Jerry Zheng codes the platform for the Alabama Consortium for Expertise in Training – The Madison Document
MADISON – Jerry Zheng, a sophomore student at James Clemens High School, wouldn’t accept the downsides – even cancellations – of the pandemic faced by students in a nationwide computer science competition.
Zheng created the first virtual platform for students to practice and compete in the Alabama State Consortium for Technology in Education. Zheng himself formulated the questions, wrote test cases and coordinated the competition online.
“The work Jerry did for ACTE exceeds what you would find in typical high school advanced computer science courses,” said Kayla Brown. Brown sponsors the Computer Science Team and teaches precalculus and computer science with James Clemens. “To make it all up for the competition, Jerry needed to be familiar with competitive programming algorithms and advanced website design.”
Zheng also understood, improved, and bugfixed the current implementation. To build the competition platform, he worked with cloud platforms such as AWS Lightsail, MySQL database, Python WebSocket and Ubuntu operating system. “The platform is scalable. For example, he added an additional review server for this competition because of the number of participants, ”said Brown.
Brown describes Zheng as a very determined student who is always up to a challenge. “It was a very extensive process to run the entire ACTE competition on my own. Jerry had to overcome several hurdles, ”she said. “His persistence in overcoming these challenges made the competition successful.”
“Jerry will continue to thrive because he is able to approach a problem, think about the process, and learn to adjust,” said Brown.
Zheng already planned to host a programming competition this year. When he was invited to host the largest technology competition in the state, he couldn’t turn down the next level. He wanted to “help students not just in my county but across the state. In addition, I learned (many) interesting things in organizing and hosting this competition and took back my own knowledge of competitive programming topics. “
The hardest task was writing solutions. “Often things make sense at first glance, but on closer inspection, important steps in understanding are glossed over. I wanted students to know not only how to solve problems but also why the solution came to the conclusions, ”said Zheng.
Students should see the competition as a learning experience rather than a place to just earn prizes, Zheng said.
At James Clemens, Zheng participates in the math, computer science and soccer teams. He is a two-time qualifier for the American Invitational Math Exam. He achieved USACO Gold status in programming and first place in the computer science competition at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.
Programming is Zheng’s primary hobby. “Most of the projects help me make my life easier, but I did some for school / other people such as a fingerprint scanner attendance manager for the James Clemens library and an online homework grader for the chemistry department “, he said. Zheng also likes origami and soccer.
His parents are Haibiao Zheng and Xiaoying Lou. Both work as software developers for ADTRAN.
Jerry plans to do a Masters in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University.
“I also have to say greetings to everyone who has helped me: my computer science teacher Kayla Grantham / Brown; James Clemens Director Brian Clayton; and my ninth / tenth grade advisors, Heather Porter and Kristen Gist. You helped me accelerate my sophomore year for my computer science trip and dual enrollment class at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, ”said Jerry.