CS Students Win HackerGames
Over a month-long span in September and October 2012, the competitve hacker league HackerRank held its intercollegiate programming challenge HackerGames. Over 20 schools and 1,500 participants competed, including three Purdue Computer Science undergraduates: sophomore Nathaniel Cherry, senior Derek Li, and senior Brent Woodhouse.
Li served as HackerRank's campus ambassador, which means he was responsible for reaching out to interested students and functioning as a beta tester for HackerRank's future competitions. "We looked for students who could engage their campus effectively while not treating the role as a job," HackerRank officials noted. "People who were talented communicators, could have fun, and get the job done. Without these guys we would have not been able to get such a huge turn out."
The scenario of this year's HackerGames involved sending collegiate hackers in search of Dr. Marcus Ja'koof, a (fictional) world-renowned thief. Progressing through seven levels that each became more difficult, hackers were required to engage with several fields of computer science, including graph theory, image processing, and artificial intelligence to crack the puzzles. A total $10,000 in prize money was put up for hackers who solved the final puzzle: $5,000 for the first place winner and $5,000 to be split among all other players who cracked the final challenge.
Brent Woodhouse took first place in the HackerGames. He tied with a student from Tufts University, so the two will split the first and second place prizes. Derek Li placed third and Nathaniel Cherry placed ninth in the overall competition. Li and Cherry will each share a portion of $5,000 with other winning competitors.
Congratulations to Brent Woodhouse, Derek Li, and Nathaniel Cherry on their impressive showing!