Manhattan students break the code

John Ostermann, Online Editor-in-Chief

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Keyboards click all around the room, using the codes to complete the problems in the least amount of time. It takes all the brainpower of the nine Manhattan team members to complete their problems as fast as possible.

Programming teacher Kathy Ricketts brought the students to the Kansas State programming competition on Nov. 1.

“We were given a bunch of problems to solve with code,” senior Stephanie Fu said. “They were pretty advanced and required quite a bit of logic.”

There were two competition divisions: a beginning division for students who have completed at most one semester of programming and have no more than one year programming experience, and an advanced division open to all high school students.

Twenty-eight schools competed for the first place title, getting scored on accuracy and time it took to solve each question. The competition consisted of five rounds with the first round being the easiest having one problem with 25 minutes to solve and the fifth round having 40 minutes to solve two problems. The teams were scored based on accuracy first and foremost, getting 20 points for a correct answer and one additional point for every minute they finish before time runs out. The teams were able to resubmit once after an incorrect submission. The points for a correct answer on the second submission will be 10 points plus the time remaining.

A few of the teams had different sort of tasks to make the coding more difficult.

Fu is used to the adrenaline of the competition and knew what it is like to compete in this programming contest. This is her fourth year at the competition but it was the first time she has faced the challenges she had this year.

“I worked on a two-person team,” Fu said, “and we had to [code] in a completely different language, which was a new assignment for me.”

Manhattan finished the competition in 11th place with a total of 65 points. The first place team, the Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science, scored 242 points.

“We performed considerably better than last year,” senior LuAnn Jung said. “Unfortunately we were not among the top three teams. At the time, [Stephanie] and I were both really sleep deprived, so I feel like we weren’t at our best. However, it was still really fun and I enjoyed trying out the problems.”

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Manhattan students break the code