NNU Students Place 5th in U.S. in Global Programming Competition

NNU Students Place 5th in U.S. in Global Programming Competition

Northwest Nazarene University
Dec 21, 2019

Two NNU students have earned a fifth place national finish in the 2019 IEEEXtreme programming competition. NNU’s award-winning team is comprised of seniors, Garrisen Cizmich (engineering) and Jacob Winters (computer science).

IEEEXtreme is a 24-hour computer programming coding competition in which students compete against each other to solve a set of programming problems, with one new problem per hour.

“The really great thing is that we got to spend 24 hours straight solving puzzles with computers. The ranking is just icing on the cake,” Winters said of the experience.

The competition included over 4,000 teams from around the world and over 150 from the United States. Cizmich and Winters placed fifth in the United States behind teams from University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University and University of California, Irvine. Additionally, they placed 82nd on the global platform.

Last year, Cizmich and Winters were the only students who represented NNU at the 2018 IEEEXtreme competition. Teams for IEEEXtreme are generally composed of two undergraduate students and one graduate student, but NNU’s two-man powerhouse tackled the challenge on their own.

“I couldn't be more proud of the fifth place performance Jacob and Garrisen turned in, improving on last year's eighth place performance. Having the honor of mentoring high caliber students such as Jacob and Garrisen is a significant part of why I am so glad God called me to NNU to raise up the next generation of Christian software engineers,” said Dale Hamilton, Associate Professor of Computer Science at NNU.

“Competing in the worldwide IEEEXtreme competition not once but twice while at NNU has been an exciting opportunity for me, allowing me to practice my skills while encouraging me to push my limits while coding,” said Cizmich, who serves as chair for NNU’s IEEE student branch. “Although we only sent two students in one team to the IEEEXtreme 12.0 competition last year, we sent four distinct teams with nine total Engineering and Computer Science students to IEEEXtreme 13.0 this year! I would love to see NNU continue to send more teams to IEEEXtreme in the years to come.”

The three other NNU teams who participated in the competition were: Austin White, Jason Hatfield and Gabriel Johnson who placed 32nd nationally and 356th globally; Jarrett Sheehan, Enoch Levandovsky and Edgar Sosa who placed 68th nationally and 888th globally; and Hope Henry who placed 90th nationally and 1159th globally.