The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 41.0°F | Mostly Cloudy

Several IAP activities challenge participants


By Charles R. Jankowski

For most students, Independent Activities Period is a time to unwind after surviving four months of term work. But for others, it is a time to match their intellect and ingenuity with those of others, by taking part in one of many competitions.

The Integration Bee tested mastery of 18.01. The Mystery Hunt sent students searching all over campus for a hidden artifact. The Othello competition matched computer program against computer program, in a quest for the supreme electronic Othello player.

Integration Bee

Peter Gordon '88 was the winner in the Integration Bee, which was sponsored by Arun Ram '87, winner of last year's contest. Robert Atkins '87 and Seth Brown '88 took second and third respectively.

The first round of the contest began Jan. l7, when approximately 40 students took an hour long test of 35 integrals. "The test was a lot harder than I thought it would be," said Ram, who helped select the finalists for the second round.

The second and final round of competition occured on Jan. 22. The 10 finalists read integrals off an overhead projector, and were given two and a half minutes to do each calculation.

Any student who integrated incorrectly was eliminated, while success kept alive hopes of being named MIT's premier integrator. "Most people would finish in around a minute or a minute and a half," said Ram, who went on to note that "most people who took the full two and a half minutes got the integral wrong."

Other finalists in the contest were Scott I. Berkenblit '86, who tied for third last year with Atkins, Charles H. Conley '85, Jens Karlsson '88, Steven A. Leduc '86, Daniel F. Morgan '85, Lenny Sheet '88, and David J. Zagorski '86. The field of finalists included four freshmen, two of whom took first and third, and six math majors.

In search of...

Another IAP contest, the Mystery Hunt, sent MIT students to all corners of the campus in search of a coin, secretly placed somewhere within the Institute.

"We started out with about 80 contestants, but that whittled down to about 40 or 50," according to James L. Petivan '86, who co-sponsored the contest along with Dhanesh K. Samarasan '86. The contestants were given daily clue sheets to help them find the hidden target.

The hunt began Jan. 21, and lasted until the coin was found at approximately 9 am Jan. 23, in a locker in a fourth floor hall in Building 7. No prize was given, but "the winner got to keep the lock on the locker," Petivan said.

Artificial Intelligence?

Thomas S. Wanuga G won IAP's fifth annual computer Othello tournament with his Pascal program designed to beat other software masters.

Wanuga's program was one of seven that competed in the tournament. Second place went to "Flipper," a program written by Andrew E. Gelman '85 and Mark T. Vandevoorde '86, co-sponsors of the tournament. Gelman and Vandevoorde wrote their program in C on Project Athena.

According to Gelman, nine groups entered the contest at the beginning of IAP, and were given approximately three weeks to write their program. Two were not completed in time to take part in the tournament.

Project Athena machines were used, in addition to IBM Personal Computers and DEC-20 machines operated by the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Contestants also used LISP, BASIC, and FORTRAN.

In the tournament, competing programs were run on adjacent terminals. As the winner, Wanuga won a fifty dollar prize and a plaque, signifying his programming expertise.