions of strategies to solve the problem, complete with example programs written in several different programming languages by the University's Computer Science professors and industry volunteers. Rowan computer science Professor Darren Provine, the contest director, said, &8482;Seeing solutions in more than one programming language helps to illustrate the strengths and weaknesses each language has. Knowing the strengths of different programming languages is essential to choosing which one best fits a problem.&8482; In addition to an overview of the problem, teachers attended a presentation by Dan Greenspan of the Johns Hopkins University Advanced Physics Lab.

Judges included faculty from Rowan's Computer Science Department, as well as representatives from Camden County College and local industry. While the judges were evaluating the programs, student competitors were treated to a program at the Edelman Planetarium. Rowan students also gave demonstrations of class projects, including a variety of robots and
intelligent game-playing programs.

For more information about the contest, as well as this year's problem specification, some of the solutions, and pictures of the event, visit http://www.rowan.edu/hspc.

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