I felt like a bit of a fraud: I had no research paper to present, I was in Brighton just for this.
But just as things were getting good, the five-minute timer expired and his keystrokes disappeared. It seemed strange to treat it as meaningless or trivial: I had, after all, prepared quite seriously, and that preparation had, I thought, paid off.
It was a strange feeling, almost existential: my humanity thrown into doubt, my species' honour at stake.
More students mean more state dollars. My hands poised over the keyboard like a nervous gunfighter's over his holsters.
Communication with staff is also important when implementing technology, especially when it involves changes to previous working practices. Meanwhile, my months of preparation, of interviews and rumination and research, would be over in a few minutes. The organisers briefed me on the logistics of the competition, but not much else.
The latter go straight in with word problems, spatial reasoning, deliberate misspellings.