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Computer Science Students Competing in Thailand

Image USD Computer Science Team Mitchell Peterson, of Centerville, S.D., Kurtis Van Gent, of Sheldon, Iowa, and Ben Erickson, of Slayton, Minn., are in Thailand for a worldwide computer science contest.

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Three University of South Dakota computer science students are in Thailand this week competing against teams from 127 other colleges and universities in a global programming competition.

Kurtis Van Gent, of Sheldon, Iowa, Ben Erickson, of Slayton, Minnesota, and Mitchell Peterson, of Centerville, South Dakota, are at the 2016 World Finals for the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ACM-ICPC). The competition runs through Friday at Prince of Songkla University, Phuket, Thailand. Coached by USD computer science professor Doug Goodman, the team competes against the top coding teams in the world.

“It’s usually hard to find people in computer science who want to gather with groups of other people,” Goodman said with a laugh. “But these guys have organized not only the practices, processes and formulas they can use for competitions. These are things that can be used by other people in the department.”

Contest preparation includes practice word problems that are based on common data structures and algorithms. “All the things your computer does every day that you don’t think about,” Erickson said. Teams are to intake the data in each problem, analyze it and output the resulting data, similar to the communication process between computers and other devices.

Next year’s ACM-ICPC will take place in Rapid City, South Dakota.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News