The Flaming Phoenixes earned first place honors at the 1998 Midwest Invitational Programming Contest, sponsored by the student ACM chapter at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology just outside Terre Haute Indiana, on Saturday 28 March 1998.
The driven Phoenixes, and their coach/chauffeur, left the Hyde Park campus Friday 27 March and headed south on US 41. Passing through a time warp in Hammond Indiana, they enjoyed traditional mid-20th-century American cuisine at the Blue Top Drive-In. Continuing south, the combination of gale winds outside and high-intensity thought inside blew out the side window of Mike's well seasoned van, covering our heroes in glass pellets. Undaunted, they displayed duct-tape dexterity equal to their programming prowess and were soon on the road again with custom cardboard window, reaching the pretty-good hospitality of the renowned Palmer House Motel to discover that Indiana is on a different time zone than Illinois.
Saturday morning, fortified by generic hash-browns and factory-baked bagels, the fearless Phoenixes located the delightful campus of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (U Chicago should have such nice classrooms), and practiced their high-technique on their official competition NeXT workstation. At the thoroughly edible dormitory lunch, the team chatted up the local expertise, while their chauffeur learned the fine points of Mountain Dew abuse from the Taylor University team.
After lunch, the bits hit the bucket. The Phoenixes solved six challenging programming problems in less than four hours to win, surpassing the second-place team from Taylor on time to completion.
The Phoenixes are looking forward to the Mid-Central USA Regional meet in November, to qualify for the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest.