Last year, the Computer Science Club hosted its own competition. The event was called High School Capture the Flag and was held from May 18 through May 25. More than 2,000 people participated in the event.
That alone is impressive—but what makes this accomplishment even more astonishing is that the club was formed in January of the same year. Junior Jacob Edelman spearheaded the application process with the goal of creating a club that educates students about computer science. “We felt there was a need for students to learn about computer science and compete in competitions, as there was already a lot of interest in competitions,” said Edelman, who is now the club’s president.
Not many people know about the club’s success, and that is probably because only five students designed the organization, and three of them have graduated. Alok Tripathy, a senior and this year’s vice-president, and Edelman helped design the program, as well as Aaron Weiss, Ben Edelman and Ernest Chiu, all of whom have left North. “We ended up having 2000-plus people across the country participate (and a few in other countries), which was way more than expected.” Tripathy said. The club only expected a few teams to join and was hoping for a hundred teams, but ultimately more than 750 teams participated in the event.
The club is also organizing another HSCTF competition again this year, which will be held from May 17-24. The competition is a hacking tournament designed to teach high school and middle school students about computer science.
The competition is a perfect way to describe what the club is all about. The team is always trying to challenge itself: “We mainly try to introduce different areas in CS that people won’t normally see at the high-school level but are definitely capable of tackling,” Tripathy said. The club is able to accomplish this high level of computer science by teaching members about computer science and then competing in and organizing competitions.
The club has also accomplished a lot more than just holding its own competition. This year, it placed third at the PClassic, a competition at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as 14th in picoCTF, another tournament. Neither of these competitions was hosted in person, however; they took place online, and participants were allowed to complete challenges at any point in a given time frame. Also last year, the club placed third nationally and tenth internationally at CSAW CTF, a computer security competition hosted by the Polytechnic Institute of New York. Senior Brice Huang said the competitions feature “lots and lots of really cool problems.”
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