Mercy Competes in Battle Of Brains Event

They very well may be the smartest students at Mercy College. And they know it.

Two teams of undergraduate Computer Science majors participated in the 34th annual IBM-sponsored Association for computing Machinery (ACM) Greater New York Regional Collegiate Programming Contest at Hofstra University on Oct. 18.

More than 50 schools from the area participated in the “Battle of the Brains” contest. This is a contest that puts the students’ minds through vigorous time crunching pressure to solve the largest number of computing problems in the lease amount of time by using their programming skills.

“The students were given nine problems, and they had five hours to solve them using any type of computer programming languages,” said Prof. Narasimhaswamy Banavara, the team’s coach and assistant professor of mathematics and computer information science.

Only the first two teams to correctly finish their problems in the shortest amount of time advance to the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest, which will be held in China this February.

“Unfortunately we did not win,” said Banavara. “But it’s not always about winning. This contest gives students the opportunity to challenge themselves and get a look at what other students on their level are doing.”

This year was the first time Mercy College students participated in to ACM. These students were: Ekrem Ozer (sophomore) Computer Scene Major, Ali Ekrem San (sophomore) Computer Science major, Yusuf Karaham (sophomore) Computer Science major, Edward Dembowski (freshman) Information Assurance and Security dual-degree program and Daniel Scoland (senior) Computer Information System major.

“The contest was very hard yet exciting,” said Karaham. “I underestimated how many teams would actually be there.”

The students were divided into two teams of three, Dembowski and Scoland were at a disadvantage when their third teammate failed to ever show up to the competition.

“We were surprised when he never showed up but what are you going to do,” said Dembowski. “It was an enjoyable experience that I hope to compete in again.”

Some of the other students they competed against were from Yale University, New York University, SUNY Stony Brook, and Columbia, among others.

All of the Mercy College participants are looking forward to next year’s competition.

“I realize now that accuracy was more important than speed,” said Scoland. “I hope to look through more sample questions and come back more prepared next year.”