Westminster College High School Programming Contest

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nine teams from three area high schools attended this year's Westminster College High School Programming Contest.  The contest was hosted by the Mathematics and Computer Science Department in conjunction with the campus Admissions Office.

The teams, consisting of 3 to 4 high school students each, worked for two and a half hours on six computer programming problems.  Students submitted solutions and received feedback from the judges electronically, while an electronic score sheet displayed updated results throughout the contest.  Scoring for each problem is based on the time since the beginning of the contest as well as the number of incorrect submissions.  This year's winning team was from Blackhawk High School in Beaver Falls, PA.

Westminster faculty member, Dr. John Bonomo, designed and ran the contest; Dr. Bonomo is an active organizer and problem contributor to local and regional programming contests and has been Head Judge for the ACM East Regional Programming Contest since 2000.  He was a judge and problem contributor for the international competition for the past 10 years, including Banff, CA in April, 2008; Stockholm, Sweden in April, 2009; Harbin, China in February, 2010; and Orlando, FL in May, 2011.

Dr. Bonomo was assisted by Dr. David Shaffer, Associate Professor of Computer Science, and computer science student Anthony Caratelli.  More information about the contest can be found at http://www.westminster.edu/staff/bonomojp/HSContest/hspc.html.

Sample Problem:  Decryption for Dummies

You've just intercepted an encrypted string of characters from your arch nemesis Archie Nemesis.  He uses a simple substitution cipher to convert a message to an encrypted string, where every letter in the message is replaced with a (potentially) different and unique letter.  So for example, all A's in the message might be changed to R's, all B's to Z's, etc.  You also have in your possession a list of possible messages that Archie might send - messages like ``ATTACK" or ``RETREAT" or ``GOTMILK".  Your job is to determine if the encrypted string matches any of these possible messages.  For example, if the encrypted string was ``SNQKIPA", it couldn't be the encrypted version of ``ATTACK" (not the correct length) or of ``RETREAT" (since R, E and T would each be encrypted to two different letters which isn't allowed) but it could be the encrypted version of ``GOTMILK" with the substitution G→S, O→N, T→Q, M→K, I→I, L→P, and K→A.

Your job is to write a program to automate this process of finding matches.  And I'm sorry I called you a dummy.

Sample Problem:  Longing for Division

OK, we'll make this second-to-last problem short and sweet: if I divide 233 by 13, what's the 101st digit after the decimal point?

Well, let's make it a little harder.  If I give you numbers n, m and d, determine the dth digit after the decimal point when n is divided by m.

Participating Schools:
• Blackhawk High School: Coach Jim Cox
• North Allegheny High School: Coach Laura Prosser
• Seneca Valley High School:  Coach Diane Krauland

First Place Team: Blackhawk Team 3, Coach: Jim Cox
• Jacob Cruzan
• Christian Gesina
• Jesse Groom
• Nick Rome

Second Place Team: North Allegheny 1, Coach:  Laura Prosser
• Mark Freithaler
• Sean Geng
• Ricky Kotermanski
• Dominic LaBella

Third Place Team, Blackhawk Team 1, Coach:  Jim Cox
• Clint Davies
• Elena Iannuzzi
• Tyler Tracy
• Dan Warnaka

Click image to enlarge.
Dr. David Shaffer; Anthony Caratelli, Westminster College Computer Science Major; and Dr. John Bonomo, Contest Director

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Laura Prosser, North Allegheny High School Coach; Diane Krauland, Seneca Valley High School Coach, and Jim Cox, Blackhawk High School Coach