A process that once took hours now takes minutes for a few dozen schools, thanks to the computer talents of Utah State University junior Joseph Irvine.

Irvine was a student at Arizona's Tempe Preparatory Academy in 2004 when he watched administrators orchestrate the yearly lottery admissions process. Students and their parents sat patiently in a room, hoping their name would be drawn from the pile of numbered paper scraps. The process was excruciating, Irvine said, and took close to three hours. School officials had to restart the lottery when they couldn't tell the difference between a 69 and a 96, Irvine...

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