Grade eleven programming enthusiasts competed in the DWITE competition, finishing in the top ten percent of all teams.

Between 3:15 and 6:15 in the evening this past Wednesday, most of us would have been eagerly preparing for Halloween, or perhaps getting ready to ignore all the visitors at our doors. Three grade 11 students, however, were occupied with something else.

DWITE is a timed, online programming contest where Canadian high school students face off against fellow computer science enthusiasts across the nation. Teams consist of one to four people, and contest rounds occur once every month from October to February. This Halloween, Quincy Lam, Stephen Wen, and Eric Ye entered as the sole team from Marc Garneau, “Team Gilgamesh”, and took 31st place out of over 200 schools that participated in Round 1.

In room 222 that evening, with Mr. Jay from the computer science department supervising, the trio was equipped with one computer and a whiteboard to write complex programs to quickly solve five difficult problems. “For problem-solving competitions and challenges like this, the advantage really lies in being able to think of algorithms and high-level solutions to problems rather than simply being proficient in programming,” Eric said. The group used C++, Java, as well as Python to code their submissions.

Although there are no official prizes, a leader board of teams along with their scores allows students (both in and outside of the competition) to see how they compare to others in Canada. Anyone who wants to be challenged in programming can enter. “Students should get involved if they are interested in Computer Science as a way to challenge themselves with hard problems.”, said Stephen. “It’s fun!” Quincy Lam adds, “I enjoyed it.” The three all agreed they would participate in this competition again.

To get involved, simply register your team on, find a teacher who can supervise, and that’s it! It’s still not too late to register for the upcoming round on November 28. For those of us who aren’t exactly computer experts, let’s wish these three the best of luck for all their future competitions!