The University of Southampton

ECS student team tops programming competition

Published: 
15 March 2007
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Two first year Computer Science undergraduates, Jason Allen and Stephen Jenkins won the best programming team in an inter-university challenge held in London yesterday. Teams from Southampton, Kent, Leeds and Durham competed in a challenge sponsored by the Higher Education Academy and Sun Microsystems.

Three paired programming teams from each university completed a series of one hour tasks set by their fellow competitors. The competition was devised from academics from the four universities who are working together to develop teaching methods specifically designed to extend our more advanced students. Seven students from Southampton devised one of the challenges which students from Kent, Durham and Leeds attempted. They then worked in paired teams to take on the other universities’ challenges themselves.

Dr Su White of the ECS Learning Societies Lab who led the recruitment and participation of the University of Southampton competitors said 'Every year we have a significant number of very able students who begin their studies with significant previous programming experience. All of the seven students who competed from Southampton are top notch, and we have many more able students who did not compete. Our academic teaching teams continuously refine the ways in which we introduce and develop programming activities during the first year. It's vital that every student has a chance to learn programming at a pace which is appropriate for their prior experience. All of Jason and Stephen’s work was consistently scored high, and we are thrilled that they came out as top team.'

The competition was staged at Central Hall Westminster during a Sun Tech Day. The team challenge prize was won by students from the University of Kent. Team Pair Prizes and Hosting were sponsored by Sun. Planning travel and challenge prizes were sponsored by HEA-ICS, the Higher Education Academy for Information and Computer Science as part of the TOPS project.

Participating academics were Su White, University of Southampton, Janet Carter, University of Kent, Stephan Jamieson, University of Durham, and Nick Efford and Tony Jenkins from the University of Leeds.

'The project was run on a shoestring this year,' said Dr White, 'but has been such a success that the group will be looking for further sponsorship to make this a regular event in the computer science undergraduates’ calendar.'

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