Last month, 140 students from 45 universities across the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Middle East gathered in Bloomberg’s New York City and London offices for the Global CodeCon Finals. These coders raced against their peers to complete eight programming challenges testing their coding skills, speed and strategic thinking.
Throughout the year, Bloomberg held regional CodeCon competitions at leading universities for top coders from each school to face off in the final championship, solving problems developed by Bloomberg engineers.
The contestants had to decide the order to efficiently answer the questions, select the most appropriate programming language to use and manage their time within the 2-hour coding period to quickly type thousands of lines of code.
“We spend a lot of time devising the questions for varying levels of difficulty,” said Luis Alejandro, a software developer at Bloomberg and who created one of the challenges.
Contestants were asked to write a mathematical equation to simulate the popular mobile game, PokémonGo, writing a program to minimize the number of Pokémon that may lose to a player’s opponent in battle. Another challenge involved calculating the total number of event-venue combinations of all possible arrangements – a deceivingly complex task that was a lot of fun.
But, the trickiest problem, with only a two percent success rate across the 140 finalists, challenged the coders to write algorithms, test optimizations and create different data structures with no clean, pre-existing algorithms.
After two intense hours of coding, the winners of the 2017 Global CodeCon Finals were:
-First Place: Timothy (Yi Kuan) Li, University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada
-Second Place: Animesh Fatehpuria, Georgia Tech, U.S.
-Third Place: Karolis Kusas, University of Oxford, U.K.
CodeCon is a browser-based e-Learning tool created by Bloomberg engineer, Rangan Prabhakaran, in late 2014 to help students improve their coding abilities. It has been used by more than 15,000 participants have used the platform including university professors and other educators.
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