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04-05-2005

Clarkson University Student Is One Of Two U.s. Winners Of Linux Open Source Computer Operating System Competition

Only 20 winners were selected worldwide and Thompson is the fourth Clarkson University student to earn a nod in the Linux Challenge. Of the 65 winners in the three-year history of the competition, only 13 have come from the United States. Four of these 13 winners have come from Clarkson. The only other North American school with more than one winner in the three competitions is Cornell University with three winners. In the first Linux Scholars Challenge, Clarkson also won the overall university prize, a z800 series e-server, valued at approximately $250,000.

Ten different projects were submitted by Clarkson University students in 2004, but only Thompson’s made the final cut. In addition to being considered for a prestigious internship at IBM, Thompson will receive an IBM Thinkpad laptop with an approximate retail value of $2,500.

Thompson’s winning entry was for developing the Open Source file system data organization utility WYSA. WYSA is a user-friendly file system utility that has been designed for people to manage the data on their hard drives without the high effort of modern utilities. In addition to the raw numbers about file sizes, it provides absolute and relative percentages and charts based on full system information allowing users to easily answer questions such as “What percentage of my disk space is taken by MP3s?” or “What percentage of my files have I accessed in the last year?” WYSA allows users to build a database about the data they are interested in with customizable exclusions, types and categories, regardless of their technical knowledge.

After a one-year hiatus, the IBM Linux Scholars Challenge returned for competition in 2004. The contest invites students to submit original Linux projects that enhance usability, develop an application, or build tools for the Linux environment. A worldwide review panel of Linux researchers and technologists selected the competition’s winners. “Clarkson has seen four students win the IBM Linux Scholars Challenge from just 15 entries, a remarkable achievement considering the thousands of submissions offered internationally,” remarked Jeanna Matthews, assistant professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Clarkson. Matthews advised the 10 Clarkson students who submitted projects for this year’s competition and all four Clarkson winners.

Linux is an open source computer operating system that provides a robust, secure and scalable alternative to proprietary operating systems. Open source software is free software that grants all users the right to acquire, modify and redistribute it. Once the domain of computer enthusiasts, open source software now includes user-friendly word processors, spreadsheets, e-mail programs, Web browsers and servers, databases and security programs used by individuals and businesses worldwide.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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