A team of 12 computer programmers from the Charlottesville High School BACON Club (Best All-Around Club of Nerds) is in first place after one round of international competition in the Zero Robotics competition hosted by NASA and MIT.

The competition requires students to write computer code to control a robot in 3D zero gravity space. After placing 1st among 200 international teams, the CHS team now advances to the next round, where it must create a code-writing alliance with two other teams. Finalists in the competition compete by running their code with real satellites aboard the International Space Station.

The competition is sponsored by the world’s premier space and defense agencies and the MIT. More than 200 teams from all over the world participate in the competition, primarily from elite schools specializing in science and technology. This is BACON’s sixth straight year of excellence in the Zero Robotics competition.

CHS Sigma Lab Director and BACON Club sponsor Dr. Matthew Shields credits the ingenuity of the students for their success. “In order to create our final code submission, the team actually wrote a program to help them write their program,” said Shields. “I’m sure that is one reason they ended up on top.”