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 SRU to Host 17 Regional High School Computer Programming Teams 



Jan. 17, 2006

Contact: Gordon Ovenshine: 724-738-4854;



SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Seventeen western Pennsylvania high schools will send students to the Feb. 21 Slippery Rock University Computer Science Programming Competition, to solve computer, math and logic problems on software developed at SRU.

About 100 students in grades 9 through12 will compete for $300 SRU scholarships, as well as prizes such as computer accessories and digital cameras.The scholarships will go to the three highest-placing individuals who choose to come to SRU.

A principal feature of the competition is that participants will use RockTest, a computer program developed by SRU’s Michael Conlon, assistant professor computer science.

RockTest makes it easy for competitors to write their programs regardless of what "development environment" software they use at their home school, Conlon said. This levels the playing field, so a school that uses the same development environment as SRU does not have an advantage. It also helps teams to submit their programs for grading and enables judges to grade rapidly and keep score.

SRU and California State University at Sacramento are the only institutions that have created and distributed such software, he said.

Students will work at the competition in teams of three. Each team will be given a set of 10 problems to solve by writing a computer program. After writing what they think is a correct program, they submit it to the judges. The judges run the program against official data, and, if the output is correct, the team scores one point. At the end of the contest period, the team with the most points wins.

           High school computer programming teachers selected the participants. The following high schools are sending students: Seton-LaSalle, Beattie Technical School, Blackhawk, Indiana Area, Upper St. Clair, Knoch, Union, Trinity, Taylor Allderdice, Clarion Area, North Hills, Cornell, Thomas Jefferson, Elk County Catholic High School, Burrell, Hopewell and Greater Latrobe.

           The contest also offers a lower division competition for freshman and sophomores and an upper division open to all high school students. All participants receive a T-shirt, disks of software and certificates of participation. The top two schools in each division receive plaques.

    SRU's bachelor of science in computer science and five information systems business-related degree programs have been accredited by ABET, a prestigious organization that includes the Association for Computing Machinery and the Association for Information Technology Professionals, among other professional organizations.

        SRU’s computer science department has 230 majors in three-degree programs: computer science, information systems, and information technology.

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