George Mason Student Wins Third Place in International Coding Competition

Posted: January 9, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Robin Herron

Computer science Ph.D. candidate Bogdan Stanescu won third place in the international 2003 TopCoder Open programming tournament sponsored by Intel. Of the top 4 finishers, he was the only one representing the United States in the contest that concluded in early December.

More than 1,000 of the world’s best programmers competed in online rounds beginning in October 2003. The semifinal round, with 16 contestants, and final round, with 4, were held on site in Uncasville, Conn. Each round involved 75 minutes of writing code and 15 minutes of finding bugs in other competitors’ codes. “The programming tasks you have to solve in a round require a good knowledge of computer science algorithms, something like the CS480 or CS580 courses, or even more advanced,” Stanescu says.

Stanescu participated previously in a TopCoder collegiate competition and in Association for Computing Machinery programming competitions as an undergraduate, doing well in those, but his most recent win was his best. “I was hoping to be in the semifinal round,” he says, “but I did better than I hoped.”

Besides the attraction of possibly winning the $50,000 grand prize (Stanescu won $5,000 and “a lot of T-shirts from the sponsors”), Stanescu says he competed to learn from other contestants. “In each round you have to find bugs in their code, so you get to see how they solve the same problems you had to solve.”

Inspired by his strong showing, Stanescu plans to enter the 2004 TopCoder Collegiate Challenge in February.

For more information on the competition, see the TopCoder press release.

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