Conference holds tech competition

The University’s Association for Computing Machinery held its 15th annual student computing conference last weekend.

Mo Kudeki, junior in LAS and conference chair, helped set up the student-organized event, which included a job fair, guest speakers and a computer programming competition.

“This weekend-long conference is set up to bring in some of the most famous people from the Internet to speak, and also to create opportunities for current students who are seeking a career in the industry,” Kudeki said, who is a computer science major. “Hopefully, the people that attend our 24-company job fair will be able to leave the conference with a better understanding of how they can achieve a career for one of these companies.”

MechMania, a computer programming contest, tested 18 teams of three people. Each team had 24 hours to design a computer character that competes against other teams’ characters.

Nathan Lawrence, a junior in LAS, said he helped run MechMania.

“Each team has two computers and must complete all of their work in the labs during the 24-hour time period,” Lawrence said. “This year there are a few teams from North Dakota and Missouri. MechMania is the biggest regional computer programming competition.”

The winning team, “Team Easy Breezy,” came from the Missouri University of Science and Technology. Each team member received a $125 prize, but many students said they competed for the experience and fun.

Charlie Mooney, senior in LAS, said he was the defending champion from the 2008 MechMania competition. This year, Mooney competed on team “Schwiggity Schwoah” with two new teammates.

“I enjoy taking part in this competition,” Mooney said. “It can get pretty heated in here when it comes down to the final hours, but it is fun to be able to create a game and watch your character compete against everyone else’s.”

Roger Wolfson, server software development lead for the Bungie company that created the Halo video games and 2001 University graduate, represented his company at the job fair Friday. He said he was interested in the computer programmers entered in the MechMania contest.

“A contest like MechMania tests each individual programmer, as well as the whole team,” Wolfson said. “The biggest aspect that a company is interested in is not only the end product, but how well a team can communicate with one another.”

Wolfson said Bungie accepted resumes during the job fair and expressed interest in hiring qualified applicants who took place in the competition and attended the fair.

“Bungie wants to hire the most qualified people to work for our company,” he said. “They can be hired to entry-level positions or higher specialty positions if the applicant is qualified.”