UA Little Rock hub hosts Google Hash Code competition

Pictured are Lindsay McGriff and Amy Dreher of team "Pythalicious" who, along with Maddie Anders, scored 10,495,004 points, the highest score among Arkansas competitors.

More than 20 coders from central and southeast Arkansas took part in Google’s 2020 Hash Code competition Feb. 20 at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Google Hash Code is a team programming competition, organized by Google, for students and professionals around the world. Thousands of people participated in the competition from 707 hubs across 89 countries. The event was sponsored by the Google Developers Group of Little Rock and the UA Little Rock Emerging Analytics Center.

“This was our first year hosting the Google Hash Code competition,” said Dr. Ivan Rodriguez-Conde, assistant professor of computer science and co-organizer of the event. “We are glad to have the opportunity to engage local programmers in the Online Qualification Round of this worldwide competition, thanks to the university’s support.”

Google presented coders with a real-world engineering challenge that can be solved with technology. Then, teams had five hours to propose a solution using a programming language of their choice. Google designed the competition to encourage the type of teamwork and communication skills that makes its software engineers successful.

Judges from Google evaluated each team’s proposed solution based on the quality of its algorithm. The top teams from the Feb. 20 Online Qualification Round will be invited by Google to compete in the April 25 Final Round at Google’s office in Dublin, Ireland. There, teams will work together to solve another challenge and compete for cash prizes.

Pictured are two competitors from the hash code competition event sitting at a table looking at a computer together, smiling.

Local competitors included UA Little Rock students Jennifer Arthur, John Clements, Gaige Ehrenworth, Julia Green, Brandon Norman, Carlos Ochoa, and Nicholas Stewart.

High school teachers and students also participated, including Joshua Favourite and Kaleb Paddie from Lake Hamilton High School, Maddie Anders, Zackery Bailey, Jessie Beatty, Garrett Cherry, Kori Cox, Amy Dreher, Reid Dutton, John Elrod, Lindsay McGriff, and Raley Owen from Star City High School, and Logan Heinzelman, Jonathan Watson, and Logan Williams from Stuttgart High School.

“The competition is an amazing opportunity for high school students to put their classroom knowledge to professional know-how,” said Sandra Leiterman, math specialist for the UA Little Rock STEM Education Center. “Participation in Google’s Hash Code competition significantly authenticates classroom experiences and reinforces learning. UA Little Rock is pleased to support real-world opportunities that engage students in learning and help them be better prepared for life after high school.”

Star City High School teammates Anders, Dreher, and McGriff, who competed as team “Pythalicious”, scored 10,495,004 points, the highest score among Arkansas competitors.

The Google Developers Group of Little Rock organizes monthly web and mobile software development workshops. For more information, contact Rodriguez-Conde at

Pictured are 6 people sitting at tables working on laptops. Some of the people are interacting, but all are contemplating solutions to the Google Hash Code competition challenge.

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