The Knapsackers@UNT — a student computer programming team representing the University of North Texas' Department of Computer Science and Engineering — has won the second annual "IEEExtreme 2008 24-hour Programming Challenge."
"IEEE Extreme" is sponsored by the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, an international professional society that also sponsors student branches on college campuses. The "Knapsackers@UNT" beat 129 other teams from 33 countries. The competition, held March 29, included 15 problems to solve; only one percent of the teams attempted to solve all 15 in the 24-hour period.
"Knapsackers@UNT" includes John Rizzo from the Houston suburb of Kingwood; Michael Mohler from Cedar Hill; and Robert Burke of Dripping Springs. All are computer science and mathematics majors. Rizzo and Burke are seniors; Mohler is a third-year graduate student.
"We are very proud that our students are performing well in these international competitions. It highlights the quality of our students as well as the faculty and curriculum at UNT," says Ryan Garlick, visiting assistant professor of computer science and engineering and a coach of the "Knapsackers@UNT."
David Keathly, a lecturer in UNT's Computer Science and Engineering Department and another "Knapsackers@UNT" coach says the team worked hard to achieve the skills needed for these victories.
"In many cases, the team competed against international teams that include working professionals with many years of experience. This makes their victories even more impressive," he says.
"I am proud of our programming teams and the second major win by the 'Knapsackers@UNT.' It shows the quality of our students and the coaching abilities of our faculty, particularly Ryan Garlick and David Keathly," says Krishna Kavi, chair of UNT's Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
The "Knapsackers@UNT" also qualified for the world finals of the ACM International Programming Competition held in Banff Springs, Alberta. They were one of 20 teams from the United States among 100 international competitors.
Rizzo and Mohler also are members of the "Texas Codeboys," a UNT programming team that finished 14th in 2006 and 19th in 2007 in the "Challenge 24" computer programming contest in Budapest, Hungary. The "Codeboys" will compete in the 2008 "Challenge 24" contest in May. Rizzo also was part of a UNT team that finished in the top 50 schools competing in the William Lowell Putnam Competition, a mathematics contest sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America.
Information about the IEEExtreme 2008 can be found at www.ieeextreme.org.
UNT News Service Press Release
Rafael McDonnell can be reached at RMcDonnell@unt.edu.