L to r, James Kearney, Evan Nelson, Paul Ming
New Mexico Tech first-place programmers James Kearney, Evan Nelson, and Paul Ming
DURANGO, Colo., March 24, 2003 -- Four teams of New Mexico Tech undergraduates recently traveled to Durango to compete in a regional computer programming contest and swept the field, returning to Socorro with the event's top four awards.

The Tech team comprised of senior computer science majors James J. Kearney, Paul R. C. Ming, and Evan Nelson correctly solved seven out of the seven problems with computer programs written on the spot, outpacing and outprogramming 12 other teams and taking top honors at the 19th Annual Fort Lewis College Computer Programming Contest.

Solving the problems at the daylong programming contest required using computer programs "written from scratch," which the participating students developed on-site with the programming languages Microsoft Visual C++ Version 6.0, Java Borland JBuilder 5, and Sun Java 2 SDK.

Some of the problems posed included finding absolute values for actual and estimated times during a ski race, keeping track of train cars on a complicated switching network as cars are added and removed, and taking proper fractions and turning them into "Egyptian fractions," which are the sums of several unique fractions that each have a numerator of one.

Another New Mexico Tech team, whose members included Clark Haskins, Alex Rand, and Manuel Schroeder, placed second overall by solving six out of the seven problems, with two penalties assessed against the team's score.

Michael Bencomo, David Catanach, and Richard Byrne also solved six out of seven problems, but were assessed three penalties and ended up with a third-place finish.

The New Mexico Tech team of Wade Brown, William Kwan, and James "Egypt" Lee rounded out the clean sweep at the regional programming contest by finishing fourth after solving five of the problems in the allotted time.