The Michigan Daily Tuesday, April 9, 1985 Page 5
NUCLEAR AWARENESS GAMES WANT ED
Contest offers programer p nes
By PATRICK HAGGOOD
How would you like to take $100
home with you after classes this year?
If you are even a "Supernovice"
BASIC programmer, then one of four
prizes could be yours for an original
BASIC program. ;
The contest, which is sponsored in
part by the student chapter of the
American Nuclear Society here at the
University, is aimed at educating the
public about nuclear energy.
"By being a member in the American
Nuclear Society, we are involved in
public education about safe nuclear
energy," said Donald Wood of ANS.
"During the course of the year our
corporation may sponsor small energy
fairs, send representatives to schools
for small presentations, or may even
sponsor a display in the Hands-On
Museum. We found out about a booth
that the American Nuclear Society
sponsored in the Knoxville World's
Fair, and found that most visitors were
most impressed with the compter
programs included in the display."
THOUGH THEY were simple programs,
they explained important everyday
questions about nuclear energy, Wood
Lecture: Teleconference in MTS, Part I, 3:30 - 5 p.m., 165 Bus. Admin.
Lecture: Computing for Poets, Part II, 3:30 - 5 p.m., 165 Bus. Admin.
Lecture: Teleconferencing in MTS, Part II, 3:30 - 5 p.m., 171 Bus. Admin.
said. This gave the local chapter, which
includes Wood's employer, Bechtel
Associates, area power companies, and
students and faculty involved in energy
programs at the University the idea of
using computers in local energy
There were some difficulties with
this, however. For one, there are very
few programs on the market at all that
are even remotely related to nuclear
energy. And of these few, far less to
none are of an educational value. Said
Wood, "We were not looking for a
flashy shoot-em-up game just to draw
people's attention to any booth we may
be displaying at the time. We wanted to
find something that was first
educational, and fun to play with after-
ward." Unfortunately, they were
unable to find any commercial
program that fit the bill.
The contest itself, is a drive to cir-
cumvent that void in the commercial
"THIS PROMPTED us to
decide on taking advantage of the local
talent available to us here in Ann Ar-
bor," Wood said.
The contest itself will use the Knox-
ville World's Fair programs 'as a
model. "We do not," Wood em-
phasized, "want duplicates of those
programs. We would like to see
original ideas implemented, indepen-
dent of the themes of these other
The program should be on a nuclear
energy theme, with the goal to educate
the user on some aspect of nuclear
energy. This can be done through
simulations, sample questionaires that
compute for the user important infor-
mation about nuclear energy, or even
an arcade shoot-em-up that uses an
"We don't want to discourage arcade-
like entries, we would in fact very much
like to see some," said Wood.
"However, the program must realize
the major purpose of the program is to
teach, not to entertain. If the first is
met, the entrant is free to make the
program as graphically pleasing asahe
merits, which of course could oily add
to the programs consideration at the
THE JUDGES will includean energy
engineer, a University professor, and a
local computer enthusiast. Wood ex-
plained that this combination would
enable thorough evaluation of the
program on its educational merits,
programming expertise used, and its
What else should prospective entran-
ts know? Contest entries must be writ-
ten in BASIC, to allow customizability
for different displays and age groups.
The program must be written to run on
the IBM PC or Apple II series
microcomputers. The deadline for en-
tries is April 15.
"With finals and the end of classes
coming, we may consider a small ex-
tension of the deadline, only if entrants
call and express a need for more time,"
Wood said. Wood said the winner will
not have to forfeit ownership of the
program, "The program would
definitely still be 'he property of the
programmer. As sponsors of the con-
test, we wish only to retain the right to
copy and distribute the program to
schools, other ANS chapters, or other
distribution to other non-profit ends."
These others could include a possible
permanent display in the Ann Arbor
Hands-On Museum, with a chapter or
Cechtel representative there on
weekends. The owner is free to
copywrite and distribute the program
on his or her own."
The Campus Copy Shop
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An event you won't want to
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