By Tarmo Virki Technology and media.

Barcelona will host the most global coding boot camp later this month, with a total of 150 students from 50 teams from around the world locking themselves in front of computers for more than a week.

The capital of Catalonia will host the most talented young programmers of the world, with the ACM-ICPC World Champions from ITMO University, as well as the top universities from United States, Canada, Singapore, China, Japan, Brazil, Mexico and Europe among the participants. There are no Irish teams participating though, geographically the closest team attending is from University College London.

Harbour.Space University has teamed up with Moscow Workshops’ to take the Russian boot camp model to countries around the world during the next 10 years. Moscow workshops’ are proved by the results – from the 2017 world final’s 12 medal winning teams 8 went through this boot camp either in Barcelona or in Russia. The training know-how in competitive programming is surely in Russia, as the Russian universities have won the last 6 world championship titles in a row.

Competitive programming was, however, born from a rivalry between a few Texan universities in the 1970s and it has grown into a worldwide sport that brings students from all nations together over a common passion for programming. “The reason I enjoy competitive programming is pretty much the same reason I enjoy math: it’s the gradual unravel of complex puzzles, the brain effort and the rewarding ‘click’ feeling when the tension pays off,” said Mikhail Tikhomirov, coach at the boot camp.

The ACM-ICPC itself (has turned out some renowned captains of industry, including Adam D’Angelo, the former CTO of Facebook and founder of Quora; Nikolai Durov, the former CTO of VK and Telegram; Matei Zaharia, creator of Apache Spark; Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and a venture capitalist, Craig Silverstein, the first employee of Google.

Pretty much on the same list are the boot camp’s coaches — who include Andrey Stankevich, essentially the Alex Ferguson of competitive programming coaches (coach of 7 times world champions), and Mike Mirzayanov, who has a world championship title under his belt and the founder/CEO of Codeforces. “These guys are absolute rock stars in the world of coding,” said Svetlana Velikanova, CEO and Founder of Harbour.Space.

During the boot camp the teams from around the world are preparing strategies for the competition and practicing on similar coding exercises as in the world finals. Regional competitions in North Europe are due already in November, and the World Finals are in April in Beijing.

“Imagine nine days of the most gruelling coding training, by the world’s best coaches, in the techiest building ever, all preparing you for brain Olympics domination and a vast world of networking with companies like Google, Amazon, and IBM,” said Velikanova. “As organisers we are privileged to meet the brightest minds in the tech industry when they are still at university. As with most things not born from luck or savant level talent, it all comes down to training if you want to get to the world finals.”

Harbour.Space University and Moscow Workshops ACM-ICPC have agreed to take the boot camp to all continents in at least 10 countries around the globe over the next 10 years. In Americas the boot camp will be organised in the United States and in Argentina; in Asia they will be in China, Thailand, Singapore and India; with events also in Spain, South Africa and Australia. The global reach of the boot camp model is visible also from the partners which include Russia’s and Eastern Europe’s largest bank Sberbank, and the world’s No 1 job site Indeed through its indeed Tokyo venture, coupled with the top of global online coding communities Codeforces and Topcoder.


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