Flint Hills Christian School (FHCS) students, Kenan Bitikofer, junior, and Arthur Williams, freshman, brought home the first place medal in the advanced category from the Kansas State University High School Programming Contest on Nov. 1. This competition is sponsored by the Computing and Information Sciences Department on the university campus every November.
The team of two was among more than sixty other teams from around the state, public and private, large and small. The teams all registered as either “beginning” or “advanced,” which determines the difficulty level of the problems with which they were challenged. About half of the teams this year were in the advanced category.
Last year, Bitikofer and Jonah Ferguson, a 2011 FHCS graduate, went as a team to the same event, the first time for FHCS. That pair took fourth place in the advanced category. Bitikofer and Williams said they were motivated to work at that same challenge level this year.
Students had five rounds, thirty minutes each, and typically of increasing difficulty level of solving mathematical problems.
While the FHCS team did well on the first three, it wasn’t until the last two problems they gained the lead. Time was a consideration as more points were awarded according to the time left on the clock when a team completed a challenge.
Students could work in the programming environment of their choice; many of them used either C++ or Java.
Bitikofer was introduced to Java in the school’s introduction to programming course and has continued advancing himself in that language. Williams excelled in a web design course offered last year and has been teaching himself programming skills as well. They used Java on a Linux platform while most others were using Windows environments.
In addition to their programming skills in technical challenges, both of them have strong mathematical foundations that helped them work well together as a team.