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Russian Programmers Dominate At Google Code Jam

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the steady-diet-of-brain-food dept.

Google 159

New submitter Migala77 writes "Now that the third round for Google Code Jam is finished and only 25 contestants are left, we can look at which nationalities performed well and which didn't. Code Jam contestant foxlit has the stats, and some interesting things can be seen. Although there were over 3000 contestants from India in the qualification round (17% of the total) , only 3 of those managed to reach the third round (0.7% of the round 3 contestants) . This in contrast to Russia with 77 out of 747, and Belarus with 13 out of 114 reaching the third round. The U.S. performed somewhat below average too, with only 25 out of 2166 contestants making it to the third round."

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none of that seems surprising (2, Insightful)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294273)

Take a look at where the best compression algorithms come. Almost all come from former Soviet bloc countries. India isn't surprising either, as many American companies have found out from outsourcing.

Or these results don't reflect anything about the quality of the programmers from a country, and rather the bias of who found out about the Code Jam (lots of everyday Joe programmers, vs those in-the-loop).

Re:none of that seems surprising (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294315)

What I find interesting is the relative cull rates. As might be expected for a large country with some major IT activity, India was well represented at the starting round, but the subsequent rounds knocked 3 factors of ten off the total. Russia and Belarus both only took about one factor of ten, and the US around two...

Numbers per-capita, much less absolute numbers, aren't wildly interesting; but those are some fairly dramatic differences in attrition...

Re:none of that seems surprising (5, Interesting)

DemomanDeveloper (2658739) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294475)

Russia dominates in technical computer stuff because during the last decades of Soviet Union, the government greatly pushed and spent money for computer education. It's one of the things that actually worked in Soviet Union's communism.

There's a reason why StarForce (the notorious almost impossible to crack DRM), sophisticated malware, one of the best antivirus software (Kaspersky), cracking of software and games and other highly technical stuff and algorithms originate from Russia and other CIS countries. The fall of Soviet Union led to tons of highly capable programmers without work and income, so some went to dark side while others spend time on good things. Nevertheless, both sides are filled with highly capable people, all thanks to Soviet Union's appreciation to computer technology.

Re:none of that seems surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40294565)

To name a good thing Russian programmers spent time on, check out Space Rangers 2. I've spent about 500 hours playing it. It is suuuch an awesome game. Just throwing that out there.

Re:none of that seems surprising (-1, Offtopic)

DemomanDeveloper (2658739) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294659)

I know this is offtopic, but why does so many restaurants and fast food chains in USA have home delivery when my European country doesn't? At most we have pizza, and it costs tons for delivery.

Re:none of that seems surprising (4, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294783)

Having (probably) visited your country, I can verify that your gasoline costs more per liter than ours does per gallon (a gallon is "around" four liters)

Also I've seen your (speaking generally) newspapers and you guys have/had crazy import duties and VAT taxes on cars, so ownership and maintenance is very expensive compared to here. Finally your equivalent of the DMV has teeth... you won't allow cars on the road that here would be considered in worn but usable shape.

The feds (well, the GSA) lets us claim 55.5 cents per mile of expense on our cars when used for govt (and presumably business purposes).. This is hyperinflated such that even land barge SUV drivers with horrible insurance rates and expensive maintenance still make a microscopic profit, so needless to say my domestic subcompact with cheap (married dude) insurance makes me a profit of something like a quarter per mile.

I'm estimating it costs me about 30 cents per mile to drive here, and in your country it approaches or exceeds one euro per mile, so it's going to be difficult financially to justify spending 6 euro to deliver a 99 cent hamburger three miles away.

Also our cuisine sucks but its almost designed for a delay in delivery, whereas a lot of the stuff I've eaten in Europe would not benefit by sitting around for 15 minutes and being bounced around in a car before eating.

Re:none of that seems surprising (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294861)

I'm estimating it costs me about 30 cents per mile to drive here,

And I successfully Fed that up pretty badly about 29% low.

Actual figures over the past 12 years are:

25e3 purchase / 125e3 miles + 10e3 maintenance / 125e3 miles + 3 bucks per gallon average over the life of the car / 28 MPG average + $1000 per year insurance / 125e3 miles / 12 years owned = about 39 cents per mile.

Re:none of that seems surprising (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#40296281)

Probably more to do with labour/insurance laws, I noticed a distinct lack of home delivery in the UK. Here is Australia home delivery is common, the job pays a pitance for the privalege of wearing out your own car, I assume it's the same in the US.

Re:none of that seems surprising (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40296209)

In my country they usually use motorcycles and not cars for that sort of food delivery. But "cost of death" is cheaper here I guess...

Re:none of that seems surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40294809)

I know this is offtopic, but why does so many restaurants and fast food chains in USA have home delivery when my European country doesn't? At most we have pizza, and it costs tons for delivery.

Several reasons I can think of... The two main ones that spring to my mind:

Car ownership and operation is much more expensive in most of Europe (gas prices are more than double in the Netherlands compared to the US for example). This would be somewhat compensated for by the (average) higher density of population, so the food services have less far to go, but still. It just makes the whole thing much more expensive.

I would also dread having to deliver meals in my home country of the Netherlands. Traffic is so dense, far too often you would get significant delays trying to deliver the food. Im sure this would be similar in the center of big American cities, but we are talking averages.

Finally... did you actually check properly? Again using the Netherlands as example, there were a surprising amount of fast food places that would deliver to my house (snackbars, shoarma joints, pizza places and even two Chinese restaurants) - presumably because the scooters they would typically use, negate those two points I made above. But they would only deliver within a fairly short radius of course.

Re:none of that seems surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40295485)

I know this is offtopic, but why does so many restaurants and fast food chains in USA have home delivery when my European country doesn't? At most we have pizza, and it costs tons for delivery.

I would hypothesize it's a combination of the price of gas (which is obscenely cheap in the US) and a culture of indoctrinated laziness. It's not 'normal' in the states to walk anywhere. Most of their cities are built to live and die by the automobile. So much so that some don't even have sidewalks. Whereas Europe everything is walked or walkable to. The train, the store, work (via the train if necessary). Part of this is simple geography, Europe is smaller and more densely packed than the US and Canada, but it's also partly due to the US obsession with fundamentalism. I'm not talking about religion, but life in general. North America doesn't do moderation [wiktionary.org] . When the US does anything they go so completely mental for it that it causes problems.

Independence (war, and each state maintains it's own army, on top of the national armed forces).
Old wars.
Total War.
Prohibition.
Total War.
Outlawing recreational drugs. (Aka prohibition on drugs, war on drugs)
Commercial War.
Cold War.
Commercial War.
War on hunger.
Commercial War.
War on terror.
Commercial War.

Yeah they just can't get enough. On the one hand this can be terrifying to deal with if you have something they want. On the other hand, if the rest of the world can convince them to become environmentalists, I expect the US would have that problem solved world wide (at the end of a nuke if necessary) in about 5 years.

Re:none of that seems surprising (4, Interesting)

gutnor (872759) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294505)

There is also the motivation of the contestant. I would expect a lot of Indian to enlist just with the hope to increase their creds or make their resume stand out, that would mean a bigger proportion of lower skill applicant.

Re:none of that seems surprising (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40294769)

Hell even the Indians educated here seem to be fairly useless. Adept at rote learning, useless as engineers. It's cultural.

It's the cold and Isolation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40294291)

When you're stuck in a room and have a creative spirit, coding is a good avenue.

Re:It's the cold and Isolation (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294309)

When you're stuck in a room and have a creative spirit, coding is a good avenue.

Then computers in the prisons should be a good rehab route?

Re:It's the cold and Isolation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40294543)

They probably would be.

Re:It's the cold and Isolation (5, Insightful)

DemomanDeveloper (2658739) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294549)

I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic, but yes, people should have access to computers in prison. Unlike in USA, many other countries do actually try to get prisoners back to being normal, productive people instead of just punishing them.

Now, internet access and such is another point because that could be used to communicate with other criminals outside.. but having a library of programming books and personal computers for prisoners would be a good way to change those people. Programming books being just example, there could be other things too. The main point being; yes, it is much better to try to get those prisoners life back on track instead of just punishing them.

Re:It's the cold and Isolation (1, Flamebait)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40295027)

but yes, people should have access to computers in prison.

I'm just one of those old-fashoned type people that think that prison should be a strong deterrent against breaking the law. Violate someone else's rights and find yourself in a hole with all your privileges taken away for awhile.

As it is now, go to prison, get free health care, free internet access, free weight room, free cable tv, free library, free sports, free laundry, free education, free housing, free food, free clothing, free dental.

Must be nice. This is deterrent to commit crime? Sounds more like incentive to!

Now some of that I can see as helpful to rehabilitation. But some of it is spoiling them (weight room, cable tv) and a lot of the rest they should have to work for while they're there instead of putting the tab on my taxes. They violate my rights, then the state charges me for it, lovely system we have here.

Re:It's the cold and Isolation (2)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40295967)

Most people in the US are not in prison for "violating someone else's rights". Most are in there for non-violent drug offenses that have violated nobody's rights.

Your lack of sympathy is absolutely shocking. You seriously think that people should be locked up for decades (mostly for drug charges), with no access to exercise or entertainment? That people should be forced to sit in concrete rooms for 20 years at a time? Of course, it's all about YOU, of course, but still. This level of crass disregard for human life is shocking.

Re:It's the cold and Isolation (2)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40296613)

Most people in the US are not in prison for "violating someone else's rights". Most are in there for non-violent drug offenses that have violated nobody's rights.

The best stats I could find quickly are here [bop.gov] , and show drug offenses at (a somewhat surprising to me) 48%. Lump in immigration at 12% and you've covered most of the non-rights-violators at 60%.

Then add up Weapons, Explosives, Arson, Robbery, Burglary, Larceny, Property Offenses, Extortion, Fraud, Bribery, Homicide, Aggravated Assault, and Kidnapping Offenses and get about 30% of the population. So it's not the majority, but it's certainly not small.

But now that the dry statistics are actually quantified, lets look at "rights violation". How many of those drug offenses are for users, and how many are for dealers and trafficers? It doesn't say in that chart, unfortunately. I would classify dealers and trafficers as rights violators, though you may not. They're certainly AREN'T in the "not hurting anyone but themselves" camp. Your turn to go dig up some statistics.

(and this is ignoring the reality that a lot of druggies fund their habit using predatory behavior, and have a lot of collateral damage on their friends and family - saying "they're not hurting anyone but themselves" doesn't cut it when their kids haven't eaten a square meal in months because mommy has to have her crack)

Re:It's the cold and Isolation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40296333)

If prison is the only reason you keep from committing crime, you've got bigger problems.

Re:It's the cold and Isolation (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#40296451)

Sheesh, what a self-righteous douche. If you're ever inside I predict you will get the kind of isolation treatment you wish on others, for your own protection.

Self Righteous Religous people like you (1)

Dainsanefh (2009638) | more than 2 years ago | (#40296583)

are the cancer of the USA.

I fully support tax credits for employers hiring felons, much like the same for hiring veterans

Heck, most of them are wrongly imprisoned for victim-less crimes. Thus they shall be treated as Prisoner of War under the United States Zionist Occupied Government.

ANARACHY IS THE ONLY DEMOCRACY AND FAIR SYSTEM. Period.

2012 is here (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | more than 2 years ago | (#40296645)

There is still time to repent.

Those who lack love and peace shall be flushed out.

A real libertarian should support a one-world currency, along with one world government, one-world election to elect an one-world leader.

An old Chinese wisdom: You should sacrifice yourself for the big cause.

I don't get it (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40294311)

Why are you looking at nationality? What are you trying to prove? Is this the 1936 Summer Olympics?

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40294403)

Not looking at nationality. Just looking at the immense Indian talent...

Re:I don't get it (5, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294449)

Why are you looking at nationality? What are you trying to prove? Is this the 1936 Summer Olympics?

Differing national funding priorities in education Appear to result in differing results in a competition leading to Very Pointed Questions about those funding priorities.

Frankly I'm flooring the Indians did so miserably. What is wrong with their educational system WRT CS/IT? On thing is sure, the winning solution is not just throwing money on the table, Russia was an economic disaster when these competitors were growing up and learning. The Russians are doing "something" the Indians are not doing.

In a way it IS very much like the olympics, although more cold war era than 1936 era.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40294839)

I've observed the same thing in the field, too. I consider an Indian with a Masters in CS/IT to be roughly equal to an American with a Bachelors in CS/IT.

One Indian co-worker of mine (with a Masters in CS, Indian) explained that he never had to do any lab work or actual coding. He even postulated that some Indians with a CS degree may have never had the opportunity to even touch a computer until after graduation. It was all working from books, chalk boards, pen and paper.

Re:I don't get it (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294931)

Just to be fair CS is big O notation and calculating algorithmic efficiency, Knuth's books, so its possible to be a decent computer scientist without a computer. You need calculus and a blackboard a lot more than you need a computer.

But doing IT code monkey stuff is utterly impossible without hardware and labs.

Re:I don't get it (1)

SchroedingersCat (583063) | more than 2 years ago | (#40295873)

Just to be fair CS is big O notation and calculating algorithmic efficiency, Knuth's books, so its possible to be a decent computer scientist without a computer. You need calculus and a blackboard a lot more than you need a computer.

"Scientist" - may be. "Engineer" - hell no. You wouldn't want a surgeon who knows the theory but never practiced it to operate on you, would you?

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40295043)

It may be that Indians are in-general poorer at self-assessment, so many unqualified people entered.

Re:I don't get it (2)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40295197)

The Russians are doing "something" the Indians are not doing.

You mean running multiple scam rings and botnets and fleecing the entire internet?

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40295955)

Frankly I'm flooring the Indians did so miserably. What is wrong with their educational system WRT CS/IT?

That's very simple. Corruption. And the devaluation of "qualifications" and "certificates" earned through such a system.

Honestly, not trolling. Please check it out for yourselves [is.gd] .

Re:I don't get it (2)

mblase (200735) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294629)

Why are you looking at nationality? What are you trying to prove? Is this the 1936 Summer Olympics?

Obviously, if one nation has a substantially higher proportion of winners in a competition like this, it suggests there's something in the national culture that encourages it. Other nations would like to know what that is. It's not pride, it's post-game analysis.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40294631)

That Russians are going to get H-1Bs and take you jerbs!!!!

Re:I don't get it (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#40295073)

That Russians are going to get H-1Bs and take you jerbs!!!!

I already did (in 1994). I also count for both Russia (where I studied) and Belarus (where I was born and studied, too).

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40296539)

It could degrade to that kind of talk but what is currently being discussed is education systems and the effects of cultural values on software development.

Witness the power of... (4, Insightful)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294313)

...the strong emphasis on mathematics and science during the Soviet era. Just throw in a bit of Lysenkoism to carry its fruits into the current generation, and presto, world dominance!

Consolation (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294319)

At least the US is still number one in financial scams and reality TV. Snooki can't program.

Re:Consolation (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40294347)

And we still have the Kardashians!!!!!!

Re:Consolation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40294443)

And believe in global warming, diversity and are obsessed with gay rights, yey.

Re:Consolation (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294457)

Microcode and high speed pizza delivery.

Re:Consolation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40294751)

It sounds like heaven...

CCCP KICKS MOTHERFUCKING ASS !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40294413)

Now if only they'd stop kissing Putin's motherfucking ass!!

Re:CCCP KICKS MOTHERFUCKING ASS !! (1)

Rainbowdash (2645097) | more than 2 years ago | (#40295257)

I dare you to say that to Putins face, I heard he brushes his teeth with diamonds, even his caries is almost immortal.

Someone needs to contact (4, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294459)

Sergey Brin and tell him to keep these Russians away from dominating this American company... oh yeah.... nevermind

Re:Someone needs to contact (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40295537)

Sergey Brin is jewish.

Re:Someone needs to contact (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40295753)

my comment attempted to make national racial and religious strife absurd and humorous

congratulations on showing us why the issue has to be made fun of: too many morons take this shit seriously

Economics and chess (5, Interesting)

MetricT (128876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294473)

Someone once told me this, and it makes sense to me...

It takes a lot of money to fund a lab in medicine, biology, chemistry, experimental physics, but computer science, theoretical physics, and mathematics basically require just a computer or pencil/paper.

Because Russia is relatively poorer and has fewer labs relative to its population compared to, say, the USA, Russia's brightest minds naturally gravitate towards the "cheap" sciences, and that largely explains why they punch substantially above their weight in those fields.

I've also heard it's due to Russia's love of chess, which score one for them, I *really* wish would catch on here.

Either way, they're definitely doing something right.

Re:Economics and chess (4, Insightful)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294557)

And because their best and brightest aren't pushed by their parents to join the sea of Lawyers.

Re:Economics and chess (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294567)

I've also heard it's due to Russia's love of chess, which score one for them, I *really* wish would catch on here.

In my youth I held a master's rating in chess, and my profession is software development, but I don't really think chess was particularly helpful in that. (But then I was a competent but less-than-great chess player and certainly not a superstar developer, so maybe that doesn't mean so much.)

Re:Economics and chess (1)

DemomanDeveloper (2658739) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294639)

It's not just computer tech being cheap - it wasn't back in time. Russians high sophistication in computer technology can be mostly thanked to Soviet Union's appreciation for highly technical computer stuff and algorithms. The love for chess too.

I think you can also thank DEC... (2)

tlambert (566799) | more than 2 years ago | (#40296205)

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1987-05-29/news/8702090594_1_customs-agents-computer-equipment [chicagotribune.com]

FWIW: They took out the computer, filled the crate with cement, and let them pay shipping on it as part of the sting. See also this phrase on the CVAX die:
http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/creatures/pages/russians.html [fsu.edu]

-- Terry

Re:Economics and chess (1)

Rainbowdash (2645097) | more than 2 years ago | (#40295295)

Or they're just smarter than us, hiding their cure for cancer ~~

Agreed: Chess = a SYSTEM OF THOUGHT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40295523)

"I've also heard it's due to Russia's love of chess, which score one for them, I *really* wish would catch on here." - by MetricT (128876) on Tuesday June 12, @09:15AM (#40294473) Homepage

See subject-line above: It's a contributing factor, no questions asked (in addition to the fact that Mathematics & Sciences are STRESSED in the european education system vs. "frowned upon")

* Personally, I LOVE IT, & have posted much the same as you have about it here, & on /. in years past -> http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1877160&cid=34293988 [slashdot.org]

APK

P.S.=> I've played 1,000's of games of it over time (mostly the past 5++ yrs. or so with an EXCELLENT OPPONENT who was a former tenant of mine), & it's NEVER THE SAME GAME TWICE, & always demands thought + strategic implementation of it... apk

Re:Economics and chess (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 2 years ago | (#40295777)

Someone once told me this, and it makes sense to me...

They lied.
Poland is second in those stats with half the people, better cull percentage, quarter of Russia population, and virtually non existent Chess culture :)

3th world sucess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40294481)

Don't Americans and westerners just get actual paying jobs for the summer instead of coding for free if they have the skills?

Who has the most to gain by competing? (4, Interesting)

Mannfred (2543170) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294509)

It seems to me that part of the dynamic here is that highly skilled programmers in the US have less of a need to prove themselves in a competition like this - they probably already have good salaries and good jobs. Programmers in poorer countries are probably not as fortunate, though, and taking part in an international programming competition could provide a ticket to a more lucrative future working for a Western company.

Re:Who has the most to gain by competing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40294929)

Being good at competitions like Google Code Jam and TopCoder has nothing to do with a programming job.

Re:Who has the most to gain by competing? (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294963)

Balanced by most recent US grads (around 50%) are un- or under- employed yet have gigantic student loans to pay off. Obviously the ratio is lower in a "real" degree like IT or CS, but there's still plenty of very hungry skilled USAians.

Re:Who has the most to gain by competing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40296727)

I think when the parent post said "highly skilled programmers", he meant the 50% who are skilled enough to find a good job after college.

Re:Who has the most to gain by competing? (1)

Unsichtbarer_Mensch (710092) | more than 2 years ago | (#40296113)

Ditto that! This applies IMHO to other 'areas of endeavour' where former soviet countries have an unusually strong presence. For example....fashion modelling. It's not like that russian/ukrainian/whatnot women have some kind of ..."hotness gene" -although their phenotype does often help when it comes to modelling e.g in terms of height- but due to the flaky financial situation, a good looking girl in these countries if a *lot* more motivated to try a lucrative international carreer as a model compared to an equally attractive girl from a rich 'western' country. Just my 0.02 €

Stuxnet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40294539)

Seems the next Stuxnet will come from China or Russia.

Re:Stuxnet (1)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294689)

Who's saying it already hasn't?

Re:Stuxnet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40295721)

Or Iran?

Project Euler comparisons (3, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294617)

The Mighty GOOG entrance numbers are within an order of magnitude of the project euler membership numbers. I think you need an account on PE to see the stats:

http://projecteuler.net/countries [projecteuler.net]

For those who don't want to "compete" in PE but want to know the numbers anyway, I copy some from the article and from PE's registration data:

over 3000 GOOG contestants from India vs exactly 4300 on PE
747 Russian GOOG contestants vs 2269 on PE
114 Belarus GOOG vs 254 on PE
2166 USA GOOG vs 21563 on PE

I don't know much about the GOOG contest but I would guess the Venn Diagram of the GOOG and PE is almost entirely overlapping.
A good question is why less than a tenth of USA PE people competed in the GOOG, yet almost all the India PE people competed in the GOOG.

As far as the elite levels go, this is very superficial, but the names of "first 50 to solve a PE problem" and the names in the forums on PE seem to trend very asian, so Japan might only have 1900 or so contestant, but they're all Ruby Ninjas with leet skills, or whatever. I wish I had real numbers other then vague observations.

Another interesting observation is that the Mighty GOOG short term contest is vaguely roughly around half the size of the permanent/ultra long term PE project.

As a PE guy or player or contestant (or nerd?) I can personally verify that PE is higher mathematics and hard core computer science with virtually no IT component. I don't know anything about the innards of the GOOG competition, can anyone involved describe the ratio of CS::IT or logic::memory in the Mighty GOOGs competition? Also PE merely requires any Turing complete language (although some problems can be solved by non-Turing complete languages anyway, and some can be done on pen and paper if you're hard core or its a REALLY easy problem), does the Mighty GOOG require something specific like Java only or maybe even more specific like "must be an android app" or something like that?

Re:Project Euler comparisons (3, Informative)

polymeris (902231) | more than 2 years ago | (#40296403)

You can check past contests yourself [google.com] , including solutions.

Language? (4, Interesting)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294621)

In America, a student who is good at math, science and CS is called a nerd. In Russia, such a kid is called smart. Seriously, Russia has always kicked ass in science and math education. We should copy their schools.

Re:Language? (5, Insightful)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294825)

The problem isn't the schools, it is the culture. The schools aren't the ones labeling kids good in STEM, nerds. That is a hard thing to do when the culture idolizes idiots and liars(sports and entertainment, pick your associations).

Re:Language? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40295039)

As a parent of grade school students in a district with a STEM school, the kids are made fun of for going into a field where they'll be outsourced. Some parents call it the outsourcing school.

The schools are almost perfectly focused on the fields most likely to decline in the future, which is scary. Its as if special "automotive assembly line bolt turner" high schools were set up in Detroit in the early 70s, just dooming the kids to life long poverty. Pretty sad situation.

Now there's nothing wrong with computers or IT or science as a hobby, just like there's nothing wrong with drama or art or dance or music, but you have to be realistic and look at it like they used to look at liberal arts, that's all very interesting and sounds like fun on the weekends, and maybe dad or grandpa even made a living doing that kind of work decades ago, but you need a way to put food on the table for the rest of your life and STEM is certainly not going to be it.

Re:Language? (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#40295875)

What do you suggest an alternative? The US needs to export something to buy all that foreign made tech, the mainstream commercial porn industry is in freefall, and the German amateurs are already giving away most of the sick niche stuff free.

Lawyers to sue the world, politicians to tell them that it's OK to do so, and grunts with guns who make it OK to do so. Did I miss any?

Re:Language? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40296037)

If we live in a global economy, what do you think America should be producing that foreign countries would want to buy or trade from us in the future? If not manufacturing or STEM skills, then what? Our lawyers? Do foreign countries want American lawyers? Copyrights and Patents? Do foreign countries care about American copyrights and patents? MBAs? Do foreign countries want American business managers?

If not manufacturing and STEM skills, then what will America have to be viable in the global economy?

Re:Language? (2)

zr (19885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40295581)

it is indeed cultural, but its not so much that the russians dont call nerds nerds, they do. its that good teachers are treasured (not always by higher salary, admittedly) and are given MUCH MUCH greater leeway in terms of pushing children to excellence.

there was an incident not long ago when a teacher was accused of sexual harassment, in russia, the parents of his pupils raised to his defense in perfect unison. which is indicative of the fact that a good teacher can be assured of support if he (or she) is accused frivolously.

Re:Language? (1)

zr (19885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40295415)

i regret to say, if you did copy (good) russian schools, half of teachers would be fired and sued for child abuse.

oh, and by the way, russian teacher unions (where there is such a thing which its relatively rare) would _laugh their asses off_ if they knew a teacher can't prep for a class for more than an hour.

just saying.

Re:Language? (2)

dmt0 (1295725) | more than 2 years ago | (#40296771)

In America, a student who is good at math, science and CS is called a nerd. In Russia, such a kid is called smart. Seriously, Russia has always kicked ass in science and math education. We should copy their schools.

I have news for you. In a typical Russian school, a kid with a higher than average GPA would be called a Botanist (which is somehow considered stereotypically the most boring subject ever).

In soviet Russia (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40294737)

In Soviet Russia

In Soviet Russia... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40294757)

Code Jams You...

Russian Math Olympiad (2)

deodiaus2 (980169) | more than 2 years ago | (#40294853)

The Russians have been doing this sort of thing for years in math.
I would think that these sorts of contests are something that new CS students would notice and prepare for. Now, this presents the opportunity of getting noticed by the West, the chance for getting a schlorship at a school like Berkley, and potentially employment at a rich American company being paid in dollars is icing on the cake.

Re:Russian Math Olympiad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40295251)

You assume wrong, when you assume that a software developer makes less $$$ in Moscow than in Bay Area. To say that a salary in IT of $4000(NET) is exceptional would be an overstatement.

Africans... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40294913)

"We're all the same"...

"Diversity is our strength"...

Yet the AFRICANS, despite being more numerous than white people, hardly made a showing...

I wonder why that is.

Could it possibly be their lack of INTELLIGENCE?

Say it ain't so!

What is your children's future going to be like, when they become a white minority in their OWN country, and there are no majority white countries left on Earth?

Looks like genocide to me.

Re:Africans... (1)

netcruiser (1645001) | more than 2 years ago | (#40295111)

Not really. Check out South Africa. 3% made it to round 3, while say, US, about 1%.

Moreover... (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#40295221)

The Google Code Jam competition - at least the event we are talking about here - is 100% in English, which emphasizes the Russians performance.
And don't count on the translation programs... the problems are pretty complex and an automated translation would generate many ambiguities (or even mistakes).

Regarding the performance itself, from Round 1 (after the qualifications round) the problems are very Math-oriented. A competitor with a background in mathematics is clearly having a huge advantage. Even the a programmer having strong algorithm knowledge, is likely to be beaten on time by the mathematicians.
So, Russians seem to be better at Maths.

Australia highest ranked native English speaking (1)

chromasia (882782) | more than 2 years ago | (#40295265)

Interesting to see that Australia is the highest ranked native English speaking country (12th overall). Also interesting that United States cumulative total was only 3% ahead of Indonesia. percentages from rounds 1, 2 and 3 added together: Belarus 166% Russia 152% Japan 142% China 140% Taiwan 137% Ukraine 135% Poland 132% Hong Kong 128% South Korea 110% Netherlands 109% Vietnam 107% Australia 102% Hungary 100% South Africa 98% Sweden 98% Greece 98% Thailand 96% Germany 90% United Kingdom 89% Bangladesh 87% France 84% Canada 83% United States 79% Indonesia 76%

Stats from a site that's doing such jam's for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40295657)

Stats from a site that's doing such jam's for longer time than google:

http://community.topcoder.com/stat?c=country_avg_rating
        1 Russian Federation 662 2993.46
        2 China 1673 2905.58
        3 Poland 258 2824.82
        4 Ukraine 283 2737.54
        5 Japan 735 2732.78
        6 United States 667 2611.5

Poland has nearly the same number of points with 258 coders, as Russia with 662.

Re:Stats from a site that's doing such jam's for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40295713)

Uhm, nope, it seems to be an average rating actually. So yeah...

IME Russian coders are excellent (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#40295723)

But God help you if you need to maintain their code, because I absolutely guarantee you that they won't.

Re:IME Russian coders are excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40296603)

isn't that true for any code?

Weather / Distractions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40295785)

Growing up in a place with a long winter and no cable TV, pre-internet, did wonders for my future technology career. Having spent some time East of the Urals in Russia as an adult I can vouch for a similar "opportunity" existing there for today's youth.

Eastern Europe education + self-confidence impact? (4, Informative)

Moskit (32486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40295895)

Take a look - it's not just Russia with high scores, but also Belarus, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine.

Western nations fare much worse, especially as a percentage of guys who make throught. It seems as if more people in USA were convinced of their skills and participated, while EE attracted only those who actually have the skill. This corresponds with real life and self-confidence. EE people seem to judge themselfes harder than others and don't participate in such events even if they have skills.

In any case it's sad to notice that excellent programming skills do not translate to excellent commercial success - many of those talented work for Western companies, do not create good domestic ones.

Feel free to point out if I'm wrong here.

Education system? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40295953)

What is it with all the comments mentioning the education system as if it's clearly and obviously the primary factor in the difference between countries?
People who excel in any particular field tend to do so despite the education system, which in every country tends to focus on the average and does not cater to those who are highly driven or capable. Russia is no exception to this.

Send SPIKE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40295991)

YES!! I am inveencible!!

They're looking in the wrong place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40296273)

Russia, indeed, has some of the highest quality competitors.  On the other hand, it doesn't indicate that Russia has the best education system or anything else like that.  It just means that Russia has been able to produce six really good programmers.

If you want to get an idea of the relative strength of a country's infrastructure, consider how many programmers got past Round 1a.  That gives an idea of a country's depth.  The numbers are very different:

        percent thru
                  round 1a
China               41.7%
Japan            40.1%
Hong Kong        33.1%
Canada            27.2%
United States    25.4%
Poland            20.2%
Belarus            19.3%
Russia            18.7%
Ukraine            18.2%
Slovakia            12.5%
Czech Rep.         8.5%
South Africa        5.7%

Looked at in terms of depth, China and Japan are, by far, the most impressive.  Eastern Europe produces a few geniuses but, overall, they aren't that impressive.  Canada and the US are stuck in the mushy middle.

Re:They're looking in the wrong place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40296473)

Dude, didn't you ever consider to think why round 1a was smaller then round 2?
If you want to know how many qualified you have to add a+b+c together.

54% of Russians have a college degree (1)

melted (227442) | more than 2 years ago | (#40296783)

54% of Russians have a college degree. That's the highest percentage in the world. Why are you surprised that they win competitions that require high IQ?

No Indian in Final List (1)

mumbaiblues (2660579) | more than 2 years ago | (#40296819)

So much for being an IT superpower....

Hong Kong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40297397)

Hong Kong does well because they import all the Algorithmic Trading programmers from the world.

Education system? (1)

erp_consultant (2614861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40297719)

I wonder if it has anything to do with that particular countries education system? I'm generalizing but it seems that in some cultures (India and China for example) a lot of emphasis is placed on memorization and learning by rote. Creative thinking seems to be stressed more in North American and European schools. Those creative thinking skills seem to lend themselves particularly well to solving complex multi-dimensional programming problems - thinking outside the box if you will. It's not really a function of intelligence per se it's more of which approach you take to figure it out.

What?.... (1)

rez_rat (1618) | more than 2 years ago | (#40297747)

No "I for one welcome" joke??

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