Andy Wildenberg, associate professor of computer science, 406.238.7380,
RMC Media Team, 406.657.1105,  

In 11th year, RMC programming competitions show high school computer science chops

BILLINGS, April 2 – For 11 years, Andy Wildenberg and other RMC faculty have coordinated a programming competition that celebrates the strengths of students who pursue high school computer science.

“RMC has an excellent initiative to share that honors computer science education in Montana at the high school level,” Wildenberg said.

On April 26 in Technology Hall Room 14, from 8:30 a.m. to midafternoon, RMC hosts its 11th annual iteration of the Montana State High School Programming Competition. “We'll likely have students from Helena High, Missoula Sentinel, Billings West, Billings Senior, and maybe Billings Central (though it's possible the Billings teams may align based on friendships instead of schools),” he said.

This is actually the second programming competition of the year that the College has hosted. RMC hosted a Western Montana contest March 17 “over at Helena and it was again a blast,” Wildenberg said. Helena High School won it, and Missoula Sentinel High School took second and third place.

“The students who come each year to our contests are very good, it's a lot of fun, and it's a relevant and feel-good story,” Wildenberg said. “It’s not exactly a spectator sport, though,” he admitted.

At the competitions, high schoolers sweat to demonstrate relevant solutions to eight problems. Each solution requires that they write a program in Java programming language that accomplishes a task. Problems at the March 17 contest included testing potential magic squares and recognizing a Golumb ruler, an imaginary ruler in which no two pairs of marks are the same distance apart. 

In 2013-14, nine Billings students have dual enrollment status in RMC college courses in computer science while they remain in high school. They receive college credit and early college entrance for their RMC classes while they continue work in high school.