Using Topcoder in Introductory Data Structures and Algorithms

Adam Disney and James S. Plank, EECS Department, University of Tennessee.

The Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, Volume 33, #2, December, 2017, pp. 268-274.

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Beginning computer science students often struggle with the motivation behind different data structures and algorithms. It’s helpful to have examples and practice problems that are not simply descriptions of singular algorithms. Some examples include problems that require more than one data structure and/or algorithm, problems that require modifications to standard data structures and/or algorithms, and problems that require attention to efficiency both in time and space. The Topcoder competitive coding platform can be an excellent resource to provide these examples and can be used in several ways in the classroom. In this paper, we detail our experience with Topcoder in several classes and from several perspectives.

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