Some 200 students from 25 high schools will converge on Ames Friday for a high-tech competition. Iowa State computer engineering professor, Doug Jacobson, says the competition is called the information technology, or "I-T" Olympics. He says the competition consists of a cyber-security events, where students defend against computer hackers; robotics competition, where students will build sumo wrestling robots; and a game design competition where they have to design games that teach a science, technology or math concept to middle schoolers.
Jacobson says the competition has a couple of goals. Jacobson says it’s meant to be fun, but is also meant for them to learn about I-T jobs and the field. The students are scored in each competition. Jacobson says there will be a first, second, and third place team in each of the venues.
The students also had to do a community service project where they gave back to the community in an I-T project, and those projects will also be scored. Jacobson says this event is one way to re-boot interest in computer technology careers.
"Interest in I-T as a field has actually been going down over the last few years, in part due to the fact that I-T has kind of lost its cool factor because computers are everywhere," Jacobson says. He says they hope to revitalize some of that interest. The events run from one to 5:30 p.m. Friday, and from eight A.M. to four p.m. Saturday at Hilton Coliseum. The events are free and open to the public.