SBU coding team wins O'Reilly Coding Challenge

BOLIVAR, Mo. – The Southwest Baptist University Computing Bearcats’ “BrokenBot” coding team recently defeated Drury University in the annual O'Reilly Coding Challenge.

The competition, which included 13 students from SBU and Drury, involved the creation of bots using the JavaScript and Python languages. The teams implemented algorithms to guide a bot to play the game, “Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock.” Simulated matches were used to test the bots in a double-elimination tournament. The tournament was simulated three times: 1. as a best-of-5,000 matches; 2. once as a first-to-1,000; 3. once as a first-to-75 percent win rate.  

“In all of these, one bot reigned supreme, undefeated in all three tournaments,” said Paul Thompson, a UI/UX Engineer at O'Reilly. 

The “BrokenBot” team members were Andrew Eisenhour (computer science and mathematics major from Springfield, Mo.); Slate Rehm (cybersecurity major from Pleasant Hope, Mo.); Nick Johnson (cybersecurity major from West Plains, Mo.); and Jacob Weihe (computer science major from Morrisville, Mo.) SBU Computing Bearcats Corey Siegfried (computer information science major from Bolivar, Mo.) and Jesse Phipps (computer science and mathematics major from Bolivar, Mo.) also participated in the contest. 

“We have very talented students who work well together,” said Dr. Baochuan Lu, professor of computing at SBU who coaches the SBU Competitive Programming students. “I am not surprised by the win.”

The O’Reilly Coding Challenge is an annual event between SBU and Drury, hosted by O’Reilly Auto Parts. This friendly competition allows students from all computing majors to hone their programming skills, think creatively in problem-solving situations and have a little fun, too. O’Reilly Auto Parts, headquartered in Springfield, Mo., has long been a supporter of SBU Computing by providing funding for one of the computer labs in Taylor Hall and hiring many graduates as full-time professionals and current students as interns over the past several years.

The results of the recent competition continue a tradition of excellence and success seen throughout the history of SBU Computing. Over the last decade, SBU Competitive Programming teams have finished as a Top 20 team in the ICPC Mid-Central United States region and placed as champion or runner-up five times in the CCSC Central Plains Region.

The Division of Computing and Mathematics also offers undergraduate programs in Computer Science, Computer Information Science, Computer Science Education, Web Systems and Design, Mathematics, and Mathematics Education. The Cybersecurity and Computer Science programs are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology

For more information about computing programs at SBU, contact Dr. Amos Gichamba, division head and assistant professor of computing, at (417) 328-1721 or

*Published: 11-11-2021