Computer science student in global challenge

Patrick Coleman

Patrick Coleman
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Friday, 26 October 2007

A University of Adelaide student leaves for the United States on Tuesday 30 October to take part in the finals of a global computer programming tournament.

Third-year Mathematical and Computer Sciences student Patrick Coleman (20), from Aldgate, is the only Australian in the finals. He is pitting his programming skills against seven other students from around the world in the software component design contest, part of the annual 2007 Topcoder Collegiate Challenge.

The three-day finals, with winners announced on Friday 2 November and a first prize of US$25,000, will be held at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

"It is great to be able to get this experience," says Patrick. "The sorts of program components I'm designing now are exactly what I'll have to be doing in a full-time professional job. I'm already getting the experience in the technology used and the processes involved. We also get to meet and talk with the sponsors, which may be useful for my future career."

Patrick started entering programming competitions while still at school at St Peter's College in Adelaide. He was on the Australian team in both the 2003 and 2004 International Informatics Olympiads, part of the 'Olympic Games' for the world's brightest science and maths school students, and won a bronze medal in 2003.

Now, as an undergraduate student at the University of Adelaide, he spends 15-20 hours a week entering smaller programming contests to help fund his way through university. The program designs entered in the competitions are sometimes used within larger applications developed by Topcoder for their clients. Some of Patrick's programming has been used within AOL products.

"I make relatively good money compared to other part-time jobs, it's in the field I'm studying and it's flexible hours so it works nicely around university," Patrick says. Next year Patrick plans to carry on with his studies and do Honours in Computer Science or Mathematics.


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Ms Robyn Mills
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The University of Adelaide
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