UVa’s 6th Annual High School Programming Contest

HSPC16-6On Saturday, April 23rd, 2016, the University of Virginia hosted its sixth annual High School Programming Contest (HSPC). About 200 high school students came to compete. Combined with dozens of coaches, an equal number of parents and chaperones, and more than 50 student volunteers from UVa, there were over 300 people at the event. The students were from 21 different high schools – most from around the Commonwealth, with a few teams coming from out of state (Maryland and North Carolina). The map below shows where the students came from.

The students formed a total of 49 teams of (generally) 4 people each.
Teams were presented with ten programming problems to try to solve in a four and a half hour period. Whichever team could solve the most problems would win. In the case of a tie, then the team that solved the most problems in the least time would win. Students were awarded balloons during the contest, colored to indicate which problems they solved.

The “Senior Team” team from the Thomas Jefferson School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia solved eight of the problems, and won first place. Second place went to a team from Deep Run High School from Glen Allen, Virginia, and third place went to a team from South Lakes High School from Reston, Virginia. Prizes were awarded for the top five teams, and included Raspberry Pis, board games, and remote control helicopters.

This is the largest such event in the mid-Atlantic region, and one of the largest in the country. Hosted by the UVa chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery, UVa’s contest is unique in that this contest is run by the students, not by faculty, and with no administrative staff support. Contests such as this help to encourage young minds to pursue computer science and related disciplines. They create excitement for the field itself. For example, some of the schools were unable to fund the transportation to the contest (which can cost $400 per school), but the students wanted to go so much that they spent time fund raising in order to attend. At a time when STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields are lacking enough college majors, contests such as these help provide a long-term solution by encouraging students to major in computer science – and to choose UVa to pursue computer science. Indeed, the HSPC contest director, who is a second year at UVa, was a former competitor at the contest, and the HSPC helped him decide to come to UVa to study computer science.

UVa’s computer science department has a strong history of success with programming contests, and competes at the collegiate level in the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC). In the last eight years, UVa has advanced to the world finals six times. The world finals – often called the Olympics of computer programming – is a contest of the top 120 collegiate programming teams in the world. The world finals are held in various countries, and UVa has attended them in Stockholm in 2009, Harbin, China in 2010, Orlando, Florida in 2011, St. Petersburg, Russia in 2013, Ekaterinburg, Russia, in 2014, and Phuket, Thailand, in 2016.

HSPC16-9.jpg

UVa HSPC 2016 School Map (49 teams)

UVa HSPC Scoreboard

UVa HSPC 2016 Photos

More information about UVa HSPC

Joanne Louise McGrath Cohoon

JoanneCohoonProfessor Joanne Louise McGrath Cohoon, 61, passed away on February 14, 2016. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Joanne was a resident of Earlysville, Va. She and her surviving spouse, Jim Cohoon, celebrated thirty-nine years of marriage last August, and shared forty-two years of deep friendship. Joanne’s professional interests lay in promoting diversity in technology and overcoming societal barriers facing women in computing. She was a leader in her field and for her efforts she was awarded the 2015 Anita Borg Institute lifetime achievement award. Joanne greatly appreciated the education she received at Catherine McAuley High School of Brooklyn (class of 1972). It helped prepare her for her BA from Ramapo College (1976), MA from Columbia University (1979), and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia (2000). Joanne was a senior research social scientist for the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT) and a full professor in the Department of Engineering and Society at the University of Virginia. Her mother, Gertrude McGrath, preceded Joanne in death. She is survived by her father, James McGrath; her sister, Diane McGrath; her sister, Anna LeGoff, and brother-in-law, Edward; and her sister, Carolyn McGrath. Family was very important to Joanne. She was the proud mother of James Cohoon, Genevieve Asher, and Johanna Cohoon, and proud mother-in-law to Helen Cohoon and Nathaniel Asher. She was the beaming grandmother of Helen Ann, Stellan, Josephine, and Axel. She is survived by many friends who meant so much to her. In lieu of flowers, which she knew many would want to send, she greatly hoped her family and friends would make memorial donations to the Joanne McGrath Cohoon Fund of NCWIT, Boulder, CO (www.ncwit.org/donate). A memorial service was held at Buck Mountain Episcopal Church on Saturday, February 20, 2016. You can rest in peace knowing we will continue down the path you forged.

 

UVa Engineering Students Complete 15 Software Development Projects For Charlottesville Area Nonprofits

CONTACT:

Aaron Bloomfield
Department of Computer Science
85 Engineer’s Way
Charlottesville, VA 22904
434-982-2215
aaron@virginia.edu

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (May 6, 2015) – The University of Virginia’s Computer Science Department’s Service Learning Practicum (SLP) has completed its third year of projects for local nonprofits. In the Practicum, students form groups of six or seven students to develop software for local nonprofits. The Practicum allows students to see a large software engineering project from inception through completion. Created in 2012, the SLP is a two-semester sequence for fourth year computer science majors. This past academic year, there were 15 projects in which over 10,000 hours were devoted to local area nonprofits, which yields over one million dollars of free software development for the local nonprofit community.

Professor Kevin Skadron, Chair of the Computer Science Department, spoke about the impact of the Practicum. “From a social responsibility standpoint, the Practicum allows students, and the department, to help out the community, while providing an excellent learning opportunity in the form of a major, real-world software development experience.”

Professor Aaron Bloomfield, instructor and creator of the Practicum, commented on the course. “The Service Learning Practicum is an outstanding educational opportunity for our students because it is holistic. It covers the entire life cycle of a piece of software, from specification to deployment, requires rigorous and state-of-the-art software engineering practices, and requires interaction with a real-world customer. Even better, though, is it allows the students to both give back to the community, and to see how easily one can help the community through computer science.”

SLP students on one project created a new scheduling system for Madison House, the primary volunteer coordinator for the University of Virginia. In the past, generating a tentative schedule would take 10-12 program directors a total of 5 hours each to complete. The new scheduling system can generate a similar tentative schedule in minutes. “Madison House had an amazing experience working with the Service Learning Practicum,” said Jennifer Walker, the Director of Programs for Madison House. “The online system the SLP students created does the matching instantaneously and will save us so much time in the future. This is a service we would have paid for, so to get it for free was a tremendous benefit for our nonprofit.”

Student working for The Haven, a day shelter for the homeless, created a volunteer management software that allows for online management of the scheduling of the more than 800 volunteers. Eleis Lester, the Haven Volunteer Coordinator, commented on the system: ” The Service Learning Project has transformed the way The Haven schedules volunteers. Our student group spent months coding a scheduling system that meets the nuanced needs of our shelter, and this new system saves me hours of work each week.” Time saved can be put to other uses, which she also noted: “more importantly, as an organization, we spend less time communicating with our volunteers about scheduling logistics and more time celebrating the good things that happen at the shelter each day.”

Local nonprofits interested in participating in the SLP for the 2015/2016 academic year should visit the SLP: Nonprofits page.

The full list of projects developed this past year is shown below; full descriptions can be found here.

  1. Alzheimer’s Association, Central & Western Virginia Chapter: a system to manage volunteer data and provide a web portal for volunteers.
  2. The Arbor Charlottesville: a system to manage the care and recovery of their clients; no identifiable information about the clients will be entered into the system.
  3. Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad: a system to manage shift scheduling for volunteer EMS workers.
  4. Charlottesville Municipal Band: a system to manage their donations and membership lists.
  5. Hope’s Legacy: a system that combines horse management (horse care, locations, etc.) with volunteer management (scheduling, hours worked, etc.).
  6. Innisfree Village: a system to help manage the scheduling of appointments for their residents.
  7. JAUNT: A real-time system to allow clients to track the busses and view their reservations.
  8. Loaves and Fishes of Charlottesville: a system to help manage the scheduling of their volunteers for shifts.
  9. Madison House: a scheduling system that allows the program leaders to schedule their hundreds of volunteers to various volunteer sites and shifts based on scheduling criteria.
  10. Service Dogs of VA: a system to manage the training of the dogs, who have multiple daily training reports as well as weekly training evaluations.
  11. The Haven: a web portal for volunteers which will primarily allow for shift scheduling, among other features.
  12. The Shelter for Help in Emergency: a web portal that allows for volunteer management.
  13. Thomas Jefferson Adult and Career Education: an online GED and ESL quiz site that allows for customizable preparation quizzes.
  14. Wintergreen Adaptive Sports: a system to manage the scheduling of the instructors and students who participate in the program.
  15. WTJU 91.1 FM: a system to allow DJs to create play lists from their music catalog, and play that music on air.

UVa’s 5th Annual High School Programming Contest

ICPC group

 

 

On Saturday, April 11th, the University of Virginia hosted the fifth annual High School Programming Contest (HSPC). Over 200 high school students came to compete. Combined with 25 coaches, and equal number of parents and chaperones, and 50 student volunteers from UVa, there were over 300 people at the event. The students were from 23 different high schools – most from around the Commonwealth, with three teams coming from out of state (Maryland and New Jersey). The map below shows where the students came from.

The students formed a total of 52 teams of (generally) 4 people each. Teams were presented with ten programming problems to try to solve in a four and a half hour period. Whichever team could solve the most problems would win. In the case of a tie, then the team that solved the most problems in the least time would win. Students were awarded balloons during the contest, colored to indicate which problems they solved.

The “MoCo Swagga Squad” team from the Montgomery Blair High School in Maryland solved nine of the problems, and won first place. Second place went to a team from West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North from New Jersey, and third place went to a team from the Thomas Jefferson School for Science and Technology. Prizes were awarded for the top five teams, and included Raspberry Pis, board games, and remote control helicopters.

This is the largest such event in the mid-Atlantic region, and one of the largest in the country. Hosted by the UVa chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery, UVa’s contest is unique in that this contest is run by the students, not by faculty, and with no administrative staff support. Contests such as this help to encourage young minds to pursue computer science and related disciplines. They create excitement for the field itself. For example, some of the schools were unable to fund the transportation to the contest (which can cost $400 per school), but the students wanted to go so much that they spent time fund raising in order to attend. At a time when STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields are lacking enough college majors, contests such as these help provide a long-term solution by encouraging students to major in computer science – and to choose UVa to pursue computer science. Indeed, the HSPC contest director, who is a second year at UVa, was a former competitor at the contest, and the HSPC helped him decide to come to UVa to study computer science.

UVa’s computer science department has a strong history of success with programming contests, and competes at the collegiate level in the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC). In the last seven years, UVa has advanced to the world finals five times. The world finals – often called the Olympics of computer programming – is a contest of the top 120 collegiate programming teams in the world. The world finals are held in various countries, and UVa has attended them in Stockholm in 2009, Harbin, China in 2010, Orlando, Florida in 2011, St. Petersburg, Russia in 2013, and Ekaterinburg, Russia, in 2014.

The image above shows the closing ceremony, with the balloons – which indicate which problems the teams solved – on display.

UVa HSPC 2015 School Map (52 teams)

2015 HSPC Scoreboard

2015 HSPC Photos

More information on the High School Programming Contest (HSPC)

SEAS E-News online article: Atrium in Rice Hall Named After Anita Jones (March 2015)

Anita Jones, Jones Atrium, Rice Hall, June 2014
Anita Jones, Jones Atrium, Rice Hall, June 2014

With a generous contribution from Leidos, the atrium of U.Va.’s Rice Hall has been named the Jones Atrium, in honor of University Emerita Professor Anita Jones.

For Jones, a longtime professor and former head of the computer science department at U.Va., it was a particularly meaningful and unexpected retirement gift. The atrium dedication was made on the occasion of her stepping down from the board of Leidos (formerly SAIC, or Science Applications International Corp.) after decades of service.

“For an academic, that is just such a wonderful and thoughtful gift. It was a complete surprise,” says Jones, who was informed of the gift at a retirement dinner hosted by Leidos.

 

 

Read the full article here

How (Cyber) Secure Are You? The Bigger Picture – WMRA article (Feb. 12, 2015)

  FEB 12, 2015

davidson

Today we revisit the question “How secure are you?” in the second half of our two-part series on cyber security.

The first segment explored steps consumers can take to keep themselves safe. Now we look at the broader picture—national cyber security and the recent widespread hacks that have compromised the personal data of millions of Americans.  Here’s WMRA’s Kara Lofton.

Read the full article here

Engineering School Partners with Micron on Groundbreaking Processor

A Worldwide Center For Advanced Processing Research

Professors Mircea Stan, Kevin Skadron and Stuart Wolf are heading the Center for Automata Processing, the only center of its kind in the world.

 

Micron Technology finds itself in an unusual position for a company known for innovations in computer memory and storage. It has entered new territory by developing a processing chip capable of opening the door to advances in fields like bioinformatics, video/image analytics and network security. It turned last year to computer scientists at the University of Virginia with expertise in novel processor architectures and relevant applications to build a worldwide community devoted to realizing the Automata Processor’s potential. The Center for Automata Processing, cofounded by Micron and the University, is a virtual collaboration of universities, companies and government agencies.

Read the full article here

Town Hall Meeting with CS Chair, Kevin Skadron

5:00 – 6:00 pm on Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Olsson Hall, Rm. 120
Pizza will be served!

All computing majors (BSCS, BACS, BSCpE): You’re invited to come meet with Kevin Skadron, chair of the CS Department, to give your comments or suggestions about any aspect of your computing education and experiences, or to ask questions about things on your mind. We call this kind of meeting a “Town Hall” meeting. Come talk about course offerings, course sizes, policies, instructors, course contents — anything! The event will take place as follows: Tuesday, Jan.27, 5-6pm, in OLS 120. Pizza will be served. The Town Hall meeting with the department chair is probably THE best way for students to give the department decision makers feedback about courses, requirements and other things on their minds. Please consider attending!