Skip to main content

GV Now

Students' programming skills tested during computing contest

  • Students in front of a computer screen in Manitou Hall.
  • Students in the lab.

Posted on November 07, 2017

About 100 students from universities across the region gathered at Grand Valley October 28 to compete in a programming contest, hosted by the School of Computing and Information Systems. 

During the Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest (ACM ICPC), more than 30 teams of three students hunkered down in a computer lab in Manitou Hall to solve real-world problems that tested their computing skills. 

Four teams of student programmers from Grand Valley participated in the contest, as well as students from University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame, Kalamazoo College, Central Michigan University and Western Michigan University. The regional contests across the country determined which teams go on to the world competition in Beijing in April. 

Ira Woodring, affiliate instructor of computing and site director of the ACM program, said Grand Valley students prepared for the contest by practicing sample problems. 

"The problems they had to solve during the contest were very similar to problems that their future employers will need them to solve," said Woodring, adding that Grand Valley came in fourth place and solved an impressive six questions. 

Woodring said the problems are difficult and about half of the teams that participated this year did not solve a single one. 

Paul Leidig, director of the School of Computing and Information Systems, said the contest not only challenges students, but it also prepares them for careers in computing. 

"Our students are getting jobs immediately upon graduating, and often, before they graduate," Leidig said. "This event is a special opportunity for our students to showcase their skills and develop new ones." 

For more information about the ACM ICPC visit