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Greencastle-Antrim grad, teammates to take on the world

February 13, 2004|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - A team of three computer science students at Shippensburg University has qualified to compete in an international programming competition.

The team, which includes Carrie Bean, 22, of Greencastle, will compete against 73 teams from around the world in the Association for Computing Machinery's International Collegiate Contest in Prague, The Czech Republic, next month.

The event is sponsored by the association and IBM.

Bean's teammates are senior Ben Sauerwine of Mechanicsburg, Pa., and junior Brady Alleman of Newville, Pa.

Bean, also a senior, is the team president.

The daughter of Jeffrey and Rachel Bean of 37 Chadwick Drive and a graduate of Greencastle-Antrim High School, she works full time between classes at a Department of Defense facility in Mechanicsburg.

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She wants to work in computer forensics and has sent applications to the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency.

The team's adviser, Carol Wellington, an associate professor of computer science, will accompany her students to Prague. The competition will be held March 28 through April 1.

Wellington said 3,500 teams from around the world tried to place in the international contest. Bean's team qualified for the international games in the mid-Atlantic regional competition in November.

Bean has competed since she was a freshman. "We came close in the last two and three years," she said.

The teams compete by writing computer programs and solving complicated mathematical equations. "Whoever solves the most problems in five hours wins," Wellington said.

Wellington prepared her students with weekly problem-solving exercises similar to those they will find in the international competition.

"I'm not nervous," Bean said. "We just want to do our best."

Bean said she likes to participate in such a stressful competition "because it's fun. There's a thrill when something really works."

Each member of the team brings a different strength and perspective to the competition, Wellington said.

"Carrie is very good in planning strategy. She's good when the others get stuck," Wellington said. "There's a lot of strategy in determining how the team spends its time."

She said Sauerwine, a double physics major, does well with complex mathematical concepts and Alleman excels at solving long-run problems. "You have to plan how to attack them," she said.

Each member of the winning team and their school will receive $10,000.

Wellington, who's been coaching Shippensburg teams for six years, said 73 teams from around the world, including 23 from the United States, will compete.

Shippensburg will join some prestigious U.S. universities in Prague, including Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell, Duke, Stanford and Virginia Tech.

The university is paying for the trip, Wellington said.

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