Ma Petite Chouchou

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Thursday, April 13, 2006
TopCoder and Ray Kurzweil
I saw two seminars yesterday. Skipped two hours of work for them and now haven't decided if it was a well worth skipping (yes I did tell my boss ahead of time). I could have made $17 instead.

The first one was a talk by Ray Kurzweil for an Human Computer Interaction (HCI) Forum. I'm taking a Psych class based on HCI and our professor talks about him all the time -- especially at the start of school. He made him out to be very different than he appeared yesterday. I was thinking some very optimistic guy, not really having any type of technical background. Just kind of crazy. Boy was I wrong. Based on the general feeling I'd been getting from class I figured it would be a good entertaining talk. Nope, actually kind of slow and boring. Heard more about Biotechnology than I really wanted to. To me it didn't tie in well with the forum. I had to leave before it was over, about 55min into it so I'm not sure how it ended but... needless to say not impressed. He kept talking about "As I say in this or that book...." If I wanted to know what was in the book, I'd have read it and skipped the seminar.

I left early in order to get to the second seminar for the day done by That one was really interesting. If you don't know anything about them their about page says it the best:
TopCoder is fast becoming the major league for programming competitions. TopCoder brings members together once a week to compete online (Single Round Match) and twice a year both online and on location (Tournaments). ...

Competitions provide an understanding of a person's capabilities through a demonstration of skill. What was lacking in the world of programming competitions was a format that offered immediate and objective scoring. The solution was the creation of a "Single Round Match".

In addition to regular Single Round Matches, TopCoder holds two major multiple-round, elimination tournaments each year. These tournaments span many weeks and include significant prize purses along three independent tracks of competition: algorithm, component design, and component development.
This site has more too About TopCoder . I can see the merit in it. I mean who doesn't want to be able to say how good they are or efficient? But at the same time the competitions (professional ones at least) are now including components of the actual program their corporate side business is really needing. The best code gets used in the program and the winner gets money and fame. It does take opensource to a whole new meaning but what happens if all companies start doing this. Will a computer programming become no longer a job but a hobby/life sport? What if companies start requiring employees to have a rank on topcoder before they can hire them?

There will be more later once I figure out what I think and compile it better in my head. I should get back to the homework I need to do but haven't started yet and the 20 page paper due Sat that isn't started either.

Long Live Procrastination!
posted by mpcc @ 4/13/2006 04:26:00 PM  
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