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NYU-Poly Hosts Computer Showdown For Students Across The Country

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Brooklyn recently became cyber central as students from across the country competed in a computer showdown at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.

Some of these students pulled all-nighters, not studying for some big exam, but trying to crack computer codes in the NYU-Poly Cyber Security Awareness Week competition.

"It's really fun," said Amat Cama, a student at Northeastern University. "Right now, I'm pretty tired. I haven't slept all night."

It's a 72-hour contest where 15 teams from around the country have to solve a series of challenges to earn points.

"There are exploitation problems, where there's a computer program running on a remote computer and you have to figure out how to take over that remote computer via the vulnerable program that's running on it," said Ryan Goulden, a student at Carnegie Mellon University.

Sound complicated? The college undergraduates and high school students who participated say that it is. But it's what drives them.

"The type of person that does this has a certain mentality," said Ryan Grandgenett, a student at the University of Nebraska. "They like to solve challenges. They like to figure out puzzles. They really want to learn everything about how it works, not just how to use it."

"The competition is very focused on very important tools and techniques and processes that students need to know when they graduate to be able to be good cyber-security experts in the field," said Julian Cohen of NYU-Poly, an adviser for the competition.

There are qualifying rounds just to get here.

"Some of the other teams who's in first or second place, they're really incredible, and we're kind of awed by them," said Alex Meiburg, a student at Dos Pueblos High School. "But we're really happy just that we got here at all."

This is the 10th year for the Brooklyn event, which continues to grow. It started with just 10 finalists. Now, there are more than 100.

"Very excited to be here," said Carolina Zarate, a student at Poolesville High School. "Having a lot of fun doing this competition. It's something I really enjoy doing."

While some competitors are here for the fun of it, winners receive scholarships and other cash prizes.

"I guess the most important thing is to have fun," Cama said. "But if we get top 5, I wouldn't be angry."

So far, Carnegie Mellon University has the most wins.

To find more hands-on science, technology, engineering and math opportunities in your community, visit connectamillionminds.com.

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