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Students from the UALR’s Department of Computer Science added to a long list of achievements in March, including a recent win at the Acxiom Programming Contest in Conway and a strong finish in the 2015 Southwest Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition in San Antonio.
ACM student chapter team “Best in State”
Two teams from UALR’s Association for Computing Machinery student chapter competed in the Acxiom Programming Contest at the University of Central Arkansas March 10, with one of the teams capturing the “Best in State” title.
The first-place team, comprised of members Thoren Paulson, Jeff Long, and Matt Marshall, finished first from among 12 competing teams from across Arkansas.
The team successfully completed seven out of seven programs due to its efficiency, meaning the team made only two submission errors over the five-hour competition.
The other ACM team members included Brandon Gray, Stu Hiltenbrand, and Aziel Burnett.
The team consecutively dominated state-level competitions from 2010 to 2012, but lost the momentum during which the top position was taken by their rivals such as Hendrix College and the University of Arkansas, according to Dr. Keith Bush, ACM faculty mentor.
The UALR ACM team has won first place in Arkansas many times in the last five years, and also has regularly competed at the regional levels.
“Now our team is back with a combination of experienced programmers and several younger, promising new members,” he said.
Hendrix College, last year’s winner, finished second, followed by Ouachita Baptist, both of which completed all seven programs.
The UALR ACM Club has weekly open meetings from 3-5 p.m. Mondays in room 203 of the Engineering and Information Technology Building.
UALR Cyber Security Club finishes strong
Students also had a strong showing in the 2015 Southwest Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (SWCCDC) March 7-8.
The competition, hosted by Texas A&M University-San Antonio, saw UALR’s team emerge with a fifth place win after defending cyber attacks from a team comprised of real-world professionals who simulated the role of external hackers attempting to gain unauthorized access to competition teams’ systems.
“It really was a fierce battle between blue teams (all participating teams) and the red team (attackers),” said Dr. Mengjun Xie, faculty mentor for the UALR team.
Xie said the team defended the cyber attacks well and learned much through the process. He said simply participating will help the team compete at a stronger level in the future.
“Though they did not place in the top three, which were primarily occupied by former regional champions, they have proven the UALR team is the best in our state,” he said.
The UALR team exhibited the best performance among all first-time players, which included Sam Houston State University and New Mexico State University, according to Xie. UALR’s Cyber Security Club was formed less than two years ago and is already earning name recognition in the region.
UALR Cyber Security Club regularly meets from 1-2 p.m. Fridays in room 555 of the Engineering and Information Technology Building. Contact Dr. Mengjun Xie at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“Our students deserve the spotlight for consistently improving their talent,” said UALR Computer Science Chair Dr. Kenji Yoshigoe. “I have no doubt that these members have great professional careers ahead of them.”
Yoshigoe encouraged interested students to join their classmates in applying their academic backgrounds, while also developing powerful skills, beyond the classroom.
UALR’s Department of Computer Science, located in the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology, is among the most highly regarded in the state. The department offers bachelor and master of science degrees in computer science as well as a Ph.D. in integrated computing.