A team of three Bethel University students placed first among all Minnesota collegiate teams at the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC). The competition took place at the University of Minnesota in November and featured 180 collegiate teams, made up of students from across the Midwest.
In only his very first competition, Sun Prairie’s Evan Scharnick helped lead the successful three-man Bethel team. Scharnick grew up in Sun Prairie and now attends college at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. The 20-year-old physics major brought his unique expertise to the team.
“As the only physics major on our team, I focused on looking at the problems mathematically and conceptually taking the task we were given and translating it into the mathematical language the computer could work through,” Scharnick said.
Each team was given a set of approximately 10 problems and given 5 hours to develop solutions to the programming challenges. The goal was to solve as many problems as possible by writing code and generating the correct output. Solutions were judged based on their validity and how quickly the team solved the problem.
Scharnick’s teammates, Alex Harker and Dominic Hiland, are computer science students at Bethel. The team placed first in the state, only one spot away from advancing to the North American Championship.
“This competition was a great experience. I like being given objectively challenging problems and working through the process, starting from having no idea what to do, thinking about where to go from there and then hitting that final solution,” Scharnick said. “Finishing one spot away from the North American Championship is very motivating. I hope to compete again next year.”