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Google Code Jam Winner Announced 325

Wild-eyed Visionary writes "According to the San Jose Mercury News, Jimmy Mardell, 25, of Stockholm, Sweden, beat out more than 5,000 coders to win $10,000 in Google's second annual Code Jam programming contest. Second place: Christopher Hendrie (Canada), third place: Eugene Vasilchenko (Russia), fourth place: Tomasz Czajka (Poland). Tom Rokicki, of dvips/Radical Eye Software fame, was the oldest finalist at age 40."
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Google Code Jam Winner Announced

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  • Re:Anyone know... (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheIzzy ( 615852 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @03:13PM (#7482200)
    Check out []. They have a list of all the previous problems, and you can even see all the competitors' solutions if you want.
  • by Izeickl ( 529058 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @03:21PM (#7482236) Homepage
    Check out Country Ratings []

    US comes 13th out of the 16 ranked countries. Funnily enough, for all the outsourcing it gets, India is last.
  • by weetjerm ( 637949 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @03:28PM (#7482263)
    This guy is no stranger to programming. Many a day in middle school, and high school, was spent playing games Jimmy made for the TI-85 and TI-92. Specifically, he programmed Boulderdash, Tetris, Solitare, and many more to the various calculator platforms. A comprehensive list can be found at []. Thanks man! Sqrxz was great.
  • by jareds ( 100340 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @03:29PM (#7482265)
    You are correct. The four winners used C++.
  • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @03:40PM (#7482332) Homepage Journal
    Finals results

    Google CodeJam
    Onsite Championship Round
    Handle Score
    Yarin 569.58
    ChristopherH 482.17
    venco 359.85
    tomek 331.87

    Topcoders ranking:
    Top 10 Coders
    Rank Handle Rating
    1. tomek 3450
    2. SnapDragon 3285
    3. reid 3169
    4. snewman 3132
    5. Yarin 3058
    6. NGBronson 3005
    7. bladerunner 2928
    8. John Dethridge 2912
    9. ZorbaTHut 2881
    10. WishingBone 2858

    Poland Rules!
  • Re:Anyone know... (Score:3, Informative)

    by jareds ( 100340 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @03:48PM (#7482366)
    The problems and solutions will not be available there because this was a private competition run by TopCoder for Google, rather than a standard TopCoder competition.
  • by ponxx ( 193567 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @03:58PM (#7482408)
    then again, Sweden only has a population of ~9M. If you scale this to the population of the US (300M) then you get 24*300/9=800.

    Admittedly that's still only half as many entrants/population as the US, but the disparity is not as huge as you suggest...

  • WARNING (Score:1, Informative)

    by Uber Banker ( 655221 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @04:02PM (#7482431)
    Link to child porn.
  • Re:Not worth it (Score:3, Informative)

    by jareds ( 100340 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @04:09PM (#7482472)
    This was not the same format as last year's Google Code Jam. This was a algorithmic problem solving contest where competitors given the same set of problems try to solve more problems faster than the others under a short time frame. Google could in no way benefit from the competiors' solutions because they already had solutions for testing purposes. RTFA for the exact format of the contest.
  • by BigDave ( 4025 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @04:50PM (#7482676)
    The link in the parent "office Google pages" is not google. It's a porn site
  • by PurpleBob ( 63566 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @05:54PM (#7482979)
    Holy crap are you confused.

    Topcoder runs tournaments (mostly to attract good coders in the first place) and then there's a separate page for component development. If you do the component development, you get paid. That's the stuff they sell to companies. The "component competition" you linked to is where they're throwing an extra bonus on top of the pay you get for a component, to encourage more people to do it.

    But most people do the tournaments, because they're much more fun. There was a time when TopCoder was only tournaments; basically, they gave out lots of money and hardly made any. That, of course, had to stop, so now they have the components section too.

    It should be clear why they have to have extra incentives like the component competition: writing useful, non-specialized code that companies would want to buy is boring as all hell. So most TopCoders don't participate in that part of the site, even though the pay is good.

    The problems that are asked for the coding tournaments, like Google's, have all been solved before (that's how they have a reference solution to compare your outputs to!) That's not the code they sell. These problems are purely for fun. Look at the medium-level problem from the championship: given a polynomial, find the largest root. This is not cutting edge code that a company will pay for. Your TI calculator can do that. However, writing the code to do it, from scratch, in less than an hour, is quite an interesting challenge.

    And if you consider yourself a geek, but can't fathom the idea of people writing code for fun... be very embarrassed.
  • by Geeyzus ( 99967 ) <> on Saturday November 15, 2003 @05:54PM (#7482980)
    BS. The competitions give you a higher TopCoder ranking. Then every once in a while, TopCoder sends out an email basically recruiting its users to code projects. In fact I found an email they sent to me, here it is (formatted to avoid the lameness filter):


    Note that there is a special component available for design this week. TopCoder is working with Sun to help provide the telecommunications industry with an entire set of APIs for integration with their business critical systems. The first step is to build a component for generating Technology Compatibility Kits (TCKs). Check out the details of the OSS/J TCK Test Proxy component and contact Bill Blais ( if you have any questions.

    The following design projects are now available:

    Component Name/Catalog/Price/Deadline

    Generic Parser/.NET/$252.00/11.12.2003
    Lightweight Model View Controller/.NET/$402.00/11.12.2003
    MSMQ Remoting Channel/.NET/$168.00/11.12.2003
    Phonetic Pattern Matching/.NET/$336.00/11.12.2003
    Spell Check/.NET/$336.00/11.12.2003
    Data Set/Java/$201.00/11.12.2003
    Financial Ledger/Java/$168.00/11.12.2003
    OSS/J TCK Test Proxy/Java/$1,000.00/11.19.2003

    For more information about TopCoder development opportunities go to: x

    So there it is. Yes they do recruit for big companies. BUT it's for money, pretty decent money too. The problems you do in competitions are mostly academic in nature, but they use the scores to decide who to pick for the pay gigs.

    Also you say, you can do the same thing at your normal job. Well, did you ever think that some people don't HAVE jobs, and this might help them making money until they find one?

    Next time you trash a company that is actually trying to do something good for the programmer community, try doing some reading first...

  • You're a bit misinformed.

    I did the TopCoder contests for a while a year or two ago (back when they gave cash prizes.) There's the "Single Round Matches", which are what most of us would recognize as typical "coding competitions", and then they have some "component design" contests, or rather have an ongoing list of software components (for example, an FTP module or a module that accesses a database) that they wish to have developed and contract out to rated TopCoder members, including design/implementation.

    The little components are the software they're apparently selling, but the coding competitions (like this Code Jam) don't generate any saleable technology/IP. Competitors in the coding contests are therefore not being scammed, and those involved in developing the components do so voluntarily (and are compensated, although not compensated that much.)

  • by DrSkwid ( 118965 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @06:18PM (#7483094) Homepage Journal []
  • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @07:58PM (#7483553) Journal
    The problem with TopCoder is that it emphasizes hacky brute force solutions over elegant / high performance ones.

    How did you come to this conclusion?

    At least the FAQ didn't make you do it.

    Do you really think this is a good way to measure the relative merit of programmers?

    The ability to quickly code solutions to a set of somewhat simple algorithmic problems does not completely define a "top" programmer. However, our attempt to make TopCoder tournaments as objective as possible has initially lead us in this direction. We continuously discuss ways in which we might introduce code elegance, style, reusability, and other less objectively ratable elements into our tournaments. We'd love to hear any suggestions on how this might be accomplished.
  • by srowen ( 206154 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @08:07PM (#7483601)
    You are mixing up -- programming competitions -- with -- design/development competitions.

    The results of the programming competition are ugly; no one would want to use it anyway.

    The component design/development competitions have a software engineering process around them and take several weeks. Winners are paid for their work, and everyone knows that this is being marketed -- in fact their is a provision for royalties.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 15, 2003 @09:26PM (#7483900)
    The winning program implemented a search engine based on the pagerank patent which outperforms google.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall