I am Alex Schwendner, age 14, and I would be in 8th grade. I say that I
would be in the 8th grade because I have never been to school; I am
homeschooled. This will be my first year at the USACO camp.
My first significant experience with programming was in 5th grade when I
attended a short robotics day camp. There I built a number of robots and
then, afterwards, I programmed them in LOGO. On the last day, minutes
before the open house where we would show everyone the robots that we
had built, it was discovered that the disk that my program was on had
been corrupted, and I had to rewrite the program on the spot. In 6th
grade, I received a computer program called "Learn to program BASIC".
object-oriented sliding toolbar system that I used to make a complex
DHTML web page to be used as an Active-Desktop background. Last summer,
I attended a C++ summer camp at TIP (Talent Identification Program). I
learned a lot there, and when I came home, I learned what we had not
covered at my summer camp about the C++ language, and I spent my time
writing interesting computer programs to do anything from playing chess,
to finding all of the prime numbers up to 2,000,000,000, to sorting
200,000,000 numbers into ascending or descending order.
Then, from a post on the MATHCOUNTS web site by Vladimir Novakovski, I
learned about USACO, and for fun, I entered the first Internet round of
USACO, not thinking that I would do particularly well. I started with
the orange division; however, I quickly finished all of the problems in
that division. As I had not looked at the problems in the green
division, I emailed Rob Kolstad who allowed me to switch to the green
division (none of the problems were the same on that round) and I came
in 13th in the green division. Since then, I have competed in the other
rounds of USACO and worked on the training gateway, although I still
write other computer programs for fun.
Aside from USACO, I am also doing a number of math competitions
including MATHCOUNTS Nationals, USAMO, and ARML (in Iowa). My minor
interests include chess, as well as juggling, and fencing. I will be
bringing a chess set and juggling clubs to USACO (although not any
fencing equipment, as it might scare the cows).