The buzzing atmosphere of busy minds fills room 136 as Conestoga’s computer science club members congregate around the central computer screen as if the answer to a hidden mystery resides within the computer’s coding.
Conestoga’s computer science club offers “an environment where you can work with other people,” club co-president and junior Jed Thompson said.
Sophomore Caroline Mak helps freshmen Dan Xu and Michael Tao fix an error in their code during a computer science club meeting. The freshmen went on to place second in a competition held on May 23. Emily Klein/The SPOKE.
The club members put their brains to the test on Feb. 18, during the Philadelphia Classic Programming Competition held at the University of Pennsylvania. This year was the first year that Conestoga’s computer science club participated, and the club sent two teams.
The competitive team placed third, and even though Conestoga’s “just-for-fun” team did not place, “they still did better than a large percentage of the teams there,” Thompson said. “Most of us were at our top game that day, we really did bring our [best] skills to the table.”
The competition consisted of 32 teams working against each other to create a code in order to complete programming tasks.
“We were given a computer, and then we were timed and we would type up the code, try and solve it and then send the coordinators our code,” club member and sophomore Crystal Wang said.
Thompson, who has been programming since he was nine, felt that the event was successful, and he was content with the third place ranking.
“It was the first year we’ve ever done it, and I think overall, although perhaps we could have done a bit better, we did pretty well,” Thompson said.
Since only some members of the club participated in the competition this year, other members worked on several additional projects, including programming an Xbox Kinect and creating an Android application. However, both the programming of the Kinect and the creating of the app have been postponed due to a “lack of feasibility,” Thompson said.
Throughout the year, the club has had trouble obtaining access to computers, particularly those with programming software.
Club co-president and sophomore Caroline Mak also said that the lack of Windows 7 on all school computers accounted for the postponement.
In the mean time, the club continues to work so that all members can reach the same level of programming. Mak holds competitions with a program called Processing that allows less experienced club members to learn basic programming skills with the help of more advanced club members.
“That’s what the people who already are in computer science are for. They help each other,” Mak said.