Universiade, no kidding

He carried in his pocket a printout of the final table. I get it and have a look: exactly won! «

Since then, ITMO won the 1SRS even four times. This year, for the first time in the history of the university he became 1SRS pentakampeonov (five-time champion), as the Brazilians in football. It is the most successful, but not the only university in the Russian elite 1SRS.

Sports programming such simple means allows for huge ideas «- in the» Mythical Man-Month «, the cult book of programmers of the 1970s, Frederick Brooks (Frederick Brooks, Jr.) has given very precise definition of the romantic essence of programming as a craft.

Then, in 1970, came programmer’s competition, who later became the current ACM-ICPC (International Collegiate Programming Contest), which is considered the world team championship on programming. This multi-stage, with strict selection of regional, university teams in the competition Construction of the castle by force of imagination on the rate.

It supervises the ICPC existing since 1947 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) — association of more than 80 thousand. Professionals in the field of computer science. An important role in the AFM, and in the conduct of ICPC plays IBM. Without her support to organize an annual championship finals it would be much harder, if not impossible. Finals this year and supported «Yandex».

ICPC Finals appearance looks. Before each team of three people is opened with the start of the competition the envelope, and it 8 to 12 puzzling challenges (problems), the struggle with which they are given five hours. The team must understand how algorithmization decision, then turn the algorithm into code, debug and send it for review. At the disposal of the athletes computer, notebook, calculator, and dictionary (problems are formulated in the English).

If the program is correctly handled with the test set of input data and fitted within the allotted time, the task is considered solved. Fixing this fact takes place without the intervention of judges. Code solution goes to the server, and the result impassively records: solved («put» as the participants) the problem or not.

Just try it for a half hour at least algorithmization and acknowledge that the complexity of problems, proposed in the final of ICPC, is now significantly increased.

For each team handed over the task of bringing a balloon of a certain color, and tied over the workplace. Two balls of the same color indicate that the team passed the first task. In determining the winner in the first place the number of solved, then the time spent, the number of unsuccessful attempts to pass the task, the effectiveness of the code.

Medal in the finals of ICPC not three as in conventional sports, and twelve — four gold, four silver and four bronze. At the same time determined by the regional champions of Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, North and Latin America. And then there’s the championship the place is even more than gold.

Standings ICPC finals in real time is available online, but an hour before the final, it ceases to be updated. It allows organizers to dramatize the process. At the award ceremony immediately after the event the executive director of ACM-ICPC recent years, professor of Baylor University (USA), Bill Poucher least half an hour tells us that every team has had time to do in the last hour. The closer the announcement of winners, the more excited the audience. Poucher, unquestioned authority among ICPC participants, while an excellent showman, it is able.


To compete in the ICPC can only to a certain age, both in women’s gymnastics. After 19 years, according to Parfenov, to teach a programmer-class late and programmer-trained athlete must begin much earlier.

Parfenov calls for the eyes of their students ‘children’, and it is quite accurate term. In Tokyo ICPC-finals in 2007 won the Poles IFMO passed on the job less than two remained though with gold, but without the absolute primacy. Much time was spent on the first task, the boys nervous and passed forward not only to the University of Warsaw, and the Chinese. The scene immediately after finals: coach IFMO Associate Professor Andrey Stankevich embraced his weeping athlete waiting when he has run out of tears. From the outside it did not seem a sign of weakness or frustration — just youthful reaction to stress competition, which for an adult something excessive.

«Children» are capable of winning at ICPC, — the most valuable resource. They are engineers, labor productivity which is ten times greater than the average. They — the motor of many famous T-projects. First Europe’s largest network of 4G Yota launched in record time, it champions ICPC (graduates ITMO). The success of «VKontakte» would be impossible without high-class programmers, wins the ICPC: online services to withstand such a load, can quickly create and maintain only such people. Director of the St. Petersburg final ICPC-2013 Roman Elizarov, a two-time participant in the finals ICPC, has developed a unique software for stock trading (thanks to him and created his own company).

Psychology of «children» is different known originality, and it manifests itself primarily in the unwillingness to deal with trivial matters. Finalists ICPC have resemblance with characters from «The Big Bang Theory.» Parfenov tells the legendary case of Mikhail Fridman personally tried to persuade the young man from ITMO work «Alfa-Bank» and was refused.

For «children» the work of the bank is losing face. They need to CERN, in a research laboratory IBM, to work in Silicon Valley. If someone overcome pride (which happens), and it will open a business, it usually burns, and his burnt-out, together with the company to buy in order to get to their work. Moreover, there are numerous examples.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (with its proposal to involve the winners of ICPC to solve some problems of utilitarian Ministry of Defense) in the eyes of «children» has advantages over Friedman. Work on the military — it’s cool, not like bankers. May agree — at least for a short time. But it is unknown whether Shoigu know how to use these skilled «children». The industry knows and can do, but the Ministry of Defense, probably not. Shoigu would be better to think of an analog of DARPA.

PROGRAMMERS never too much

Needs only the domestic market — a couple of orders of magnitude greater. Compare: in China in the competition ICPC, including the qualifying stage, involved 200 thousand. Students.

Should the state support ICPC-movement? Hardly. Failure community the idea of ​​Professor Shalyto (see. Box) shows the reluctance of programmers athletes communicate with the state, even for such an insignificant matter, as the creation of the association.

Indicative and the experience of other countries. Processor Tomoyuki Kaneko, coach of the University of Tokyo (ICPC-gold medalist in 2013), says that in Japan ICPC participants are amateur movement, even the travel expenses to be borne by the participants, Peter. You can only count on the support of the university, if he deems it necessary to provide it. The same is true in the US where the ICPC is a purely amateur sport. In Russia, state aid is not so much higher, as high school. Universities hunt for talented students who year after year is becoming longer.

Tailed lizard

Therefore, Russia’s position as a leader in sports programming is vulnerable. We are strategically losing to China, sooner or later they will crush us by numbers. It probably can not be avoided, but we have to at least delay as possible. For Russia, it is a matter of the future.

The first ICPC finals at the dawn of the motion (1977) were entirely within the US business. The first foreign champion appeared in 1990, and now American students did not win ICPC. Why is that? The historian of IT-industry, the former director of the Computing Center of the USSR Academy of Gregory Gromov, who had gone to the Valley, there is an analogy to which he uses to explain why the United States to other countries give large chunks of the world of GT-market. For example, since IBM gave the Chinese production Lenovo PC.

Gromov calls it «the lizard’s tail.» The tail can be discarded, it interferes with the lizard to run forward. If growing a tail that no sense of innovation, then it has no meaning at all. Americans who invented ICPC, today passionate about other intellectual competition. First of all, competition engineers work builders such as RoboCUP (competition robot soccer players) and the DARPA Grand Challenge (race cars, robots in the desert in Nevada). In the DARPA Grand Challenge prizes to serious — millions of dollars.

«The tail of a lizard,» and have the software industry in India, China, Russia has long been debug software on US orders. Suppose it’s a little disappointing, but still good. It is here, in the programming, while Russia is firmly and rightfully occupies a unique place in the international division of IT-labor. It is impossible to give: the loss of their software production base, we definitely will not be. ■

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