American Computer Science League (ACSL) has been organizing computer science and programming international contests for 43 years. On average about 500 teams in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia participate annually. Students are tested on fundamental concepts in computer science, ranging from Number Systems to Boolean Algebra and Digital Electronics. Each contest also includes a problem to be solved by programming. The top students are invited to compete in an online Finals competition. This year three of the DCG students, namely Peter Lekše, Rebeka Stres and Angelika Volarič, qualified in the finals, but it was Peter Lekše, who gained the bronze medal. Helena Starc Grlj, teacher of informatics at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium, prepared the students for the competition.
This how Peter experienced the event: “Recently I took part in ACSL Finals, which I qualified for by competing in four contests throughout this school year. The contest for top teams was held in the USA, but due to pandemic, the competition was held online, with the same starting times for all the students. I must say I was lucky because for me that was at 4 pm, but it must have been tougher for West Coast and Korean students.
The competition started with ACSL director Marc Brown greeting us on the livestream. Then we had three hours to solve two problems. One was about building sentences with words from a given dictionary and a given sentence structure. For the other one we had to make a program that would determine whether the king is safe, in check, in checkmate, or in stalemate, given the state of the game. I finished a little early and was pleased with my solutions even though they could most likely be further optimized but that would require more time. After a short break we started with short problems and had one hour to solve twenty of them. They were a bit harder since it was a final competition but I was able to handle everything and was pretty confident about my solutions. After about two hours the results were released. Out of 580 students who qualified for the finals I was tied in 44th place with 37 out of 40 points, winning a bronze medal. I am very happy with my achievement considering I did not practice very much and that I can be quite sloppy at times”. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/