Southeastern computer science students earn top honors at regional competition

Monday, March 10, 2014 Computer Competition Champions
by: Rene Abadie

The "Void Avengers," a team of Southeastern Louisiana University computer science students, took first place in the Deloitte Programming Competition in an event involving 20 teams from eight universities from Louisiana and Mississippi. Pictured are, front, Sunil Shahi, and back, from left, Saket Khatiwada; Assistant Professor John Burris, who coached the team; and Santosh Aryal.

HAMMOND – A team of computer science students at Southeastern Louisiana University took home the top prize at the 2014 Deloitte Consulting Programming Competition held recently at the company's Hattiesburg, MS, Delivery Center.

Twenty teams representing eight universities participated in the four-hour competition where they wrote software programs to solve specific problems. In addition to Southeastern, institutions participating in the competition included LSU, Tulane University, the University of Southern Mississippi and USM Gulf Coast, Mississippi State University, the University of Alabama-Birmingham, and University of South Alabama

"Our students knocked this one out of the park, and we're extremely proud of their performance in this prestigious event," said Sebastian van Delden, head of the Department of Computer Science and Industrial Technology. "Having taken second and third places last year, we are thrilled to nab the top spot in this highly competitive event this year. I am especially proud of our newest computer science faculty member, Dr. John Burris, whose tutelage and leadership guided our students to this success."

Southeastern's winning team, the "Void Avengers," included members Sunil Shahi, Santosh Aryal, and Saket Khatiwada who are majoring in computer science at Southeastern. They were coached by John Burris, assistant professor of computer science.

"Southeastern's victory at the Deloitte Programming Competition highlights the high quality computer science program offerings in the Greater New Orleans region," said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. "This win proves to digital media companies considering locating here that a talented workforce pipeline is growing."

Burris also prepared four other Southeastern teams in the competition. Those teams placed fifth, eighth, ninth and 17th in the competition. Burris coached the teams by holding an intramural programming competition as well as several practice sessions to get the students accustomed to the competition format and rules.

"The performance of our students continues to show the quality of our program and our graduates in the region, and obviously I am very proud of our students' performance," Burris said. "We will continue to use such opportunities from companies such as Deloitte Consulting, the host of this event, and Ameritas Technologies, which sponsored our intermural competition. The relationships we are building with these and other technology companies in the region are helping Southeastern develop extremely talented and competitive coders."

"Southeastern rocks!" exclaimed team member Santosh Aryal, a senior computer science major with a minor in mathematics. "All of the faculty members are very helpful and willing to help us with anything at any time. Dr. Burris organized a warm-up session to go over strategy, rules and problems solving. That was a huge boost for us. Winning this competition was a real delight for me as we participated in the same competition last year but did not perform as well. We worked very hard to achieve the first place position."


About the Southeastern Computer Science program – Southeastern's Computer Science program offers bachelor's degrees in computer science and information technology. Recently added is a new three-year accelerated program in information technology that places heavy emphasis on gaining practical experience through internships at area computer software and technology firms. Graduates from the program have successfully found career opportunities at companies such as IBM, Ameritas Technologies, GE Capital, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Louisiana, Amedias, and Geocent. Approximately 350  students are enrolled in the university's computing science programs.


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