Computer science hosts texting contest for high school students

The winning team, Pirate Pride from Center Point High School.The Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) held its fifth high school computer science contest, Texting 2010, Oct. 2 in the H.R. Bright Building at Texas A&M University.Fifteen student teams from Texas high schools were presented with a texting challenge designed by Dr. Yoonsuck Choe, an aassociate professor specializing in computational neuroscience. The student teams were asked to design a new interface for text entry on a cell phone as well as a social texting application customized for the high school club of their choice.The teams spent five hours in classrooms and labs designing their text interfaces and texting apps. They were then tasked to construct a poster and prepare a presentation. When lunch was delivered to the teams, many of the students multitasked and continued to work on their staging for the finals, which were held in Bright's Frank J. Malina '34 Auditorium.Second place went to Second place went to team Indomitable ETA from the Academy of Science and Technology in San Antonio.During the planning stage, the teams were visited at some point by the judges and were asked to explain their work. This helped the judges get a better grasp of the projects, learn about the design process, and observe the team dynamics.The final demonstrations were lively, informative, imaginative and fun. For example, Team Dulles Vikings from John Foster Dulles High School in Sugar Land included a song-and-dance routine to their energetic presentation.The winning team, Pirate Pride from Center Point High School, received a HP Photosmart R707 digital camera and a HP Photosmart 325 Compact Photo Printer for their school. Each team member was awarded a $100 Best Buy gift certificate. Their innovative project, "The Minion: Text Entry," proposed the use of motion sensors to transcribe sign language into text, and an app that allows sharing of music through vibration for the hearing impaired.Second place went to team Indomitable ETA from the Academy of Science and Technology in San Antonio. Their school received a Kodak ESP Office 6150 All-In-One Printer and each team member received a $50 Best Buy gift certificate.Winning third place was McKinney High School.Winning third place was McKinney High School. For their school they won an HP Officejet 4500 Wireless Printer, and $25 Best Buy gift certificates were given to each member of the team.Random drawings for USB flash drives went to 15 of the students attending; others won laptop computer bags, one iPod touch, and two iPod shuffles.Texting 2010 was generously sponsored by CSE Industrial Affiliates Program members Chevron, Hewlett Packard, and Dell. The contest was organized by CSE Program Coordinator Ms. Theresa Roberts. Other CSE staff, undergraduate students, and their families also volunteered for the event.