Moorestown Students win Rowan programming contest

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Moorestown High School students Ryan Collier and Eric Tieniber won first prize in the 20th Annual Programming Contest, open to regional high school students, held by the Computer Science Department at

Moorestown High School students Ryan Collier and Eric Tieniber won first prize in the 20th Annual Programming Contest, open to regional high school students, held by the Computer Science Department at Rowan University on April 28.

Each took home a Hewlett-Packard color laser printer. These and other prizes, including flash drives, iPods, and a wide variety of computer science books, were donated by corporate sponsors AdaCore, Hewlett-Packard, International Laser and Prentice Hall.

Student competitors had to program a computer to evaluate the configuration of a slide puzzle, determining how close the puzzle is to being solved. Measures of "approximate goodness," also known as "heuristics," are a central feature of many programs, especially games.

While the students were working, their teacher/coaches were given detailed descriptions of strategies to solve the problem, complete with example programs. In addition to an overview of the problem, teachers attended a presentation by Dr. Stephen Hartley of Rowan University, who introduced a new educational programming system called "Alice."

Judges included faculty and alumni from Rowan's Computer Science Department, as well as representatives from the College of Engineering and local industry. While the judges were evaluating the programs, Rowan students distributed copies of a computer system called "Knoppix" to the competitors and gave a demonstration of its features and abilities.

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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