UA Computer Science Students Win Regional Programming Contest

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A team of three University of Alabama students won a regional computer programming contest, beating out 21 other teams from six universities in writing software programs to solve problems.

Two other UA teams, each with three students, also performed well at the annual Deloitte Consulting’s Hattiesburg Invitational Programming Competition, said Dr. Jeff Gray, associate professor of computer science and a co-coach for the teams. The nine students who recently traveled to Hattiesburg, Miss., for the competition are all computer science majors.

“Four of the participating students were true freshman, offering a promising future for continued success at these events,” Gray said.

Without Internet access and only allowed their memory and as much printed materials as they could carry, the winning team of Benji Hill, of Madison; Tyler Crompton, of Trussville; and Chris LaBauve, of Metaire, La., was the only group among the 21 teams to solve five problems. The teams were given four hours to solve 11 problems ranging from designing software to predicting how a domino chain would fall to writing a program to find similarities among pretend criminal suspects by sorting through data.

The two other UA teams did well, and, at the halftime of the competition, the three UA teams were in first, second and third place, Gray said. One team was comprised of Jake Trower, of St. Marys, Ga.; Matt Robbins, of Centerville, Ohio; and Chris Hodapp, of Centerville, Ohio, and the other team was made up of Johnathan Snyder, of Tuscaloosa; Blake Bassett, of Troy; and Greg Winn, of Prattville.

Besides Gray, the teams were coached by UA doctoral student Brian Eddy, who also attended the event, along with Drs. John Lusth and Alex Zhang, both associate professors of computer science. These coaches are hoping to start a new competitive programming course at UA to continue the future success at events like these.

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s fully accredited College of Engineering has more than 3,100 students and more than 100 faculty. In the last eight years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater scholars, Hollings scholars and Portz scholars.


Adam Jones, engineering public relations, 205/348-6444,


Dr. Jeff Gray, 205/348-2847,