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U Dominates Programming Bout

Nov. 8, 2006 — Students and graduates from the University of Utah School of Computing dominated their competition at a recent computer programming contest.

Berkeley Data Systems, Inc. invited computer programmers throughout Utah to compete for a $10,000 first prize and the title of “Utah’s Best Programmer.” Eight programmers advanced to the final round, which was held Saturday, Nov. 4 at the company”s headquarters in American Fork, Utah.

Of the eight finalists, five were University of Utah School of Computing graduates – one with only a minor in computer science. The five were Brian Palmer, who graduated last year; Peter Jensen, a School of Computing instructor; and three members of the university’s Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute: McKay Davis, Michael Callahan and Bryan Worthen.

The final championship round was intense. All eight programmers came up with equivalent solutions, so no clear winner could be determined. It was decided that all eight finalists won, and they each earned bragging rights and a $1,250 share of the $10,000 prize.

This continues a trend for computer science students from the University of Utah. On Oct. 28, a team of three computer science undergraduates – Huy T. Vo, Solomon Boulos and Hao Wang – defeated all other Utah teams at the regional programming contest that is part of the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM’s) International Collegiate Programming Contest. Jensen helped coach that team.

“Our computer science program attracts the best and the brightest students from all over Utah,” Jensen says. “That’s why we win.”

The School of Computing is the only nationally ranked computer science program in Utah. Graduates have pioneered new fields in computer science. They include Alan Kay, the father of the personal computer; Jim Clark, who co-founded Silicon Graphics Inc. and Netscape; Nolan Bushnell, the father of the video game industry who co-founded Atari; John Warnock, who co-founded Adobe Systems Inc.; Alan Ashton, founder of WordPerfect; and Ed Catmull, co-founder and president of Pixar Animation Studios, known for films such as “Toy Story,” “Monsters, Inc.” and “Finding Nemo.”

Berkeley Data Systems (, the creators of Mozy, is a technology company based in Utah that specializes in large-scale, parallel storage systems and software. The software allows users to easily create backup copies of their data and store the backup safely and securely at a remote location.