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Mathematical Sciences

Computer Science Competitions

January 25, 2016

  • National Cyber League team members, Pim and Lindsay
    National Cyber League team members, Pim and Lindsay

National Cyber League Competition

Two of our students, Pim Trouerbach and Lindsay Von Tish, competed in the National Cyber League  competition last Fall Term, 2015 for Lewis & Clark. In the Pre-Season, they placed in the Silver Bracket. In the regular season, they scored well in game 2. In the post season game, they worked as a team with students from Mt. Hood Community College, to finish in 8th place.

Pim finished 320th out of 2447 during the preseason, and 67th out of 503 in game 2. Lindsay finished 73rd out of 503 in the second regular season game Their team (Pim, Lindsay and three students from Mount Hood Community College) finished in 8th place out of 37 teams.

The seven major topics were:

  • Open source intelligence which was based around using google to find information.
  • Cryptography which comprised of deciphering various text strings.
  • Finding files hidden in pictures through the technique of steganography.
  • Network traffic analysis where we had to analyze packets that were sent between machines and the internet.
  • Password cracking where we had to decrypt various passwords through different hashing methods.
  • Web application exploits where we had to find weaknesses in online applications and use those weaknesses to get information such as login information and info about the servers running them.
  • Forensics which was about recovering files from password protected ZIP files.

“Specifically working in a group for this current game has been one of the most difficult learning experiences I have ever had”, commented Pim. ” I had to learn a lot very quickly but without this competition I would not understand half as much as I know currently about cyber security. While being able to read out of a book or take a class is always helpful, there is nothing like putting what you know to the test and to figure out how to solve the complicated problems that the NCL has to offer.”

 ACM Programming Competition

 The ACM Programming Competition challenges students to solve algorithmic problems as a team of three, while under a time constraint. The competition is divided into two divisions: Division 2 is aimed at students who have only taken introductory computer science courses or who have little experience programming in a competitive environment, while Division 1 is aimed at experienced students. Division 1 teams can qualify to compete at the global level against teams from regional qualifiers all over the world.

Our two Division 2 teams solved 6 and 7 problems out of 11, placing them at 32nd and 14th place, respectively, out of 64 teams.  Our Division 1 team solved 3 out of 11 very difficult problems, placing them 37th out of 70 teams. These teams included delegations from some of the top technical programs in the country, including UC Berkeley and the University of Washington, so these are commendable placements for Lewis & Clark undergraduates.

Division 2:

Tyler Moody
Eli Goldman
Sam Makman

Maggie Dreyer
Connor Lay
James Josephson

Division 1:

Miles Crabill
Dakota Schneider
Esteban Valle

It has been several years since Lewis & Clark sent teams to this competition. In the past, a class was held – Advanced Algorithms – to help students prepare for the competition. This year, Programming Club took over organizing the teams and preparing students to compete. In the future we hope to continue sending teams and demonstrating that even a small department like ours can field motivated, competitive teams. The competition was a great way to meet students from other schools, as well as to engage students at all levels of their computer science education. The problems in the competition encourage teamwork and creative thinking, both of which skills are very important for future computer scientists, whether they go on to become software developers, engineers, or researchers.