This guest blog was written by Vexorian – topcoder member since 2006
The algorithm contests at topcoder wouldn’t be possible without the work of the algorithm director, Makoto Soejima (rng_58 / [[rng_58]]) and the former director and tester, Ivan Metelsky (ivan_metelsky / mystic_tc). It is a challenging job – 4 times a month, topcoders come to the site expecting a well-balanced problem-set of the type and quality for which topcoder is known. In addition, the problems must challenge even the most experienced and accomplished topcoders in this track.
It is no surprise then that our admins had very fruitful careers before acquiring their current positions. ivan_metelsky joined topcoder back when there had only been around 200 SRMs (the most recent SRM was SRM 609) and quickly rose to red rating back when red coders were relatively scarce. It took him less than one year to reach “target status” – the highest super-elite rating of 3000 or more.
rng_58, on the other hand, had a very interesting career that began when he was only 7 years old. We witnessed an amazing evolution. Starting as a green coder in division 2 and culminating with winning two Topcoder Open tournaments in a row, 2010 and 2011, which was his last TCO as a competitor.
These days Ivan and Makoto are not eligible to participate in topcoder contests due to their admin roles, but that doesn’t mean they have stopped competing. They are active competitors that have accumulated many accomplishments over the years on other competitive platforms. Notably, they are both Google Code Jam champions.
Today the spotlight is on their participation in the Facebook Hacker Cup, a relatively young tournament that nonetheless attracts interest from plenty of programmers. As usual with tournaments, thousands joined the qualification round but only the very best advanced to the finals. Few advanced to Round One and even fewer advanced to Round Two. Round Two was when the great coders began to be noticeable. Ivan achieved fifth place and Makoto scored second place overall in that round.
The decisive third round was one even the greatest coders struggled to solve. Participants needed to solve a very difficult problem set. The requirement to place in the top 25 meant that attention to mistakes was extremely important. ivan_metelsky solved one problem with impressive speed. Meanwhile, rng_58 was the fastest competitor to solve two problems and achieved the first place ranking in the round. As a result both are now at Facebook’s Headquarters in Menlo Park California for the onsite Final Round.
Congratulations to our algorithm admins! We wish you the best luck in the Hacker Cup Final Round tomorrow!