Programming skills put to test

Gathered for the Programming Contest for Girls event this week are (standing, from left)...
Gathered for the Programming Contest for Girls event this week are (standing, from left) CompGirls representatives Maaha Ahmed and Kezia Somerville-Petch, and Year 10 pupils Zara Geddes (St Hilda’s), Eliabel Legrand (St Hilda’s), Emily Wister (Columba), Rosa Smith (St Hilda’s), Mabel Lee (Columba), (seated, from left) Evie Rose Grace (St Hilda’s) and Charlotte Milne (Columba). PHOTO: GUY FREDERICK
Seven keen Dunedin girls put their computer programming skills to the test in a nationwide contest this week.

The Columba College and St Hilda’s Collegiate Year 10 pupils were hosted by the University of Otago Departments of Information Science and Computer Science on Tuesday, as they competed in the Programming Contest for Girls (PC4G) event.

Organised locally by information science lecturer Dr Claudia Ott and computer science lecturer Dr Stefanie Zollmann, the PC4G event was supported by the CompGirls group — a society created to support women in tech.

CompGirls representatives university students Maaha Ahmed (studying computer science and software engineering), and Kezia Somerville-Petch (BSc in Computer Science) were on hand at the computer lab to support the seven local contestants.

The PC4G contest was held in four locations across New Zealand — hosted by the Universities of Otago, Canterbury, Victoria,and Auckland.

Alongside the pupils from Columba College and St Hilda’s Collegiate, the competition involved 11 Canterbury schools, six Wellington schools, and eight Auckland schools.

Each school was represented by between two and 12 girls, competing in teams of two.

The top teams will be invited to a six-day New Zealand Olympiad in Informatics programming camp in January.

Each year, New Zealand sends a team to the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) event, which includes about 85 countries.

Historically, the 300-plus contestants at the international event have included only about 10 girls, which is one of the inspirations behind PC4G.

Organisers hope that PC4G will help to identify girls who enjoy programming and are highly motivated, and who one day may earn a spot on the New Zealand IOI team.


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