Windward's Code Wars Competition Works to Erase Gender Gap in Computer Science

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The hackathon encourages coed team participation, is open to all college-level computer science programs throughout the world and is green given it is virtual and thus, on site for most colleges and universities.

Harvey Mudd College 2012 Windward Code Wars Participants

Harvey Mudd College 2012 Windward Code Wars Participants

"We really appreciated that the competition emphasized strategy and problem solving rather than simply coding," said Joline Morrison, a professor in the Computer Science Department at University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, 2012 champions

In an era that has seen backwards movement in the percentage of college women majoring in computer science, Windward is helping to change the direction of that trend. The sponsor of the International Collegiate Programming Championship is making a concerted push to encourage female students to take part in the annual competition that challenges teams of computer science students to become the hackathon champion.

"Computer science schools are still 80 percent plus male, and they're one of the most male-dominated majors today," says David Thielen, CTO and founder of Windward. "A competition like Code Wars makes the field more interesting to women and helps reduce the imbalance."

Code Wars is a contest to see which team can write the best code. Students race against the clock and one another to analyze a problem, write a solution, and test and debug it. After the 8-hour programming deadline, teams go head to head.

To further participation by women students, Windward is working with diversity representatives at the various participating colleges. Windward also is sharing the experiences of past women participants to demonstrate the benefits of taking part in the day-long event.

"We really appreciated that the competition emphasized strategy and problem solving rather than simply coding," said Joline Morrison, a professor in the Computer Science Department at University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, which produced the 2012 Code Wars champion. "I overheard one of our students say, 'It was a lot of fun brainstorming, strategizing and coding with my teammates – they’re awesome!'"

In addition, Windward is featuring the video Windward Code Wars at Harvey Mudd. Harvey Mudd entered multiple coed teams into the 2012 contest and the president of the college, Maria Klawe, is a well-known advocate of fostering more women students in technology.Her initiatives raised the percentage of women computer science majors at Harvey Mudd from 22 to 40 percent in her first six years.

Code Wars 2013 will take place Saturday, January 26. For more information on Windward's International Collegiate Programming Championship, please visit

About Windward
Windward offers business intelligence, enterprise reporting, document generation and Web-based business intelligence solutions. Launched in 2002, Windward is the only full-featured, robust Java and .NET engine to use Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint as a layout tool, putting template design and report and document generation power in the hands of the end user. Any Office user can easily and securely create reports and documents with almost no learning curve. Additionally, OEMs and VARs use Windward’s reporting component.

Windward works by merging any XML, SQL or custom data source—or any combination thereof—with a Microsoft Office report template. It feeds data into the template to create a what-you-see-is-what-you-get report or document that can be generated in DOCX, XLSX, PPTX, PDF, HTML, direct to printer, RTF, XLS, WordML, TXT, and CSV. Windward runs as a standalone application or in an enterprise computing environment. Also unique, Windward implements in hours, offers affordable server-based pricing, and offers “prompt, fantastic” technical support via a 24/7 support forum and support contracts. A free trial of Windward's products is available at

The Windward user group spans 70 countries. User applications include financial statements, inventory reports, product-usage reports, purchase orders, invoices, training certificates, timesheets, and licenses. Other applications include reporting to meet requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley, Patriot Act, ARRA, HIPAA, Health Level Seven, Gramm-Leach-Blailey, Basel II, and other U.S. and international acts and accords affecting financial services, real estate, government, and insurance industries and the consultants and integrators serving them.

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Annette Grotz
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