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No US College In Top 10 For ACM International Programming Contest 2013

samzenpus posted 1 year,14 days | from the we're-number-one-sometimes dept.

Programming 199

michaelmalak writes "The annual ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest finished up last week for 2013, but for the first time since its inception in the 1970s, no U.S. college placed in the top 10. Through 1989, a U.S. college won first place every year, but there hasn't been one in first place since 1997. The U.S. college that has won most frequently throughout the contest's history, Stanford, hasn't won since 1991. The 2013 top 10 consists entirely of colleges from Eastern Europe, East Asia, and India."

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199 comments

Anyone surprised? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247307)

'murica is stupid as a brick...

Re:Anyone surprised? (2)

c0lo (1497653) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247499)

Cause or effect? [slashdot.org]

Re:Anyone surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247917)

Which of the Indian teams are represented? I see one at 60th...

Re:Anyone surprised? (3, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | 1 year,14 days | (#44248045)

Which of the Indian teams are represented? I see one at 60th...

Irrelevant. What's relevant: if there's little need in the US (or any other country) economy for software people, it is likely there will be no winners from US in the ACM competition (or winning will happen only as an exception rather than the norm).

In a sociological context, one needs quantity to develop quality consistently over time (that is: it is highly likely the talents need nurturing by an existing culture in their field for them to reach their full potential; and this requires quantity).
Note that quantity alone is not sufficient for the quality to emerge - if in need for another example, you only need to look at the today's music

Re:Anyone surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247793)

This article is full of shit. MIT placed 0x0E.

Not really, It was hosted in St. Pete (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247851)

It's "fascinating" that St Pete schools make the top 5 twice. No team from England, France, Germany, or India? Hmmm...

University of Central Florida ranked 48, that's gotta hurt anyone outside of China, the former USSR, and whatever other teams didn't just say "hey I know some C, WTF!"

 

Diagram. (1)

Seumas (6865) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247319)

Can someone draw us a diagram that explains the submission?

Yes, but . . . (1, Flamebait)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247323)

. . . we're still number one in obesity, right?

. . . and . . . how come I never get those programmers when my company outsources . . . ?

Re: Yes, but . . . (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247341)

Actually, Mexico just took over the top spot for obesity.

Re: Yes, but . . . (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247381)

Don't worry, as soon as they get across the river it'll be the US again.

Re: Yes, but . . . (3, Informative)

kamapuaa (555446) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247443)

Actually, various small Pacific Island Nations are higher, then various Middle Eastern nations, then Mexico. Then US. Nauru and Samoa are 95% obese.

Re: Yes, but . . . (3, Funny)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247605)

Actually, Mexico just took over the top spot for obesity.

If you wanna be the best, you've GOT to be hungry.

Re:Yes, but . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247345)

. . . we're still number one in obesity, right?

. . . and . . . how come I never get those programmers when my company outsources . . . ?

nope, mexico just stole #1 in obesity from us.

Re:Yes, but . . . (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247347)

. . . we're still number one in obesity, right?

Uhh, no... [washingtonpost.com]

Re:Yes, but . . . (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247361)

Pay peanuts, get monkeys.

Re:Yes, but . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247707)

What would you pay peanuts? Fertilizer? Ok, that's enough alcohol for me...

Re:Yes, but . . . (3, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247383)

. . . and . . . how come I never get those programmers when my company outsources . . . ?

For the same reason you never get a knowledgeable person if you dial a helpdesk.
Those outsourcing countries have internal markets as well, including normal programming jobs.

Re:Yes, but . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247389)

Those programmers are the ones who go to US after doing their bachelors, do a masters and sometimes PhD, take a visa leading to a green card and join one of the major companies like MSFT,GOogle,FB, or startup their own, or join an interesting startup

Re:Yes, but . . . (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247391)

TBH a lot of these people are not the kind of programmer you'd want to outsource your average business app to.

It's really more of an algorithm competition. The programming part is mostly concerned about getting a correct implementation, quickly. The winners tend to be people who 1. know a lot of algorithmic theory, and 2. can write and keep track of fiendishly complex code, with emphasis on conciseness.

I'm sure many of them can write clean and maintainable code as well, but it's not a requirement for this contest.

Re:Yes, but . . . (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247937)

a lot of these people are not the kind of programmer you'd want to outsource your average business app to

Amen! Why would you want to outsource to proven talented programmers? How are you meant to get an adrenelin buzz out of that?
BTW, are you including the American contestants when you mention "these people"? Just curious.

Re:Yes, but . . . (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44248073)

Yes, I mean everybody who participate in the ICPC.

It's a contest where clever programmers do well.
The advantages and disadvantages of clever programmers are well known. These are all brilliant people who can write clever code, but not all of them will write code that other people can maintain.
Some of them are simply to clever to see why other people would have trouble following a piece of code.

I'm not saying their skills aren't valuable when you actually have a difficult programming task, but for outsourcing especially, where the task is hopefully basic and the code is guaranteed to pass through many hands of different skill levels, you don't need clever people, and especially not 'clever' people.

Re:Yes, but . . . (1)

mc6809e (214243) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247511)

There probably is a correlation between obesity and a slothful mind, present company excluded, of course.

a disgrace to humanity (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247357)

A contest that is limited to only C/C++ and Java is a disgrace to humanity. No skillful CS student would go to such a thing. This is completely ridiculous. Either pen and paper, or allow languages that are not among the very worst languages of the planet.

Re:a disgrace to humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247385)

No skillful CS student would go to such a thing.

"Skillful" CS students are nothing more than code monkeys.

Re:a disgrace to humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247445)

Agreed, it really is a shame that they dropped Fortran and Pascal.

Re:a disgrace to humanity (1)

c0lo (1497653) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247537)

Agreed, it really is a shame that they dropped Fortran and Pascal.

What??!?? [xkcd.com]

Re:a disgrace to humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247561)

All programming languages should be allowed. If I can't at least program in haskell, it's not worth it. And most good programmers probably think the same.

Re:a disgrace to humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247813)

I don't think "most good programmers" are that obsessed with their pet programming language, no. All the Haskell programmers I've met know their way around both C++ and Java, and wouldn't pass up on a fun challenge over a minor quibble like that.

If any of them were, they're probably not in college anyway, since most courses don't allow you to submit your homework in any language you choose.

Re:a disgrace to humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44248039)

You simply can't program well in Java. And any programmer that has taste doesn't program in Java. They do it perhaps because they get very rich. It also depends how you define a good programmer. For me more than 99.99% of the programmers on sites like programmers.stackexchange.com are beginners. Most good programmers I know have at least a PhD in CS and/or earn 3-6 salaries of a average programmer. For instance Standard Chartered Bank hires a lot of good programmers and they all program in haskell.

Java itself is a crime against humanity. And C# is "java done right", the most pointless language on par with Java. The only language from MS that is not completely utterly garbage is F* the successor of F#. Also there is not a single OOP language where innovation happens right now. The field is completely dead. (If not show me a single current state of the art paper). One of the few innovations of OOP in practical terms was, that Erik Meijer ported Monads from functional programming to C# (LINQ).

At my university a lot of courses on programming, at least more than 50% of the courses let you choose your programming language. Also the first programming language a student learns is haskell. Also carnegie mellon adopted functional first in 2011 (don't know about right now). So in a way the requirement of Java (or C++) favors bad universities.

The biggest crime in humanity is that some universities still teach Java. At least teach OOP in Scala.

Re:a disgrace to humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44248193)

Most good programmers I know have at least a PhD in CS and/or earn 3-6 salaries of a average programmer

Yeah, I don't think you'll find many of those in a college-level competition.

You can say a lot of bad things about Java and C++, and I have probably said most of them, but they're perfectly adequate for implementing an algorithm and running them over some output. You have the utilities you need - structures, trees and hash maps, linked lists, arrays, priority queues etc., and methods to work on them.
If you can't do a straight-forward implementation of an algorithm in either of those languages, sorry, but it's you that suck.

Re:a disgrace to humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247607)

A contest that is limited to only C/C++ and Java is a disgrace to humanity. No skillful CS student would go to such a thing. This is completely ridiculous. Either pen and paper, or allow languages that are not among the very worst languages of the planet.

So... What language would you suggest?

Ada? Bash? Basic? BCPL? Brainfuck? Cobol? C#? D? E? Fortran? JavaScript? Ksh? Lisp? Malbolge? Perl? Python? Rexx? Tcsh? Whitespace? ...

Re:a disgrace to humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44248119)

Allow all languages or none (pen and paper).

Re:a disgrace to humanity (1)

RCL (891376) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247859)

CS student that cannot program in C/C++ probably cannot efficiently use other languages as well.

Re:a disgrace to humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44248093)

That's a huge difference. Programmers can program in C/C++, but of course would never do that if C/C++ is not the best tool to solve the problem at hand. You realize that a lot of universities teach functional first? Carnegie mellon adopted functional first in 2011 (don't know about right now). My university did that in 2006 with haskell. So in a way the requirement of (C/C++) favors bad universities. Let's say the requirement was you have to develop in Visual Basic on a windows machine in visual studio. Then, out of principle, a lot of students won't go. The same is true with the stupid C/C++ requirement. I mean John Backus told the world in 1972 that imperative programming might not be the best idea, and people still don't get it in 2013. That was 42 years ago! There is zero innovation going on in OOP at the moment in the academic world. That my first comment got voted down is just a symptom of how bad it is.

Re:a disgrace to humanity (1)

RCL (891376) | 1 year,14 days | (#44248409)

And why teaching functional languages is an advantage? I actually see it as an academia's disconnect with real life. They could have been very well teaching liberal arts.

Re:a disgrace to humanity (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | 1 year,14 days | (#44248235)

It's possibly related to the results. Many of the top-tier universities use less industry-friendly languages for teaching undergraduates. At Cambridge we do a lot of ocaml, at MIT they use Scheme (and, apparently, Python), at a number of others they use Haskell. There are several reasons for doing this. The first is that teaching a less common language means that you don't start the course with half the students thinking that they already know the material. The second is that teaching a relatively simple yet expressive language teaches students to think about algorithms first and then about microoptimisation later when they learn their third or forth language.

In many other universities, there has been the growing trend to believe that the language that you should teach with is one that you would use to solve real-world problems. I believe that this is a mistake, because the requirements for a language for teaching and for creating maintainable large-scale applications are nowhere near the same. This would mean, however, that students from universities with this belief would have an advantage in these contests as they'd be using a language that they'd had a few years more practice with.

Looking at the results, however, I suspect that there's also a lot of apathy involved. MIT and Stanford are there, but they tend to encourage a very competitive atmosphere. Several universities that I'd expect to produce students that would do well appear not to have entered at all. Given the wide range of extra curricular activities available to students these days, I wouldn't be surprised if entering a competition is somewhere down the list.

Re:a disgrace to humanity (1)

brainscauseminds (1865962) | 1 year,14 days | (#44248489)

A contest that is limited to only C/C++ and Java is a disgrace to humanity. No skillful CS student would go to such a thing. This is completely ridiculous. Either pen and paper, or allow languages that are not among the very worst languages of the planet.

These contests are writing about highly efficient programs performance and memory-wise and C/C++ are very adequate for such algorithm competitions. Any inefficient step performance or memory wise will be punished by failing tests and losing points. C/C++ has been one of the classical programming languages always used in algorithm contests. And what the fuck do you mean by "worst languages on the planet". You do not implement performance critical algorithms and data structures in Python or Ruby, this the correct job for C/C++ programming languages.

*shrug* (3, Informative)

coaxial (28297) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247363)

So what? I don't see any of those schools being real power houses of innovation either.

Re:*shrug* (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247501)

A school should be about teaching and learning, right?

Re:*shrug* (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247599)

Because these students are mostly coming to work at Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and various Silicon Valley startups. They are better than you in practically every way.

Re:*shrug* (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247807)

My school teaches its computer science guys to teach computer science, and then brings in students from the types of schools mentioned in the article for research.

Because its cheaper, more like it.

The King Is Dead Long Live The New King (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247371)

Mexico surpassed the USA for its population having the most clinically obscene obesity on Earth. Yea! El Macho in Despicable Me 2 wins Top Prize for girth.

Ha ha. Phssgttt.

Trayvon is a dead nigger (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247407)

His rotting corpse putrifying in the Florida heat. Trayvon be dead. Zimmerman live! ZIMMERMAN LIVES!

Deal with it niggers. Trayvon Coonskin got his number called. Your homeboy ain't gonna cause no mo' trouble.

Could be a good sign... (1, Informative)

ndykman (659315) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247417)

This programming contests have nothing to do with real world programming or the skills need for most CS fields. Certainly, these are fun algorithmic challenges, but the timed nature of these contests encourage quick and dirty solutions that have no place in the real world. Creating new algorithms and other kinds of CS research requires a lot of attention to performance, scalability and correctness that aren't tested by these contests.

Okay, maybe those High Performance Trading guys want crazy quick complex code that nobody can understand, but that's kind of the problem, is it not?

Re:Could be a good sign... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247469)

Actually, performance and corrected are EXACTLY what these competitions test - you can write however ugly code you want (and often you do), but it has to run fast and give correct results.

Re:Could be a good sign... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247505)

What manner of "real world" is it where there aren't crazy deadlines and time to design and code properly?

Re:Could be a good sign... (3, Funny)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247579)

This programming contests have nothing to do with real world programming or the skills need for most CS fields.

Phew, glad you cleared that up. For a second there I thought that the education system in the US had been flushed down the toilet!

Re:Could be a good sign... (1)

ndykman (659315) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247989)

Yes, ironically, one of those "real world" skills that this may not test is writing and communication. Proofreading being paramount to the first, of course. So, your humor is on point.

Be nice if Slashdot had a "WTF!?" edit button. You get two minutes to fix your fails. After that, to the wolves with ye.

Re:Could be a good sign... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247611)

Oh pleeze :) Quick and dirty solutions are the only thing the real world cares about. The results speak for themselves. If you want to find a math genius, go to Russia. Russians may not be great entrepreneurs, but give them some time.

Re:Could be a good sign... (1)

ndykman (659315) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247627)

s/This/These/g. I is smart!

Re:Could be a good sign... (1)

mc6809e (214243) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247633)

This programming contests have nothing to do with real world programming or the skills need for most CS fields. Certainly, these are fun algorithmic challenges, but the timed nature of these contests encourage quick and dirty solutions that have no place in the real world.

Could be.

I did really well in these competitions during high school. Now I look back in horror at some of the code I came up with.

What slows me down today is all the second guessing I do now that I know what can go wrong.

There's a parallel in entrepreneurship. Many immigrants in the USA start businesses in part because they just don't know just how vulnerable they are to lawsuits and regulations. Many native citizens are much more cautious for fear of what the legal system or government might do to make their business life more difficult and they sit on the sidelines.

It's possible programmers in other countries are still in that exciting stage where they can code without fear.

Re:Could be a good sign... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247915)

I don't see why young programmers in the USA would be coding with fear of the legal system etc.

As for "real world" I wonder how many of the submissions have logging, decent exception handling, hooks for unit and regression testing, or even support for version/build tracking. ;)

Re:Could be a good sign... (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | 1 year,14 days | (#44248035)

I don't see why young programmers in the USA would be coding with fear of the legal system etc.

They probably don't want to become the next George Hotz or Aaron Swartz. Copyright and patent lawsuits are becoming fairly common, one example is Lodsys suing small iOS app developers for using APIs in the iOS SDK. There are plenty of reasons why young programmers should fear the USA legal system.

Re:Could be a good sign... (5, Informative)

Bob Hearn (61879) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247643)

I would guess that you've never entered one of these competitions. To do well, it is not sufficient to come up with quick and dirty solutions; these will generally fail. You have to be able to find a good algorithm, quickly, and implement it, catching all the edge cases. These are certainly valuable real-world skills.

Disclaimer -- I was on the Rice team that took 3rd in 1986 (before there were any international teams at all).

Re:Could be a good sign... (2)

ndykman (659315) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247727)

Sure, if you can be quick and clean, that's valuable. But it's throwaway code by nature. You get no points for making the code readable, well structured, interoperable, etc. And, sadly, new complex algorithm development is the kind of development very few people actually get to do.

There are all kinds of programmers and skillsets The problem with these contests is they give the impression that this the "highest form" of programming skill. In fact, there are many important skills these contests don't address at all, and there are many good programs at schools those that would have a hard time fielding a competitive team.

Re:Could be a good sign... (4, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247689)

If someone does well in these contests, they're probably really good programmers. Inexperienced, yes, but......that's why they're still in college. They are programmers who know how to get the computer to do what they want, which is more than a lot of 'professional' programmers.

It's not clear why you think scalability and correctness aren't tested by these contests. A lot of the problems have huge datasets, so if you use an algorithm that doesn't scale, you will fail. And of course correctness is the point.......

Re:Could be a good sign... (2, Insightful)

ndykman (659315) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247965)

I looked at the input/output files for the 2011 and 2012 contests. The biggest files I found were on the order of 10Mb. That's not a huge dataset in my mind, not by a long shot. I'd bet that most, if not all of the submitted solutions would fail if given datasets on the order of gigabytes, or not run in any reasonable amount of time. Makes sense, they don't have to. But that's real world scale.

It's easy to dump on "professional" programmers, and yes, there's a lack of talent, but being good in these contests is no predictor of success in a programming career. Programming as a career has nothing to do with getting the computer to do what you want; it has everything to do with getting it to do what your customer wants. Your boss wants, what IT wants, and frankly, it really is about not doing what you can't maintain or do well enough and having the courage to say no. And, yes, it does mean being able to work in a team with people that have different skills or are less talented than you.

I've seen too many students who thrived on this kind of work, were encouraged by professors and others for their talents, only to watch them crash and burn in the realities of programming outside of school. And academics is no recourse for some either, as that is not quickly solving problems with known answers, that's asking questions, forming a new problem (harder than it sounds) and then hopefully answering it well.

Re:Could be a good sign... (4, Interesting)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | 1 year,14 days | (#44248101)

From looking at some of those problems, it seems to me that it's more important to be a better mathematician than a programmer.

Re:Could be a good sign... (5, Insightful)

Loki_666 (824073) | 1 year,14 days | (#44248333)

Ah, in that case its even worse! It indicates the US is lacking behind other countries in producing quality mathematicians!

And our company employs a lot of our programmers from the university maths department. With good reason.

Re:Could be a good sign... (2)

Sivaraj (34067) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247705)

Quick and dirty solutions have no place in real world? Tell that to the customer losing a million an hour due to broken system. He will take whatever quick and dirty fix you can give him in a matter of minutes.
I am not sure which real world you are living in. But thinking and coming up with fixes at very short notice is a real skill needed in software industry. I have saved or recovered from several disastrous situations with quick and dirty fixes.

Re:Could be a good sign... (1)

ndykman (659315) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247785)

I thinking of the world in which you don't want those problems to crop up in the first place, and when they do (and yes, they will), you want the fixes to work and work correctly, not just trade one bug for two down the road, then four.

Making those systems has nothing to do with quick or dirty. The reason they happen is too many programmers have to compromise in the face of unrealistic deadlines for fear of being replaced by new talent who writes code (too) fast, and makes headaches down the road even faster.

The people that really hold these contests and the kind of programming done for them as the peak of software development really cause many more problems than they solve in most organizations. Those that just seem them as special kind of programming skill (fun, challenging, but unique) do much better. And any school that overemphasizes this skillset versus a more diverse one is not the best school.

But, hey, I'm old and grumpy, so what do I know.

Re:Could be a good sign... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247999)

People always say this, and it's total bullshit. It takes dedication and intelligence to be world-class anything. Dedication and intelligence carry over to every job. And if you have to explain why some person's world-class talent is not the exact same thing as they would need in their job, you'd better believe there are some more specific skills that carry over too.

A few specific examples in this case:
- The ability to think through an approach to a problem and see if it will actually cover all the cases.
- The ability to, after having done this, implement a complex solution correctly.
- The ability to tell whether an approach will be efficient before spending the time to implement it.
- The ability to organize a small team to work together efficiently.

The ability to do these things quickly does not make you worse at long term projects.

On the other hand, you know what is a good anti-predictor of success in the real world? Seeing someone else accomplish something you couldn't, and then brushing it aside and saying "I'm still better than them". Unwarranted self-satisfaction goes hand in hand with a lack of drive to improve.

- Signed, an ACM world finals veteran now in a senior engineering position at Google (and not the only one by a long stretch)

Re:Could be a good sign... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44248451)

Yeah, those grapes are sour. I competed in this competition and one year my team was very close to getting into the international final. Your criticism reads as something coming from a person who has no idea what these competitions are really about. I'll even help you out and give you a real criticism. These competitions test the ability to solve very difficult algorithm problems and the ability to implement those algorithms very quickly with zero bugs. The main limitation is that whatever the solution is, it has to be implementable by a very fast coder in a few hours. So the stress is not on managing complexity in very large programs, which is a very important programming skill, since you can't write a very large program in a few hours.

However, your criticism is way off. The focus of the competition is exactly on performance, scalability and correctness. If your program has any bugs, it is exceedingly likely that the automated test suite (that you don't get to see) will find it, and then you get zero points for that submission plus a penalty for submitting something wrong. No bugs are accepted. The main challenge with these competitions is that they will give your program large inputs and your program has to solve them within tight limits on computation time and memory use. If you break those limits, you also get zero points. So it turns out that the entire focus of the competition is exactly those points that you think are not tested by such contests.

If you had tried doing a competition like this for a while, you'd also realize that complex incomprehensible code is not a good way to go. The problem is that you have to write entirely bug-free code, and if you don't keep it simple, you won't be able to get the bugs out in time. Your 2 other team mates also won't be able to help you track down bugs if your code is incomprehensible. This is a team competition with 3 people per team and only 1 computer. So for debugging you have to print out the code and find the bug by reading the source code on paper - because the 2 other people on the team need time to input their solutions too. So you cannot rely on a debugger showing you where things went wrong. Which again means that you have to keep the complexity low. These competitions are far harder than normal programming, except, as I said, on the question of managing complexity in a large program.

But yeah, those grapes that you know nothing about must be sour. That's it.

yeah, but we know what websites they look at (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247483)

who needs skill? we are the worlds mafia bully who spies on their email.

Missing in action? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247525)

Where's Caltech?

Just not rellevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247961)

Caltech DNS.

Cal Poly DNS

Berkeley DNS

Penn St DNS

Ga Tech DNS

but Central Florida University, of fucking ORLANDO showed up to play.

US programmers too clever to waste time in school? (1, Redundant)

mc6809e (214243) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247565)

College might be considered a waste of time by the best programmers.

Another possibility is that the very clever are washing out of school before they even get to college. I once saw a study that suggested (not proved) that something like 20% of high school dropouts in the USA might be gifted.

In my experience most of the attention in public school goes to those that are ultimately ineducable. Gifted students are just expected to be fine without help. If they dropout, though, they're less likely to be programmers at a university.

Re:US programmers too clever to waste time in scho (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247621)

I once saw a study that suggested (not proved) that something like 20% of high school dropouts in the USA might be gifted

I would have thought it was closer to 80%. You have to be pretty smart to see the writing on the wall as a teenager.

Re:US programmers too clever to waste time in scho (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44248229)

80% of average teenagers might think they've got the special sauce to bail, but the 70%+ ones are going to recognize that the college diploma is the minimum starting point unless a boomer has died, without losing their life savings, and bequeathed a goodly chunk of it to them for an idea that will probably fail.

Re:US programmers too clever to waste time in scho (1)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247673)

Maybe that's what happens when you start teaching Python as an introductory language instead of Scheme?

Also worth noting that you can study and practice for these competitions, there are books explaining good training routines. So it's very possible those countries just practiced harder for the contests.

Re:US programmers too clever to waste time in scho (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247695)

So it's very possible those countries just practiced harder for the contests

Quite true. Another possibility is that 'those countries' won fairly.

Re:US programmers too clever to waste time in scho (1)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247713)

Quite true. Another possibility is that 'those countries' won fairly.

I'm going to assume by "won fairly" you mean, "won because their universities are better than ours." Because I consider winning by practicing harder to be fair.

That's what the article seems to be worried about, are the CS programs in those countries better? As if I have any idea.

Re:US programmers too clever to waste time in scho (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247845)

That's what the article seems to be worried about

Damn! You got me.

Re:US programmers too clever to waste time in scho (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247733)

Quite true. Another possibility is that 'those countries' won fairly.

Don't be silly. The only way americans ever lose is if the contest is rigged or irrelevant!

Yes but we're -really- the best in the -real world (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247597)

Why is it that whenever another country beats the US in anything that is perceived as good, their achievement is somehow not relevant or "they had it easy" or som slashbot has an funny anecdote that he thinks disproves the whole claim?

Why is it that whenever another country beats the US in any metric that is perceived to be bad it's because they're socialists, "had it coming" or some slashbot has a funny anecdote that totally validates the claim?

And why is it that every time this type of bullshit assumption of american exceptionalism is called out, it's always "america bashing" or some such trope instead of an argument on the merits of the claim?

Re:Yes but we're -really- the best in the -real wo (-1, Flamebait)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247737)

And why is it that every time this type of bullshit assumption of american exceptionalism is called out, it's always "america bashing" or some such trope instead of an argument on the merits of the claim?

Probably because prefacing derogatory statements with "why" is one of the core types of flamebait. Or maybe you're just a dick and people don't like you.

Re:Yes but we're -really- the best in the -real wo (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247889)

Derogatory statements? Which statements were derogatory to you?

If you're really that thin-skinned, you should get off the Internet. The questions were asked honestly and not intended as flame-bait, mr. Cynical. Look at comment histories here on Slashdot. Any time the Chinese space program is mentioned, they are painted as copycats and uncreatively following in the same footsteps as the US/USSR. Any time India is mentioned, Indians are painted as dumbass code-monkeys who work for peanuts. Any time Europe is mentioned, it's always in the context of financial crisis and how socialism is baaaaaaaaad because apparently it exposes you to the excesses of the US financial sector. Any time Russia is mentioned, it's always some mafia/oligarchy reference despite what they achieved.

And any time a contest is not won by americans, it's always because it's rigged or irrelevant.

And then there are thin-skinned kids like you who look for "US" in every comment and jump on any perceived slight on your nation.

Re:Yes but we're -really- the best in the -real wo (1)

Cenan (1892902) | 1 year,14 days | (#44248049)

If you're really that thin-skinned, you should get off the Internet

That works both ways, and since you're the one who started the whine thread, this will apply to you specifically, in this context. It's much easier to have a discussion when you preemptively rule out everyone who does not agree with you, but that doesn't add any value now does it?

But since you decided to start a thread, specifically to ask questions framed with sweeping statements about the mindset of everyone on Slashdot (we're nearing the 3 million UID mark), you are in fact trolling. A proper solution would have been to offer counter arguments to those individual posts that you seem to take offense to. For now, you're just a bigot calling everyone else a bigot. Big whoop - that has never been seen before.

Re:Yes but we're -really- the best in the -real wo (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44248197)

I'll assume that you take issue with my original questions and perceive the assumptions they make to be incorrect then.

I'd suggest you go back a few articles and look at what sweeping statements are made about other countries EVERY time they come up.

French? Surrendermonkeys.
China? Copycats and spies.
Indians? Dumbass codemonkeys and rapists.
Europeans in general? Decadent and lazy.
Russians? Mafia and oligarchy.
Mexico? Borderjumpers.
Arabs? Terrorists.
British? Go-to scapegoat for anything surveillance and privacy invasion related.

But look what happens when someone criticizes any aspect of the US which is not the government. Suddenly they're just "america-bashing" but everyone else is just supposed to take it. It's a double standard and it cheapens any potential for discussion about how someone achieved what they did and why we're not doing it ourselves. Personally, I'm interested in why we're not doing as well as others in this competition. Simply assuming the competition is rigged because some dirty unwashed foreigner won it is not satisfactory.'

Maybe it is to jingoistic "patriots" like yourself.

Re:Yes but we're -really- the best in the -real wo (1)

Cenan (1892902) | 1 year,14 days | (#44248511)

I'll assume that you take issue with my original questions and perceive the assumptions they make to be incorrect then.

No. I'm calling you out on your use of derogatory statements to bemoan the quality of discussions, specifically the parts that employ derogatory statements, or stereotypes if you will. That is bigotry. I'm not disagreeing with you on the point you so hamfistedly tried to make, but your implementation of it.

Maybe it is to jingoistic "patriots" like yourself.

Fuck you, you simple minded, filthy slut. There, balance restored.

Re:Yes but we're -really- the best in the -real wo (1)

Loki_666 (824073) | 1 year,14 days | (#44248341)

Why do people hate on the US you could ask?

Its an interesting (but off-topic) question. But if people are hating you, there is usually a reason. Think about it.

Misleading (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247647)

The article misses a few key points. A US team won every year until 1989 because it wasn't really accessible outside North America until after then. When the New Zealand team won in 1990 (the first winners outside the US), they had to compete in the California regional, IIRC, despite living on the other side of the world. It only really properly expanded internationally after IBM first sponsored it in 1997 - probably not coincidentally, the last time a US team won. It's also important to note that certain countries (such as Russia and China) take this competition VERY seriously, training people for years exclusively for this competition, so it's not surprising that they dominate it. Trying to read anything into trends in the 'winning' countries is fairly pointless.

-A former world finalist

Re:Misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247703)

Judging from the comments made in this thread, clearly the reason is that up until 1989 these contests were hard, applicable to real-world conditions and so of course the superior american programmers would win.

After 1989 the contests were rigged and every other country than the US train specifically for that competition and its metrics are useless in any real world application.

Cheating (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247671)

The programming contest is partly skill, but mostly rote memorization and practice, and if you get the problem set ahead of time or even just a tip on some algorithm to study (there are tons of potentially useful formula to memorize) then you have an enormous leg up on the competition. The countries that have excelled at the programming contest recently are ones that stress rote memorization and that have, by Western standards, rampant cheating.

Coincidence? Maybe, but I see a cheating scandal in ACM's future.

When my team placed 2nd in our region they actually added test data after the contest to invalidate one of our programs, moving us to 3rd place (we learned that the judges constructed new test data specifically to fail our program). They did this because my college placed 1st and 2nd in the region and the rules at the time sent the fist and second team to international, but only one team per college, so our region was only going to have one team. This was a long time ago, but I wouldn't be surprised to find out they have the same kind of "professionalism" today.

Re:Cheating (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247769)

The countries that have excelled at the programming contest recently are ones that stress rote memorization and that have, by Western standards, rampant cheating

So when the 'West' wins, it's all fair and above board but when the 'not West' wins it's because of unsubstantiated rampant cheating and the stressing of rote memorization?

I went to school in the 'West' and that's all that school was, rote memorization. I got excellent grades by cramming and accomplished all of my assignment work by 'reading between the lines' and understanding what the teachers / lecturers / private tutors were looking for. Young people are forced to attend locations under the most subservient and degrading circumstances where their minds are entrained to regurgitate a fixed set of information.

Education isn't education .. it's indoctrination.

Re:Cheating (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247963)

Education isn't education .. it's indoctrination.

The eternal mantra of people who never actually bothered with studying beyond high-school. No wonder the dirty foreigners are eating your lunch with the rampant anti-intellectualism evident even in the technical classes who ought to know better. This is why kids call browsing their facebook feeds on a topic "researching" it now.

But sure, go ahead and watch those 3 biology course videos on youtube, mr. unique and misunderstood snowflake. You'll be a brain surgeon in no time. Just like every man thinks he is 4-5 pushups away from being in a king-sized bed with Jessica Alba. Getting good at something takes work. School is a way to condense a lot of trial and error into a few short years of learning from those more experienced than you.

At least the schools I went to were.

Re:Cheating (1)

ezdiy (2717051) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247959)

Yes, sometimes there are rumors circulating about what probable problems there will be, but never closer specifics. So yes you have to memoize and practice a lot of "useless" stuff to even stand a chance. Even if there will be offline version of wikipedia and wolfram available during those contests, memoizing at least the common stuff gives you incredible edge - because it's just not the knowledge but also an acquired skill of choosing and applying common algorithms to various problems.

Regarding "new" data set, I know how it feels, exact same thing (corner case data set) happened to me few times.

The key is to be not bitter and throw tantrums and baseless accusations the moment results are published, but actually look over the winner's code (heck, even post it online to wider forum, if you dare :), and find corner-case data set too, during the appeal period.

The first time I had to admit a loss - the guy's solution was perfect (or I was unable to spot the bug). The second time the competitor's code had similiar degree of a problem, just not so obvious from reading the code. Technically it would be tie, but good judge will give you bonus point for pointing out his mistake.

Now, this was in highschool state championship in small east-european country, not sure what ACM rules are, but I suspect it will be something similiarly reasonable

don't attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence
Judges are human too.

With 5% world population, this is expected (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44247715)

Just based on population, you would expect 0 us colleges in the top 10 pretty often. The fact that we do better than that should be a good thing if you consider the metric important (I don't).

My team won our site in this contest the one time I competed. We edged out the rest of the state, but got completely destroyed by Stanford where they actually practice. There is just a huge gap between the people who practice these contests and memorize all the kinds of problems and fast to type solutions compared to people who are regular coders that occasionally want to look something up, don't optimize for typing time, or think about the design for 30 minutes. As someone who put only a couple hours into preparing, I felt I did pretty well, but compared to a team that practices regularly, it was hopeless.

That said, the top people who do really great are very impressive: some of those problems employ mathematics I simply never got to, and being able solve so many such problems really is quite a demonstration of knowledge and skills. Its also a demonstration of spending a ton of time polishing speed coding and problem reading and memorization, which seems like a total waste to me though.

OP gives too much credit to Indian universities (1)

Sivaraj (34067) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247721)

There is just one Indian college in that list at position 60. Indian universities are equiped to mass manufacture programmers for IT industry, not for creating star programmers.

The west is getting lazy (4, Interesting)

gweihir (88907) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247759)

Or better, it _is_ already lazy. I have done some competitive programming while studying, but it was a small group of students in a special elective course and only 6-7students in it. I already was a PhD student at that time and not taking the course, but I knew the professor doing it and he had told me that he was setting this up and also participating himself. Ended up being 1st until the professor and another student started "cheating" by using inline-assembler ;-)

Still, even in this specialized, elective course, only half of the student put any real effort into it. That is not good. Programming is something you need to be able to do reasonably well if you do anything advanced in IT, or you will never be any good at it. Historically, the west did protect its economic advantage by having better infrastructure, machinery and materials, but that is over. Any bright person with at least slow Internet access, reasonable English language skills and an older computer with Linux or one of the xBSDs on it can compete now on a world-class level, geography has become pretty meaningless. Or rather, being in the west is a disadvantage due to a pervasive sense of entitlement. Personally, I think this is a good thing. Competing on merit only is the only working way to identify talented people.

Re:The west is getting lazy (-1, Troll)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247833)

Or rather, being in the west is a disadvantage due to a pervasive sense of entitlement

At least we're not starving radical leftie commie nigga lovin terrorist bastards!

I see opportunity here (1)

roland_mai (852416) | 1 year,14 days | (#44247827)

I don't think this is a matter of lazy or stupid. There are smart people all over the world. Finding them is the problem. Also, the US thrives because of smart people, so why not give incentive to the special ones to come over?

to busy (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44248015)

fighting wars to worry about silly things like education and healthcare

not suprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44248187)

Americas brightest programmers are too busy figuring out how to get people to click on adverts or how they can leverage JavaScript to glean as much information about a user as possible.

between Google,Amazon,Yahoo is there anyone left ?

Get real! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | 1 year,14 days | (#44248211)

No US College In Top 10 For ACM International Programming Contest 2013

Well, yes, but Eastern Europe, East Asia, and India don't have the benefits of our television telling them they suck at games.

ummmmm...CMU is still in the States (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44248279)

or is this the one in Carnegie, Belarus?

India in the Top 10? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44248405)

"The 2013 top 10 consists entirely of colleges from Eastern Europe, East Asia, and India."

Here are the countries in the top 10 list
St.Petersburg, Russia
Shanghai, Russia
Tokyo, Japan
Taiwan
St.Peterburg, Russia,
Warsaw, Poland
Kiev, Ukraine
Belarus
Krakow, Poland
Moscow, Russia

And to those who say that this contest is irrelevant ... well, I'd hire those programmers in an instant and pay them well too. And I'm sure Google, FB and Apple would do the same. They can think fast and work hard under pressure. And they do know their algorithms. You can't find enough people like that.

Re:India in the Top 10? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44248431)

I meant Shanghai, China!
Sorry!

AC

5 out of top 10 are Soviet (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44248505)

In Soviet Rssia University works.
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