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During the 2014 Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference in Seattle, WA master’s students Fabian A. Del Valle, Diana M. Darabi and undergraduate Lyan M. Lugo participated in the first Code-A-Thon. The focus was Cyber Security and the students were given a challenge. They were distributed into nine groups of six individuals with a mix of undergraduate, Masters and PhD students from universities across the country such as UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, West Point Military Academy and MIT. The challenge consisted of developing two different programs to encrypt and decrypt information and using socket programming to develop programs to send encrypted messages between our teams. At the same time we had to be capturing the encrypted messages of the opposing teams and try to decrypt them.

Fabian and Diana where placed on the same team while Lyan was assigned a different one. All the groups used their own approach to solve the challenge and used different programming languages. Fabian’s and Diana’s team used Python while Lyan’s team used Java. They key to willing this challenge was to distribute tasks based on each team members background, some worked on a Sniffing tool and the message sending tool while others worked on developing the encryption and decryption methods. It was a group effort. The evaluation criteria was: building your own sniffing tool, how many messages were sent successfully within the team, and how many encrypted messages were captured and decrypted. In the end Fabian’s and Diana’s team tied for first place with Lyan’s team.The two teams that tied for first place in the Security Code-a-thon Competition, were the teams with students from Polytechnic University.