Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Programming

Meet the Michael Jordan of Sport Coding 103

pacopico writes: Gennady Korotkevich — aka Tourist — has spent a decade ruling the world of sport coding. He dominates TopCoder, Codeforces and just about every tournament sponsored by the likes of Google and Facebook. Bloomberg has profiled Korotkevich's rise through the sport coding ranks and taken a deep look at what makes this sport weirdly wonderful. The big takeaway from the piece seems to be that sport coding has emerged as a way for very young coders to make names for themselves and get top jobs — sometimes by skipping college altogether.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Meet the Michael Jordan of Sport Coding

Comments Filter:
  • Sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @07:39AM (#50603415) Homepage

    Man makes name for himself in industry after years of hard work, study, diligent research - not fucking news.

    Man is briefly fastest coder after leaving school because he can't cope with having to learn a bit of history alongside his talents - fucking news.

    Stop this shit, because Kid who is briefly fastest coder could have gone to fucking school, even specialist computing school, and been an even better coder.

    But that's not fucking news, is it?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      what makes you (seem to) believe (computing?) school would make him a better coder?

      • And what makes people think he doesn't study history at all? The history of science, engineering, and mathematics, provide valuable insights to various software approaches, especially resource management, and they're interwoven with general history. Kids who are as amazingly gifted as this young man may be single minded in their skills and studies, but many do branch into a wide variety of intellectual and athletic and artistic endeavors because they're _interesting_. Intense focus on one field does not pre

        • History of science is a great way to study science, it tells you how science knows what it knows and it opens your eyes to just how far it has taken us in the last 400 odd years.
          • The interactions of mathematics, science, and technology with human history are fascinating. For people who've not really thought about it, or who have thought about it and want to be entertained, I cannot help but recommend Terry Pratchett's "Science of Discworld" books for an understanding of scientific thought and scientific thought about human development, presented as fine satire of both fantasy and science.

      • The kid is in a position of strength to negotiate an ongoing education, unfortunately intelligence is not a reliable indicator of wisdom, especially at that age.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The recent "social coding" phenomenon is anything but social.

      For those who don't know, it takes the traditional idea of open source software development, but infuses it with concepts from the social media sphere.

      People get together on sites like GitHub, which allows source code hosting, plus a bunch of Facebook-like functionality. The code isn't there just because it's code that does something of practical value; the code is there because it's an idol that needs to be worshipped, even if it's rife with bugs

      • For those who don't know, it takes the traditional idea of open source software development, but infuses it with concepts from the social media sphere.

        When you put it that way, it sounds pretty awful.

      • Everyone needs a hobby.

    • Man makes name for himself in industry after years of hard work, study, diligent research - not fucking news.

      Man is briefly fastest coder after leaving school because he can't cope with having to learn a bit of history alongside his talents - fucking news.

      Stop this shit, because Kid who is briefly fastest coder could have gone to fucking school, even specialist computing school, and been an even better coder.

      But that's not fucking news, is it?

      FTA:
      With his skills, Korotkevich could get a high-paying job at just about any company in Silicon Valley. But the Belarusian isn’t ready to be a coding professional just yet. This fall he’ll return to class at Saint Petersburg State University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics, he’s said, in possible preparation for a career in science.

      He's still in school, from what I could find there's only a single mention near the bottom that says some people are using sport coding as a

      • Well, you typically haven't truly decided to not go to college until you get your first kid...

        Any 18-year who wants a career in X would be wise to accept a job offer in that field. They can go to college when they're 19 or 20, or 21. It's great to have some professional experience when you start your studies.

    • They didn't even cover it very well. I stopped reading after reading "Mark Zuckerberg would look like an Adonis in this room." And there were several bad turns of phrase before that.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well if he only knows the simple algorithms they need in topcoder, he's nothing but a software mopper, and he'll probably get a nice programmer job and then stagnate there for years (still he may want it like that, idk). But I bet he is still way ahead and better than the math/science disabled idiots that nowadays seem to be hired as software engineers for their "soft-skills".

  • by marovada ( 4181655 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @07:55AM (#50603453)
    Ballmer peak [xkcd.com]
  • by quenda ( 644621 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @08:10AM (#50603487)

    To save others googling - Jordan is a freakishly tall black American former professional basketball player.

  • by microTodd ( 240390 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @08:42AM (#50603559) Homepage Journal

    I actually RTFA, because this interested me. And its a fascinating subject. I only sorta knew about these, i.e. hackathons, but I didn't realize there where giant, international, money-prize competitions. This, to me, is coding in its rawest, purest form. No business side, no integration, just problem solving in all its pure elegance and source code in all its unhindered, non-process, non-styleguide'd glory. I know I'm a huge geek but its honestly breathtaking.

    That being said...this article is horrible. Ashlee Vance, you might be some sort of bestselling darling-of-the-tech-world author, and congrats on your book on Elon Musk or whatever, but I found this writing almost painful to read.

    Theyâ(TM)re not the healthiest-looking bunch, with an average weight that appears to be no more than 120 pounds. There's a disturbingly stereotypical assortment of ticks, both verbal and gesticular, as well as bowl haircuts, wan faces, and shabby clothes. Mark Zuckerberg would look like an Adonis in this room.

    his hands swing into motion and beat down on the keyboard with the incredible speed of a court stenographer in the most productive part of a meth binge.

    I just have to wonder, why are these writers such assholes? I thought we as a tech society were past nerd bashing. Apparently the "mainstream" is still all about jock-like superiority over other people. Yup, these coder competitors are really smart and hard-working, probably more so than you. So you have to bash them? Why?

    I'll leave you with one last quote:

    His friends explain that he mostly shuns the press after Wired did a story several years ago, which posited the idea that Korotkevich might âoedie a virgin.â

    So does anyone know of any good online tech zines that embrace and exalt this culture, instead of trying to find ways to tear people down?

    • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @09:57AM (#50603695) Homepage Journal

      ... just problem solving in all its pure elegance and source code in all its unhindered, non-process, non-styleguide'd glory.

      There are rarely such isolated problems in the real world, though. Real programs are far larger and more complex than those produced by these coding competitions. The fact that you can win a coding competition doesn't really say much of anything about your ability to integrate systems, deal with incompatibilities, or to work with other team members.

      In short, winning a coding competition doesn't say bugger all about your skill as an employable programmer.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        There are rarely such isolated problems in the real world, though. Real programs are far larger and more complex than those produced by these coding competitions. The fact that you can win a coding competition doesn't really say much of anything about your ability to integrate systems, deal with incompatibilities, or to work with other team members. In short, winning a coding competition doesn't say bugger all about your skill as an employable programmer.

        Considering that every so often we have stories of CS graduates who couldn't code their way out of a paper bag, I'd say being able to implement complex, correctly working code from a problem description sounds like a very employable senior developer to me. I'd probably put them to work on core back-end technology that isn't very related to the whims of changing business requirements. And they might have potential as architects on larger projects too, just because they don't do it in competitions doesn't mea

    • I just have to wonder, why are these writers such assholes? I thought we as a tech society were past nerd bashing.

      So does anyone know of any good online tech zines that embrace and exalt this culture, instead of trying to find ways to tear people down?

      You must be new here.

      Once you've been on /. a while, you'll find that this soi-disant hub of tech culture revels in those stereotypes (as many tech types do). Tech culture has to get over itself before the media is going to.

    • by fhage ( 596871 )
      I agree. The author comes across like a Mean Girls reporter for a high school gossip column sent to do a report on the AV club.

      The author's personal biases are palpable as is her fixation on people's bodily functions.

      All of the competitors—and this will come as a shock—are men, or at least on their way to becoming men

      What's that supposed to mean? The article seems to focus on the author's opinion that the contestants are unfuckable despite them having good job prospects. Did we learn anything about technique or team strategy in these competitions? Did the author care?

    • Here's a better article [wikipedia.org].
      He looks like a really cool guy. Currently a Sophomore at a university.
      Participated in math olympiads and such since he was young. Seems like someone I would like to work with.
    • I actually RTFA, because this interested me. And its a fascinating subject. I only sorta knew about these, i.e. hackathons, but I didn't realize there where giant, international, money-prize competitions. This, to me, is coding in its rawest, purest form. No business side, no integration, just problem solving in all its pure elegance and source code in all its unhindered, non-process, non-styleguide'd glory. I know I'm a huge geek but its honestly breathtaking.

      That being said...this article is horrible. Ashlee Vance, you might be some sort of bestselling darling-of-the-tech-world author, and congrats on your book on Elon Musk or whatever, but I found this writing almost painful to read.

      Theyâ(TM)re not the healthiest-looking bunch, with an average weight that appears to be no more than 120 pounds. There's a disturbingly stereotypical assortment of ticks, both verbal and gesticular, as well as bowl haircuts, wan faces, and shabby clothes. Mark Zuckerberg would look like an Adonis in this room.

      The funny thing is the opening of the article is a HUGE photo that reveals... a bunch of normal looking people.

      Are they a bit smaller than average, sure, their average age is early 20s and you probably don't have many gym rats, they probably even have a bit of acne as well. They aren't well dressed either because they're at a competition where they're given a specific shirt to wear, and being in their early 20s they probably don't have a great sense of style yet either.

      As for the ticks you can't tell from a

      • of course they're going to have some ticks.

        They should see a doctor before the spread. Lyme disease is pretty unpleasant.

        • of course they're going to have some ticks.

          They should see a doctor before the spread. Lyme disease is pretty unpleasant.

          Well to be fair there's bound to be a lot of bugs around in a competition like that.

    • His friends explain that he mostly shuns the press after Wired did a story several years ago, which posited the idea that Korotkevich might Ãoedie a virgin.

      In other news, asshole reporters wonders why someone shuns asshole reporters after a reporter was an asshole.

  • As an employer, I would pick best of these guys over college grads every time.
    • by Morpf ( 2683099 )

      I would not. Solving a small problem fast requires different skills then solving a big problem in a way that is maintainable and durable and secure. Yet I also take part in those competitions.

      • by tgv ( 254536 )

        I agree with you. I used to be a decent coder, but it's not the speed with which you can code mathematical problems that matters most. In general, only a small core of the problem is of that nature. The rest is analyzing, interfacing with other components, cleaning up administration, and endless discussions over bad architecture documents. Plus it tends to be difficult to keep such programmers happy. I worked at a company where half of a group resigned over Windows-vs-Linux when management finally decided t

    • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @10:10AM (#50603743) Journal
      It really depends on what you need them for. Are you developing software with complex functionality or algorithms? Then you can probably use a good top coder. If your software does not have complex functionality but lives in a complex environment, or is simply very large, then you'll want a strong software engineer and architect but you can get away with using average coders. If you work in a complex business setting, you need good business analysts with excellent people skills. These are all gross generalisations but you get the general idea.

      Also, in all but a few exceptional cases I would prefer a good programmer who gets along with others over a superhuman coder with poor people skills. The first one will function in a team, coach others to make them better coders as well, and won't be shy to propose better ways of working, tools, processes, etc. The second one will probably end up pissing everybody off.

      The coaching bit is the secret sauce to a good tech career, by the way. Good employees continue to grow throughout their career; great employees help others to grow and become more productive as well. Do this well and you'll likely to be recognized for it. One of the reasons that managers are perceived as important (and get paid well) is that they are in a position to make such a difference in team productivity (in reality, they often have an adverse effect). Becoming 10% better yourself is nice, but make a 10 man team perform 10% better is even nicer.
      • Also, in all but a few exceptional cases I would prefer a good programmer who gets along with others over a superhuman coder with poor people skills. The first one will function in a team, coach others to make them better coders as well, and won't be shy to propose better ways of working, tools, processes, etc. The second one will probably end up pissing everybody off.

        It's your job as a manager to help those with poor people skills get along with the others. To manage the disparate skills of your team.
        Seriously, what do you think you were there for, to get estimates? Something that can be replaced entirely by a tracking too?

        • Managing the team's skill set starts with selecting the right guys & girls. If you're a line or project manager, you don't always have control over this, but we were discussing the criteria for hiring someone. But fair enough. If you've been given a team, it is indeed your job as a manager to make it work. Again, coaching can play a big role here, and if you do this well you'll not only improve your team but the people in it as well. But that only goes so far. If you need a DBA for your team, you don't
          • The managers I've met lately are woefully short on relevant people skills (not networking and leadership, but coaching and understanding what the people in your team are made of)

            That's kind of true, with the industry expanding, it's kind of easy to become a manager, and companies don't provide relevant training.

  • I could have sworn I heard "JUST DO IT!" right before my team and I started sport coding the other day...oh wait, that was my boss and I was at work. Sport coding FTW!
  • by johannesg ( 664142 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @10:34AM (#50603813)

    I've taken part in a few of these (long ago), but the 'coding' was always extremely minimal. Winning came down to being good at math, knowing things like how to find intersections between a circle and a line, for example. It's cool if people know that, but in my experience with practical for-profit coding for the last twenty years, such problems hardly ever come up - and if they do, it is as a very small part of a much larger piece of software.

    In my opinion, the skills demonstrates in this type of coding contest have almost no bearing on any kind of coding carreer. By which I do not mean to downplay their obvious mad c0ding skillz, these are some very smart people, but the article suggests these guys would have high value as corporate coders, which I find rather doubtful.

    • This. The problem looks like it could be straight from Project Euler [projecteuler.net].
    • Is it conceivable that he can solve small isolated problems AND problems requiring broader thinking or is that just unthinkable?

    • Whether the skills are suitable or not is beside the point. THE more important factor is not as much those skills themselves but what it took to get them: DISCIPLINE and the ability to WORK HARD to do the practice even when it felt BORING. With that, if the skills they have are not adequate, they can LEARN the skills they need. Discipline is a skill that we should build our culture around instilling. It shouldn't be limited to a few "whizzes" - it should be the standard. Whatever our talents may be, progra

  • Isn't it just perfect to compare the leading top coder to the world's most recognizable figure from team sports?

    He first began freaking people out in second grade, at age 8, when he took second place in a major Belarusian coding competition.

    So how about Nadia Comaneci?

    Comaneci came in 13th in her first Romanian National Championships in 1969, at the age of just 8.

    Well, if we eliminate Nadia (either because we can't properly spell her surname on Slashdot, or because none of the 8-digit UIDs know who the fuck

  • I hope no one is equating coding fast with coding well.

    How fast is he at re-writing the code to be well thought out, properly designed and correct?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    He won silver medal at international informatics olympiad and he is a college dropout. He is probably the smartest programmer i know. The people saying that a guy like that can't integrate systems or write code in large complex systems don't know what they are talking about. He now writes linux kernel code, that's pretty complex most of the times. I saw some pretty cool optimizations from him in code that was already written/tested to be high performance. Some people who think about themselves great coders

  • I pity the next person that comes along and has to maintain the code that this guy will write.
  • It is so funny to read all the hate for competitive programming by people that know nothing about it and nothing about the people involved. I guess, somehow people feel superior because they don't participate? If the only thing I knew about a person was that he/she was brilliant in some particular area, I would assume that they have a better than average chance of being brilliant in other areas, especially related areas. And although I am not a world class programmer myself (even though I literally have a

The difficult we do today; the impossible takes a little longer.

Working...