A Growing Cadre of Road Warriors

China's young programming hotshots are gaining global attention

Meet ``Wishing Bone.'' That's the online handle of Wu Jiazhi, a student at Zhejiang University who has become a big winner in the programming contests offered by TopCoder Inc., a Glastonbury (Conn.) company that works with the likes of America Online (AOL) and Merrill Lynch (MER). Topcoder invites programmers around the world to solve software problems over the Net. Within weeks of entering his first contest three years ago, Wu had bagged $2,500. ``I bought my first laptop with that money,'' says the 26-year-old. After earning $200,000-plus from TopCoder since then, he now has enough cash to buy plenty more computers.

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