Tuesday Feb 17 2009
Former resident to travel across globe for world tech contest
By: Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald
One Rocklin woman is taking the tech world by storm. Less than a year ago 20-year-old Lauren Ellsworth was introduced to computer programming and will soon compete against 100 other teams in a worldwide competition, the Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming World Finals. Her University of Chicago three-member team, Works in Theory, will travel to Sweden this April for the strenuous competition, where they will be tested on their skills of solving computer-programming problems. Ellsworth, a pre-law and computer programming major at University of Chicago, was first introduced to computer programming through an introductory computer game. Three months later, she said she landed a job with a computer tech company and three months after that declared a second major in computer science. “She really picked up on it,” said Lauren’s mother, Julia Ellsworth. “She learns things very, very quickly and has a photographic memory.” In the library, studying for finals, Lauren received news that her team was going on to the world finals as one of the top 100 teams from around the world. “I was blown away,” Julia said, when she heard Lauren’s news. In order to qualify for the world finals, Lauren’s team competed in a regional round and came in third for the mid-Western area. She said it’s rare for a third place team to make it to finals, but her team was one to nab a spot. Her team competed against 21,000 students in 1,838 universities in 88 countries on six continents. Works in Theory will travel to Sweden, expenses paid, and spend five days for the world finals. The competition consists of eight or more real-world problems under a five-hour deadline. With one computer, each team of three will collaborate and solve the computer programming problems. Currently Lauren is studying abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico concentrating on Latin American Studies, something she hopes to pursue also, as a minor. Upon her return to the states, Lauren and her two other team members will have three weeks to practice and prepare for the world finals – they’re equipped with practice problems from last year’s finals, she said. Lauren plans to graduate next year and either enter law school or work for a technology company. “My main interest is the Internet,” she said, specifically related to the legal standpoint of identity. She admits her dream job would be to work in Paris where there’s a “really cool emerging tech scene,” she said. Contact Lauren Weber at email@example.com.