Hewlett-Packard (HP) began its CodeWars competition 16 years ago in Houston, Texas. The competition was brought to California this year, and on the first Saturday in March, a total of 16 California high schools participated in the first CodeWars competition held at the HP site in Roseville.
HP CodeWars is an annual competition in computer programming where teams of high school students are expected to use their critical thinking skills. The three-hour competition is divided into two divisions — Novice and Advanced. To qualify for the Advanced, at least one team member must have completed one year minimum of classes in computer science.
The competition involves a set of 15 problems ranging in difficulty. Each problem has a time limit and is assessed on a point system — the more difficult the problem, the higher the point value. Teams can use either Java or C/C++ programming. Each team of three collaborates within their team using their brain power and strategy to solve the problem. The team can submit their answer to each problem up to five times within that time limit, hoping that the successful answer is among one of the five submissions.
At the end of the competition, of the nearly 30 teams representing 16 high schools (including teams from the Bay Area and as far away as Los Angeles), Oak Ridge High School became the clear winner in the competition with the advanced team taking first place, and the three novice teams taking first, second and third place after breaking a three-way tie.
In addition to trophies, two Oak Ridge students won raffle prizes, which included Bose speakers and an HP Envy 2 tablet/laptop computer.
Winning students were John Shaller, Kevin Shim, Mark Brown, Brian Haug, Ben Tucker, Nathan Somavarapu, Trevor Allen, Jake Gilger, Gregory Kristian, Ravi Pandya, and Elliot Lee.
Said computer scienes teacher Stephanie Allen, “What a great way to represent The El Dorado Union High School District, and especially our school. My favorite comment from our students was how fortunate they were to have had high school teachers who taught them how to think critically and be great problem solvers. This year was so exciting, and I am hoping to encourage girls to compete next year as well!”
Next year’s competition will be held on March 1, 2014.