Zach Preheim of Peabody was a member of the Bethel College computer programming team that took first place at a recent contest in Lincoln, Neb.
About 20 teams from colleges and universities in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska participated in the contest, which was co-hosted by the Central Plains chapter of the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges and Computer Science and the engineering department at the University of Nebraska.
Joining Preheim on the winning “Threshers” team were Mareike Bergen of Moundridge and Neil Smucker of North Newton.
Karl Friesen, adjunct assistant professor of computer science and Bethel’s programming coach, took two teams—five students in all—to the Lincoln contest.
The Threshers were the first team to submit a correct solution, at around the two-hour mark, and maintained their lead throughout the four-hour contest.
In the end, Team Thresher solved two problems from “a fairly challenging eight-problem set” to take first place overall, Friesen said.
Second place went to a team from Creighton University, Omaha, which also solved two problems; a team from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln claimed third place.
“This is the first time a Bethel team has finished first in an intercollegiate programming contest,” Friesen said. “Mareike, Zach and Neil are to be congratulated on this remarkable accomplishment.”
To be successful, teams needed to read and analyze problems quickly, communicate effectively with their teammates, have a broad knowledge of classic problems, algorithms and data structures, and possess the ability to apply those skills to produce working code while under severe time pressure.