The annual Association for Computing Machinery Fall Code Jam took place from Saturday, Oct. 15, to Sunday, Oct. 16 at the Mayo SAC. The Code Jam, a programming competition with teams of up to four people, ran 24 hours from 10 AM to 10 AM.
The objective of Code Jam is to utilize the 24-hour time period given to create a program or app. Participants aren’t allowed to do any work on their projects, although they can plan them, before the competition begins. Free food and prizes such as gift cards were offered to teams with the most impressive creations. The first place team won $100 Amazon gift cards for each team member, the second place team won $75 Amazon gift cards, and the third place team won $50 Amazon gift cards.
Senior Sam Chott was a part of the third place team along with fellow seniors Thomas Littlejohn and Se Yeon Kim. He and his teammates made a collaborative coding education web app.
Though participants have the option to code for up to 24 hours, Chott reported that “nobody actually stayed for 24 hours this year. It seemed like about half of the people were gone by midnight.” However, he added that “In past years maybe half of the people stayed for the full 24 hours.”
When asked whether the 24-hour event was draining, Chott commented that it was challenging but fun. “It sucks for the first few hours, but I really got into it and had a good time.”
The second place team, consisting of freshmen Hannah Robbins, Rachel Porter, Gavin Moore, and Alex Leeper, made a choose-your-own-adventure app where the user could play as a presidential candidate’s campaign manager. The first prize-winning team, composed of juniors Sam Beckmann and Nate Beckemeyer as well as sophomore John Bolin created an interactive electoral map indicating how much a single vote for president matters in each state.
Nate Beckemeyer, a participant as well as an organizer of the event, said that their website “used the weight of your vote…based off of a simple linear regression from the past 5 presidential elections” and “a measurement of the likelihood of a state to swing in the election” to determine the value of a single vote.
“The real aspect of the project was the map on the website and its functionality, which Sam Beckmann worked on tirelessly,” he continued. “It went really well, which is rare for a Code Jam project.”
Beckemeyer concluded that “Code Jams are a great opportunity to learn something that you want to learn, but normally wouldn’t. The events force you to focus to learn that tool or technique to build a finished product. I would highly recommend the Code Jam to any students who want to compete. It’s an excellent learning experience — and a lot of fun.”
According to Chott and Beckemeyer, other programs included a Pokédex that relayed information to the user, an algorithm that could help the user solve a Rubix cube, and a prototype for a website that allowed users to review food from the Caf.