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Computer Programming Students Win Third Place in Competition

A team of three California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) computer programming students placed third in the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Southern California Regional Programming Contest, beating more than 65 groups from colleges throughout the West Coast. 

Kevin Harness, Mark Tokutomi and Carla Hernandez, known as The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation team, narrowly missed qualifying for the world finals in the competition at the end of the fall semester.  Their performance was the best a CSULB team has seen, with the group outperforming students from universities like UCLA, USC and UCI.

Other students who competed in the event included: Josh Wall, Michael Larson, Nathan Pickrell, Jonathan Nacionales, Michael Dowd, Dawood Putros, Greg Dalton, Yuya Baba and Michael Chao.  The teams were led by Steven Gold, who has coached for the past three years, and Paul Woo, a former student who has been volunteering his time as assistant coach.

In the competition, each team had five hours to solve seven complicated word problems.  They used their computer programming skills to tackle challenges dealing with logic, mathematics and computational algorithms, such as correctly spelling scrambled words and determining how many times a ball will hit specific sides of a billiard table.  The students met weekly for two hours to prepare for the event.  In the weeks leading up to the competition The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation team met for two hours each day to prepare. 

“I am very proud of all of these students – especially The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation,” Gold said.  “Placing third was a major accomplishment.  They approached this contest like an athletic competition and it paid off.  Their success is a testament to their commitment to excellence and the quality of the computer programming classes here at CSULB.”

CSULB’s ACM computer programming team is open to students from any major.  For more information on participating in the computer programming competition, visit the ACM Web site at CSULB or e-mail  Steven Gold .

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