Calling schools programmers


TEENAGE programmers all over the country are today offered a chance to test their skills against each other. After completing a preliminary round, up to 100 students will take part in the final off a national programming competition at Easter. The winner and runners up will go on to an international competition in Cape Town in South Africa later this year.

The fourth All Ireland Schools Programming Competition, sponsored by IBM, is organised by Dublin City University, where the national final will be held on April 5th and 6th. The competition begins today, with entry forms and first round problems being posted out to second level schools.

To enter, students should complete Round 1, which consists of five problems. They range from the relatively simple (e.g. write a program that takes a number between 1 and 26 as input and prints that number of letters of the alphabet) to the not so simpler.

In each case, entrants should write programs to solve the problems and send the programs, their output and descriptions of the programs to the competition organisers. This programming can be done at school or at home.

These programs will be judged on technical merit (does it work?) and on their artistic impression (readability and structure of the program). The top 100 entrants approximately, will be invited to the two-day final at DCU.

The competition is open to second-level students in Ireland - who will be under 20 years of age - on July 1st.

Any high-level language (such as Pascal, Basic or C) can be used, but not assembly language or machine code.

Entry forms and Round 1 problems are available from schools, or on the Net from DCU (http:/ or on today's Computimes page at The Irish Times on the Web (

Completed Round 1 problems should be sent to All Ireland Schools Programming Competition, Computer Applications, Dublin City University, Glasnevin, Dublin 9. Entries should arrive by Monday, March 3rd.