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Google Programming Stats

Russian Programmers Dominate At Google Code Jam 159

Posted by timothy
from the steady-diet-of-brain-food dept.
New submitter Migala77 writes "Now that the third round for Google Code Jam is finished and only 25 contestants are left, we can look at which nationalities performed well and which didn't. Code Jam contestant foxlit has the stats, and some interesting things can be seen. Although there were over 3000 contestants from India in the qualification round (17% of the total) , only 3 of those managed to reach the third round (0.7% of the round 3 contestants) . This in contrast to Russia with 77 out of 747, and Belarus with 13 out of 114 reaching the third round. The U.S. performed somewhat below average too, with only 25 out of 2166 contestants making it to the third round."
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Russian Programmers Dominate At Google Code Jam

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  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @08:59AM (#40294315) Journal
    What I find interesting is the relative cull rates. As might be expected for a large country with some major IT activity, India was well represented at the starting round, but the subsequent rounds knocked 3 factors of ten off the total. Russia and Belarus both only took about one factor of ten, and the US around two...

    Numbers per-capita, much less absolute numbers, aren't wildly interesting; but those are some fairly dramatic differences in attrition...
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vlm (69642) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @09:13AM (#40294449)

    Why are you looking at nationality? What are you trying to prove? Is this the 1936 Summer Olympics?

    Differing national funding priorities in education Appear to result in differing results in a competition leading to Very Pointed Questions about those funding priorities.

    Frankly I'm flooring the Indians did so miserably. What is wrong with their educational system WRT CS/IT? On thing is sure, the winning solution is not just throwing money on the table, Russia was an economic disaster when these competitors were growing up and learning. The Russians are doing "something" the Indians are not doing.

    In a way it IS very much like the olympics, although more cold war era than 1936 era.

  • Economics and chess (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MetricT (128876) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @09:15AM (#40294473) Homepage

    Someone once told me this, and it makes sense to me...

    It takes a lot of money to fund a lab in medicine, biology, chemistry, experimental physics, but computer science, theoretical physics, and mathematics basically require just a computer or pencil/paper.

    Because Russia is relatively poorer and has fewer labs relative to its population compared to, say, the USA, Russia's brightest minds naturally gravitate towards the "cheap" sciences, and that largely explains why they punch substantially above their weight in those fields.

    I've also heard it's due to Russia's love of chess, which score one for them, I *really* wish would catch on here.

    Either way, they're definitely doing something right.

  • by DemomanDeveloper (2658739) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @09:15AM (#40294475)
    Russia dominates in technical computer stuff because during the last decades of Soviet Union, the government greatly pushed and spent money for computer education. It's one of the things that actually worked in Soviet Union's communism.

    There's a reason why StarForce (the notorious almost impossible to crack DRM), sophisticated malware, one of the best antivirus software (Kaspersky), cracking of software and games and other highly technical stuff and algorithms originate from Russia and other CIS countries. The fall of Soviet Union led to tons of highly capable programmers without work and income, so some went to dark side while others spend time on good things. Nevertheless, both sides are filled with highly capable people, all thanks to Soviet Union's appreciation to computer technology.
  • by gutnor (872759) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @09:18AM (#40294505)
    There is also the motivation of the contestant. I would expect a lot of Indian to enlist just with the hope to increase their creds or make their resume stand out, that would mean a bigger proportion of lower skill applicant.
  • by Mannfred (2543170) <mannfred@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @09:19AM (#40294509)
    It seems to me that part of the dynamic here is that highly skilled programmers in the US have less of a need to prove themselves in a competition like this - they probably already have good salaries and good jobs. Programmers in poorer countries are probably not as fortunate, though, and taking part in an international programming competition could provide a ticket to a more lucrative future working for a Western company.
  • Language? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shavano (2541114) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @09:29AM (#40294621)
    In America, a student who is good at math, science and CS is called a nerd. In Russia, such a kid is called smart. Seriously, Russia has always kicked ass in science and math education. We should copy their schools.
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TapeCutter (624760) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @01:17PM (#40297859) Journal

    "Scientist" - may be. "Engineer" - hell no.

    Agree, I'm degree qualified as a "computer scientist", my job title is "senior software engineer", my job is "code management" which is basically a battle hardened code monkey gaurding the CVS repository. Also to be fair I think CS (and the closely related field of Operations Research) are about discovering, generalising, and refining abstracted algrothims, the latter being the only activity where big O notation is applicable, and even then only as a convinient measuring tool to compare ideas. Compared to most people I meet outside of work I'm a computer/maths 'genius', one major advantage of a formal CS/OR education is that I know that I'm not even close to the bottom rung on that ladder.

    In other words, the difference between my job and Alan Turing's job is that given time he could learn to do my job.

    As for Russian coders I work with quite a few on a daily basis, they are fast, acurate, defensive coders, they also have a culture where pragmatisim and the ability to improvise are valued traits.

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