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UAM teams rank high

Computer programming teams from the University of Arkansas at Monticello swept the top two spots in the CIS COBOL division of the 2012 Arkansas Collegiate Programming Contest hosted last week by Hendrix College in Conway.

The UAM team of Timothy Taylor of Star City, Amy Emberson of Searcy, and Treshai Hudspeth of Monticello won the competition, while the team of Bo Smith of White Hall, Robert Moffatt and Kevin Stewart of Crossett placed second.

Twenty-five teams from colleges and universities throughout the state took part in the competition, which is sponsored annually by the TresNet Division of Acxiom Corporation. Ten of the 25 teams competed in the CIS COBOL division while 15 competed in the CIS non-COBOL division.

The UAM teams were given six programming problems to solve in five hours. Taylor, Emberson and Hudspeth successfully solved all six problems, five on the first attempt.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for our students and for our program,” said Brian Hairston, dean of the School of Computer Information Systems. “Our students have proven over and over again that they can compete with the best this state has to offer and excel at a very high level. I’m proud of them.”

Keith Jones of Acxiom Corporation and director of the competition, called the performance of UAM’s winning team “extraordinary. The contest is not only about completing the problems successfully, but also considers the time it takes each team to complete them,” Jones explained. “Twenty minute penalties are given for each wrong submission. These can really add up and hurt a team. This can be the difference in placing in the top two or not.”