A team of computer programming students from Iowa State University is in Beverly Hills, California, this week for what’s considered the World Series of cyber-sleuths. Seventy teams from around the world, only 20 from the U.S., are competing in the World Collegiate Programming Finals. Farnhamville, Iowa, native Brett Kail (kyle), a junior in computer science at I-S-U, says they’ll be given five-and-a-half hours to solve a set of nine problems and program a computer to solve them. The top 12 teams will be awarded medals and cash prizes. This is the 27th annual world finals but marks only the third trip for teams from I-S-U, after appearances in 2000 and 2001. Problems they’ll have to solve and program a computer to solve include things like: figuring out the optimal placements of balloons in a box with the least amount of free space or the most economical way to wire several islands with communications cable. Kail, who got his first computer at age eight, says it’s a thrill to be going brain-to-brain with the best student programmers on the globe. The other two members of the team are: Joshua Woods, a sophomore in computer science at I-S-U who’s also from Farnhamville, and Josh Carlson of Oregon, Illinois, who graduated in December from I-S-U with a comp-sci degree.
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