news-category: Academics

Two-Person Computer Programming Team Records Best Finish Ever for Gardner-Webb

closeup of php code on a monitor

Andrew Bounds and Adam Mystkowski Finish Above Teams with Four Members

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Competing against teams twice their size, Gardner-Webb University computer science majors, Andrew Bounds and Adam Mystkowski, recently placed sixth in the Southeastern Small College Programming Contest. They competed against 13 teams from six other colleges.

Dr. Mirek Mystkowski, professor of mathematics and computer science, has been taking students to the competition for six years. The event is held each year at the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges, Southeastern Region conference.

“The sixth place is our best finish ever,” Mirek praised. “I’m really proud of our students. They hardly could do better, since they competed against teams with four students. With nine problems to solve and only three hours of time to solve them, they were at significant disadvantage.”

The competition offered an opportunity for Bounds and Adam to practice the skills they’ve learned in Gardner-Webb’s computer science program. The courses aim to teach students how to create and implement the latest computing technologies for the betterment of society. They analyze problems and design algorithms, implement and use data structures, learn how to work effectively in teams and become proficient on various other skills and topics.

Andrew Bounds (holding the certificate) and Adam Mystkowski pose during the awards ceremony.

Adam explained how the competition works. “Each team (2-4 people) gets a computer to write and submit programs and a place to discuss problems. The start/stop times and questions are the same for everyone. For each problem, the teams need to write and submit a program that solves the problem in all cases. The problems may be worked on in any order. When a team completes a program, they send it to be judged. If the program does not satisfy the problem, the team gets penalty points and may try again by submitting another program. Teams are scored based on the number of problems solved, the amount of time it took to solve the problems, and the number of incorrect submissions.”

Bounds, a sophomore who is minoring in writing, noted that he and Adam gave the first correct program submission at five minutes into the competition. “I really love being able to solve problems and create on a computer,” Bounds said. “No one knows what the problems are ahead of time, and the more problems you complete the better your score. Some of the problems were pure programming, but a lot of them were math heavy as well.”

Adam, also a sophomore, was proud that he and Bounds placed higher than Wofford. The two had practiced every week for about four months by solving sample programs from past competitions. “I’m really interested in the concepts, versatility, and applications involved, and I like solving problems and creating things in general,” he shared. “Also, I find it very satisfying when I get a huge program that I have been working on for a long time to finally work.”

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to six professional schools, 14 academic departments, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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