First-year computer science comes alive through Battle Royale
End of quarter project spices up curriculum
Feb. 16, 2011
by John Follaco
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A roar will emanate from the RIT campus Saturday afternoon. This noise won’t be coming from Frank Ritter Arena or Clark Gymnasium, however. Instead, its epicenter will be in the Golisano Hall auditorium where first-year computer science students will be putting a quarter’s worth of education into action.
The Department of Computer Science in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences will host its second Battle Royale, an event that pits first-year students against each other in a tournament-style competition, at 1 p.m. Feb. 19.
Each student in the Data Structures for Problem Solving class has built a program to complete the “Quoridor” board game. Those programs will go head-to-head to determine which is best—and each will have its fair share of boisterous supporters.
“It’s a lot of fun,” says Paul Tymann, chair of the computer science department. “You very rarely see a room full of students cheering for their homework assignment.”
Tymann says the competition emerged out of the department’s desire to make its first-year curriculum more exciting.
“Instead of working on abstract assignments, this project enables students to work on something that allows them to have some fun but still conveys the same ideas,” Tymann says.