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AaronHe's blog

By AaronHe, 17 months ago, In English

According to the Coding Competitions site, Google Code Jam is being discontinued, as well as Kick Start. Here is a link for more information. This year, they instead plan to hold four "farewell rounds" with no prizes on April 15th. According to the FAQ, rounds A, B, C, D will be in increasing order of difficulty with Round A being for beginners and Round D having difficulty between Round 3 and the Finals. Additionally, sign-in will be disabled on June 1st and the site will be shut down on July 1st.

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17 months ago, # |
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:(

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    Does anyone know alternatives for hash code? I mean it should be a team competition with an approximation problem

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    The heart breaking thing is that topcoder contest also been discontinued as per their today;s update on their website

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      17 months ago, # ^ |
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      Rumour. TCO 23 website is on and I don't find anything about "discontinue".

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        17 months ago, # ^ |
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        Link

        "In 2023 we will sunset the traditional in-person TCO event with a final virtual event instead. We will share details in late March. TCO has been an important part of Topcoder’s history. However, the expense of planning, hosting and staffing to support the event no longer make good business sense in this economic climate."

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17 months ago, # |
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Why would they shutdown the site?

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    Because we couldn't reach expert, we have to try harder!

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17 months ago, # |
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The end of an era :(

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    how about hacker cup

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    Why I feel this as start of death of cp?

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      17 months ago, # ^ |
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      heart touching statement :-{

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      17 months ago, # ^ |
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      And probably start of Machine Learning Competitions

      As GCJ is down from now every other of same type(algorithmic) will go down gradually. On the other hand, ML related competitions will be more popular in the future.

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        17 months ago, # ^ |
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        There are already multiple ML contests, but the audience isn't as large as CP, and I doubt it will ever be. It needs alot of prerequisite knowledge compared to competitive programming.

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          17 months ago, # ^ |
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          as a person who works with m, I claim that CP requires not less knowledge than the ml and ml is "a bit slower" because neural nets training requires a lot of time(I had a case when the model was training for 3-4 hours)

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        17 months ago, # ^ |
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        yes, everything is gonna be ML and bitcoin in the future, so we will also see blockchain programming competitions soon /s

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      17 months ago, # ^ |
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      Nah, I don’t think so. It’s just companies not willing to do ‘pro bono’ stuff anymore because of pressures from their board members. Billionaires got to eat, you know?

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        17 months ago, # ^ |
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        This is my guess too. Profits am I right?

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        17 months ago, # ^ |
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        Billionaires grieving over loosing some thousands of dollars, lmao.

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        16 months ago, # ^ |
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        But aren't Google's primary board members still Larry page and Sergey Brin?

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      17 months ago, # ^ |
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      An alternative interpretation is that, Google, instead of cp, is dying :)

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17 months ago, # |
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but y

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    (Just what I heard) The team responsible for organizing the event was impacted by the recent layoff. Also company does not wish to spend extra budgets on organizing such events. :<

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17 months ago, # |
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and Hash Code too :/

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17 months ago, # |
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Had fun in last Hash Code (more than any other contest), was looking forward to this year ;( Hope so atleast they don't discontinue it too _/_

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    Hash Code is also being discontinued!

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17 months ago, # |
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Thanks to ChatGPT???

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17 months ago, # |
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Request to move/port all the Problems to Codeforces or some other platform.
Any ideas so we can at-least preserve all the problems?

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    As stated in another comment, for now you can have a look here.

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      17 months ago, # ^ |
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      Is it possible to do something of the sort for Hash Code as well? The only other similar contests I know are AtCoder Heuristic Contests and Reply Challenges, so losing Hash Code would be quite a big deal for this style of contests.

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      17 months ago, # ^ |
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      isn't this link directing to page written in Korean ? Are problems available in English language at this website or we will have to use google translate ?

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        17 months ago, # ^ |
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        The mirrored problems are in English like the originals. You may have to use Google Translate for the interface, or check the URLs they lead to

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17 months ago, # |
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Very sad to hear about this.

I have practicing CP since 2020, and my dream is to enter the final round to compete with tourist. My strength grows from a newbie to master, and my ranking rise from bottom 50% to top 5%.

For the code Jam, In 2020, I was too weak to participate. In 2021, I made it round 2, finished ranking of 1700+ and failed to make it through round 3. Finally in 2022, I made it to round 3, get a T shirt, but got very bad result on round 3. I want to have better performance this year, but everything come to an end.

I felt a little bit lucky because I at least can win a T-shirt at the final year. I thought there must be someone who are dreamed of code jam T-shirt but never got it, failed at round 2 again and again, if you are, please leave a comment here and I will give you a warm hug.

Hope this is only the end of Code Jam, but not the end of competitive programming era.

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    I need a hug :(

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    I just wanted to say thanks for being a fellow competitor. I felt a lot of similarities when I saw your round 2 posts in 2022. I also had a similar journey as you in my cp journey from 2020-2022. I also noticed you used pypy3 as primary language which really identified with my journey. I was happy to read your success story in getting to round 3, and was hoping you would do well this year too!

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    My story is quite similar to yours. In 2021, I started with cp, so I didn't knew about Codejam and icpc, and gave only Hackercup, but failed to get a tshirt.

    Next year in 2022, I gave Codejam but failed to qualify for Round 3 and missed a tshirt. Then, I gave icpc and Hackercup and qualified enough to receive a tshirt. I was extremely happy with my progress and was hoping for Codejam tshirt in 2023.

    But then in 2023, this happens. I'm broken.

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    I thought there must be someone who are dreamed of code jam T-shirt but never got it

    :crying:

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    I used to have similar ambitious ideas. Distributed CJ came along and I jumped on the opportunity to be among the few serious contenders there reasonably fast... only to find out that next year's DCJ got cancelled.

    Completely separate from personal skill, there's the fact that big tech companies organising these competitions don't care about them or the community, only their profit margin/control, so it's been going downhill from terrible long-term decisions. There's still a lot of competitions out there, even though they don't come with prizes or onsite participation, and there likely will be as long as there are people willing to make problems. Look for those.

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17 months ago, # |
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:(

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17 months ago, # |
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I heard they also laid off the Google Code Jam Program Manager :(

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17 months ago, # |
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Their full announcement:Celebrate Google’s Coding Competitions with a final round of programming fun

After 20 years, Google's Coding Competitions come to a close with a final round.

By: The Coding Competitions Team

Remember 2003? Before Chrome, Google Calendar, Android, and YouTube? When we carefully cleaned up our saved emails because GMail and its gigabyte of storage hadn't arrived? Two decades ago – Google launched a global coding competition called Code Jam, which challenged programmers of all levels to test and hone their skills by racing to solve algorithmic problems.

From there, our coding competition lineup continued to grow. Kick Start began as a contest for recent graduates in China and quickly spread around the world. Hash Code, Google's first team-based challenge, started in Europe. And a first-in-class Distributed Code Jam asked participants to build solutions that could scale when run on multiple machines.

Throughout our coding competitions' 20-year history, you've generated billions of lines of code across millions of submissions. You've gone through hundreds of rounds for thousands of problems and put in millions of hours of code execution and testing. Over a million of you from almost every country worldwide have participated — from experienced programmers to students and everyone in between. And now, just as we invited you to our very first round in 2003, we're asking you to join us for one final event as the competitions come to an end.

Join us on Saturday, April 15, 2023 at 2 p.m. UTC as we host four simultaneous online rounds of competition at varying levels of difficulty. Register now to get in on the action.

And to those who've taken part over the years: It's been an honor to learn, succeed, fail, and have fun coding with you. Through the conceptual art, the slides, the gophers, and the absurd number of pancakes, we did it – and we did it together. Thanks for going on this journey with us.

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    I felt emotional reading this.

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    Wow. They didn’t even get to touch on why the competitions had to be discontinued, just “Yep, Code Jam is ending” and then move on.

    My guess is that they are likely under an NDA which prevents them from saying anything about the topic, but still.

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      17 months ago, # ^ |
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      I think it is probably related to some people who prepared Code Jam have been laid off

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        17 months ago, # ^ |
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        I know, other people have said that already. I was commenting on how they didn't give their own explanations in the announcement.

        Actually, I find the tone of the announcement as a whole to be quite weird. For a project that has been running for around 20 years, you would expect the team in charge to express their grief and lament its loss. There wasn't anything like that here, though — not even a full sentence along the lines of "We are sorry to announce that Coding Competitions will not be continuing in 2023".

        The cynic in me likes to believe that Google forced the team to write an announcement that would sound like they chose to end it on their own terms, rather than Google mercilessly killing it, but that's my opinion.

        Anyway, that's how I feel about this announcement, but regardless I'd like to thank the Coding Competitions team for creating this incredible platform and keeping it running for so long. No hate on you guys.

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          17 months ago, # ^ |
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          You are excluding the possibility that team was already laid off, and the announcement wasn't written by them. It seems that's how the recent layoffs in big tech were done — zero notice period.

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            17 months ago, # ^ |
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            Didn't Sundar Pichai specify in the blog post about the current layoffs that, at least in the US, there would be a 60-day notice period minimum?

            P.S. I don't want this thread to get long and out-of-topic, so if you want to continue the conversation feel free to send me a DM.

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              17 months ago, # ^ |
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              This 60 days period is for the severance package. In big tech you usually lose access immediately on layoff because they are worried you might leak data in rage or something.

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17 months ago, # |
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A very sad day for programming contest. "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."

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17 months ago, # |
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Why are they discontinuing it though?

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    Xoogler here, so this is, of course, an unofficial answer. Currently, Google is aggressively cutting cost in general: only allowing essential business travels, freezing hires, and laid off 6% of their workforce, where Google Coding Competitions Program team was some of them.

    It is not clear how beneficial Google Code Jam is to Google and how impactful it is for hiring top talented programmers. For the past 9 years, the same person has won it, with only 1 year exception. At some point, it would be clear that offering interview opportunities to this person will not be useful and it was just an annual $15,000 give-away.

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      17 months ago, # ^ |
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      It's not just tourist that is their target though

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        17 months ago, # ^ |
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        True, IIRC all finalists have the interview opportunity. But I guess my point was the person they "invested" $15,000 (+all the employee and technical costs) every year does not give the return they were hoping for.

        I am not, in any way, putting any of the past finalists to blame. Obviously in the end the decision whether to use opportunity is completely yours.

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          17 months ago, # ^ |
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          I wouldn't say finalists were their target audience for hiring

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          17 months ago, # ^ |
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          Re hiring finalists: I've been getting offers after years of not participating in GCJ because their decisions pissed me off (and on an email I rarely use, so I don't even reply), and I never got even close to qualifying to finals from last online round. I don't have any social networks they'd use to find me, I'm only on CF and some unrelated forums/discord servers. I'm pretty sure they contact everyone who reached a decent non-finals point in any GCJ ever — for the regular interview process, not direct job offers. Even dead people must be getting those emails.

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      17 months ago, # ^ |
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      The main prize is maybe 2% of costs of organizing Code Jam.

      These competitions are part of recruitment/promotion for Google. It makes sense to freeze it but it's a pity that they completely discontinue everything. Google is known for abandoning projects though.

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        17 months ago, # ^ |
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        Yeah, the programs team and full-time engineers should cost more. With recent Code Jam finals being online, it should decrease the cost of hosting the finals (transporting and accommodating the finalists, etc.), but I am not sure by how much.

        Google is known for abandoning projects though.

        Yeah, the famous Google Graveyard.

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17 months ago, # |
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day of mourning

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17 months ago, # |
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Maybe now it's time for CodeForces to kick off similar tournament like topcoder.

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17 months ago, # |
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Really sad. Does anyone know about any website/OJ which archives those Code Jam / Kickstart problems?

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    They have an archive section on their website. You will also find all the submission archived

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      17 months ago, # ^ |
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      I'm aware of that. But they'll be shutting down the site in July. Hence I was asking are there any sites/OJs (other than google) which has these problems/analysis/testcases/solutions.

      It'd be nice if CF/Atcoder/HydroOJ have the GCJ archives!

      Anyway, already started archiving these to my dropbox. Too valuable to lose these problems.

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        17 months ago, # ^ |
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        But they don't provide testcases in their archive section. Or am I blind?

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          17 months ago, # ^ |
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          Correct me if I'm wrong but there are testcases.zip file in the analysis section of each problem. Aren't they the complete set of test cases?

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            17 months ago, # ^ |
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            Yes they are. But not every problem has them.

            As for an existing OJ for the problems, Baekjoon has collected a lot of them already.

            I am willing to actively help in adding the problems(and analysis) to CF if anyone is interested, but I am not sure if these are violating copyright (or some other legal) rules. It would be pointless if we add a 1000 problems and then we have to take them all down cause we were not supposed to do so.

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17 months ago, # |
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RIP

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17 months ago, # |
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It's pretty sad that they're not even saying "cancelled for 2023" or something like that, just shutting the door completely. I guess they could bring it back but they expressed very little interest in that idea in the announcement. :/

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17 months ago, # |
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Damn, I never thought LeBron James's career would last longer than Google Code Jam. Both debuted in October 2003

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17 months ago, # |
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I think its terrible for Google to cut this off.. they already have the infrastructure. What I would of did is just slim it down to the essentials: two problem setters + two testers working in their spare time, no world finals, 3 rounds (1 2 3). You can do kickstart as well. No youtube fanfare or other initiatives. The costs would be pretty much negligible as you are only setting problems in the judge that you've already built. The headhunting benefits are still there in droves when we are talking about this level of cost.

Many years ago GCJ was pretty bare bones. Fast forward to 2022 and there are many dozens of people working on the Google Coding Competitions Team, some of which are extremely strong competitive programmers, but also many who are imo dead weight and would hardly be 1600 CF rating. I think this ultimately led to costs that spiraled out of control into the many millions.

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    As current Googler, I think it is not appropriate to discuss anything around decision, reasons and my opinions about them. I was not part of any core team for Google competitions as well (I was proposing tasks and was doing our internal rounds as much as I could).

    Only I want to mention that Google competitions were effort of hundreds engineers who like competitive programming. Everyone was able to propose tasks, do internal testing rounds, volunteer for task preparation/testing/writing checker/verifying text etc. Of course, with the biggest effort of the core team. So, the big amount of job was on volunteering base... Having just small group of people who are doing it, without opportunity for others to contribute, would not be the real Google competition, it would not represent all Googlers and their spirit, just a few people would stay behind that big brand and represent it.

    I got my tasks back, enough to organize the whole Kickstart round myself. I may organize contest with these tasks at some point, but it would not be fair to represent Google with these tasks as I am just one super small piece in the whole organization. From other side, tasks are returned to other people as well and they may have better one, it would not be fair from that side too.

    Just tried to explain the situation is a little bit tricky and you can not just raise your hand and say I will do it. I hope many of employees will use their tasks and show some new and interesting ideas to competitive programming world, I would happy to help and organize competition together at any point!

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      17 months ago, # ^ |
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      Rather than represent google, just represent yourself with your problems. We're not here for any brand, but to compete.

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    LMAO calling people with 1600 CF deadweight. In my modest SWE experience, there is no correlation between CP and being a good software engineer. In fact, the top engineers were the ones who were targetting on their given problem and didn't waste time on outside stuff like competitions. Creating the GCJ problems is a tiny part of the whole competitions project.

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      17 months ago, # ^ |
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      I'm not saying those Googlers aren't good SWEs. I'm saying the staff got large and it became a line item on the budget instead of a rounding error, now they cut the entire project because it is too expensive.

      For GCJ, the bare essentials is to have problem setters and testers as the judge is already built out. A few top CPers can do that and the costs would be negligible.

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    How many world cups do you have?

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    Don't focus on rating where making a competition is concerned. Problemsetters are just one part, good testers are a completely separate part, as are ppl handling the competition software, then those for hardware/network infrastructure, then general competition design, then propagation, etc. (Unless you're CF in which case most of these people is Mike.)

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17 months ago, # |
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I petition to hold the four rounds at different times instead of simultaneously. It makes no sense, why would they hold it at the same time? It just decreases the number of people who can participate in the rounds. I want to participate in all four rounds, not be forced to pick one.

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    Same. Really hope they just have the rounds at different times.

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I had high hopes for this year's kickstart. I started practicing cp seriously very recently and got a good rank in the last kickstart. When I felt like I am confident about these contests, they are taken away from me forever :(

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17 months ago, # |
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I hope, it don't set a trend for others. :(

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These are the times, honestly, when I think of how grateful we're to platforms like Codeforces, who are operating majorly with sponsorship only, not even putting ads on this site and are still operating full fledgedly. Thanks a ton Codeforces!

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Well done Sundar pichai. You will not take pay cut in your million dollar salary, but will shutdown this competition to show a 15000$ savings. You have shattered the dreams of millions of people. Way to go. Well done.

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After the firing of Google Coding Competitions' Program Manager, I fully expected Codejam to not continue this year (still expected some Kickstart rounds to happen as planned) and return next year.

The worst past is that all of the record of Codejam, Kickstart, Hashcode will be destroyed. No problem archive, no achievement/certificate record. It's basically like it never happened. No concrete proof that you secured the ranks you say you did. I hope someone will archive the problems/standings to some other website.

I hope Meta Hacker Cup keeps continuing. From the recent layoffs to this incident, Google has done it in a disgraceful manner that you'd never expect out of such a company. Meta and Stripe and a lot of other companies handled the layoffs much better. A lot of competitive programmers look forward to work at Google. Now I think they'd look elsewhere.

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This marks the end of this famous copy-pasta 😭

I don't think the CEO of Google values CP much.

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    You would expect someone who won the nepotism game with only material science degree and BS skills to value CP? LOL

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      17 months ago, # ^ |
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      It's a joke. I don't know if Sundar himself was even involved with the decision to dissolve Coding Competitions team. As CEO of both Google and Alphabet, he has plenty to deal with.

      Secondly, he is not a nepotism product (maybe try googling what the word means). His father never worked in tech industry. And I don't think his skills are BS. No one will agree with you on this, and you know that, hence the alt account for posting.

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        17 months ago, # ^ |
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        It doesn't need family relationship to play a role in nepotism. The bureaucratic Google leadership has been like a joke in recent years.

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17 months ago, # |
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Does anyone know if Quora Programming challenge would happen this year?

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17 months ago, # |
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Does it include discontinuation of CodeJam to IO ?

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17 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +29 Vote: I do not like it

while I still have not received my 2021 T-shirt

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17 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it 0 Vote: I do not like it

:(

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17 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it 0 Vote: I do not like it

Additionally, sign-in will be disabled on June 1st and the site will be shut down on July 1st.

What do you mean by site will be shut down?

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17 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +2 Vote: I do not like it

HackerRank died, A2oJ died, CodeJam died, CodeChef is almost dead. I won't be surprised seeing Mike's post on killing CodeForces

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
      Vote: I like it +11 Vote: I do not like it

    There's always LeetCode :) But maybe it will also suffer if Google and Meta reduce their hirings...

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    CodeChef contests still have 20k+ participants, it definitely isn't "almost dead"

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      17 months ago, # ^ |
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      Yeah, but they ultimately killed their reward system and instead introduced paid subscriptions which means they weren't doing great financially at that point. Also, their contests are no longer targeted on top competitors with rare exceptions.

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
      Vote: I like it +49 Vote: I do not like it

    Atcoder exists

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17 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it 0 Vote: I do not like it

How much better that would be if they had organized one more normal season with a notice that it will be the last one. I bet everybody would had appreciate that, both participants and team behind Google's Coding Competitions.

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17 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +25 Vote: I do not like it

Sad news :/

I will try to setup the archive at https://zibada.guru/gcj/ like I did in 2008-2009, right now I'm downloading everything I can. Looks like downloadable solutions are only available for 2018-2022 though.

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17 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it -98 Vote: I do not like it

very much delighted to hear this. as AI and bots has started writing the codes, there is no need for humans to think and type anymore. Even codeforces should stop functioning, my piece of advice to the owner.

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17 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +9 Vote: I do not like it

Could someone explain how this makes sense economically? The annual prize for gcj was 15k, and if one assumes the cost of setting up the website, paying people to set problems, etc, were to be around 200k (actually it likely that it is way lesser than this, since I remember reading that the problems were set on a voluntary basis by swe's), you are looking at a 250k max cost to run kickstart and gcj, lets even assume it to be 500k. This competition helps google hire top of the industry talent, and more importantly helps bring google recruiting to the attention of elite programmers in various countries outside of NA, like china and russia, who normally use alternative services. Considering that google is primarily a software company, why would google be hesitant in spending a mere half a mil, considering that the revenue google would gain by hiring some of the best talent in the world, would likely be in the tens of millions. And it is important to remember that Google is a company that has 100+ billion in cash reserves and brings in 250+ billion dollars a year.

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    there are many people not doing cp and they are still good,so i think google have other ways for hiring or may be that is stupid move

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17 months ago, # |
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I was hoping to participate and get a good rank in kickstart this year :(

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17 months ago, # |
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I hope the facebook hacker cup continues.

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17 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it -13 Vote: I do not like it

sad for tourist as he will lose one of his sources of income ;)

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17 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +9 Vote: I do not like it

Announcing the cancellation at 2 weeks from the CJ qualification round sounds like an impulsive decision, without a proper strategic thought behind it. I am curious to know if Larry Page is aware of this and agrees. The man who built Google and his personal fortune starting with a brilliant algorithm applied ingenously, designed and coded by himself. His lines of codes running in the first versions of Google search engine in the late 90s, in the garage of a friend. And the legend says, some lines still running also today. I would be surprised if he knows.

Furthermore, this one would also have been the 20th Code Jam, a meaningful milestone. If really Google saw that discontinuing Code Jam is a good strategic decision, it would have made sense to hold the 20th edition and to announce the future discontinuing even before the 20th start. For sure the 500k$ at most of costs is not what can make any minimal difference on Google worldwide balance.

As a side note, probably many people (including me) had already planned their agendas to be free and in a good shape on the round dates. Saying this just to underline that definitely this does not sound as Google style, imprinted to respect and integrity (maybe sometimes fake, but anyway necessary). The round dates were published since November as always, with a longer advance than any other competition probably, this is Google style.

I really hope in a strong reaction from the competitive programming community and supporting entities, a reaction that shows that competitive programming is far from dying or being outdated, and is on the contrary even stronger than before. Ok, the immediately subsequent TCO announcement is definitely not in this direction, but I still hope. A reaction from Meta, maybe from other big companies, and of course from all the platforms starting from Codeforces, that will make Google regret of this myopic and greedy decision. And maybe to review it next year.

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17 months ago, # |
Rev. 3   Vote: I like it +9 Vote: I do not like it

didn't know google could stoop that low..

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17 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +6 Vote: I do not like it

That came out of nowhere.

They didn't even make the effort to explain not only why they are discontinuing the competitions, but also why they decided to delete all the archives of previous contests. I don't know what to think or say.

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
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    They didn't even make effort to properly notify 12000 of their employees that they are laid off, but yet you are speechless about their approach to the competition platform ...

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17 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +8 Vote: I do not like it

Is it known, for old problems where test data is currently not published, whether there is a plan to publish the old test data so those problems can be archived elsewhere? When I asked Chelsea in April 2021, she said there were no plans then to release the older test data, but I would like to hold out hope that these problems can be solved in the future on other platforms.

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    17 months ago, # ^ |
      Vote: I like it +30 Vote: I do not like it

    Other than interactive problems, all Code Jam problems (with 1 or 2 exceptions that are coming soon) have been updated to include test data downloads.

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17 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it 0 Vote: I do not like it

After all, it's Google's decision and we can do nothing about it.

What is important is that the problemsets are moved somewhere where people can practice and if the good problemsetters who are still working at Google are having some nice idea of a problem, they can simply prepare a round at Codeforces.