Feb. 20, 2002 — The 2002 TopCoder Collegiate Challenge kicked off yesterday with regional quarterfinal matches pitting young software developers against each other in an online test of brainpower. The Challenge, sponsored by Sun Microsystems this year, offers a grand prize of $100,000 to the ultimate winner of the championship.
Run by TopCoder, an online firm specializing in identifying and promoting computer programming talent, the Challenge quizzes students on their skills in the Java language. Competition is open to students attending an accredited U.S. college or university who become free members of TopCoder.
The quarterfinals begin with 512 members. Four elimination rounds will reduce the field to 16, who will compete in the tournament’s final two onsite rounds and vie for a share of $150,000. The Semifinal and Championship rounds will be held April 19 and 20, 2002, at the University Park Hotel at MIT in Cambridge, Mass., where the tournament champion will win $100,000.
The top-five schools, and number of students from each, that will be represented in the Collegiate Challenge are: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (37), the University of Michigan (24), Georgia Tech (22), Stanford University (20), and the University of Texas-Austin (16). Stanford junior Jon McAlister is ranked first in the West region and is the highest rated member entering the tournament. McAlister was the runner-up in last year’s Collegiate Challenge, and followed that performance with a first-place win at the 2001 TopCoder Invitational held in November 2001, which featured TopCoder’s top-rated collegiate and professional members.
Other schools that will be strongly represented in the tournament include Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Cornell University, Duke University, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champlain, Iowa State University, the California Institute of Technology and UCLA.
This is the second annual Collegiate Challenge and third major programming tournament hosted by TopCoder. The 2001 TopCoder Collegiate Challenge was held in June 2001, and was won by Jason Woolever, an MIT graduate student. Woolever is currently a Senior Research and Development Engineer at Synopsys, Inc. of Sunnyvale, California.
“Each year a new class of graduates enters the IT workforce,” said TopCoder chairman and founder, Jack Hughes. “TopCoder competitions enable technology companies and recruiters to identify and objectively assess candidates through testing and rating coding skills under real-world conditions. TopCoder offers services to assist companies looking to hire top programming talent.”
The latest Round One results can be viewed here.