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Marathon Finalist



What does Topcoder mean to you?

Topcoder is closely attached to my journey in competitive programming.

I became a member just as I was learning the basic CS stuff, and I still compete 10 years later.

Nowadays I really like the marathon matches and the machine learning competitions.

What is your greatest career accomplishment to date?

Continuous learning 🙂

What are you hobbies besides Topcoder?

I enjoy kitesurfing, reading, and spending time with my girlfriend.

What is your best tip for a new Topcoder member just starting out?

Just don't give up !

Especially in Marathon matches; it happens that the first 30 things which you try don't work out. The important thing is to try out the 31st.

Inevitably, you will have disappointments (I had a ton), but the important thing is to learn from them and persevere. And obviously, the best way is to learn from the guys who placed in the top.

Tell us your Topcoder story.

I'm a Topcoder member since 2004. I managed to become red in the algorithm track and qualify for the Google Code Jam final in 2006 (which was held through Topcoder), and since then Topcoder always had a warm place in my heart.

The first time I seriously competed in the marathon TCO was in 2014. The first 2 qualification rounds were brutal for me – I didn't place in the top 30. I really thought I wasn't cut out for this 🙂

In 2015 I decided to give it another go and really found the PathDefense problem enjoyable.
I was first in the provisional standing (briefly) after 3 days and I thought I had a shot at qualifying. Unfortunately, over the next week I tried over 20 ideas which didn't work out, and my TCO final dream started to slip away.
Sunday, with less than 24 hours remaining I was 12th in the provisional standing. I was close to giving up and just going to sleep but I decided to give it one more shot. I spent the whole night listening to Eminem beats for energy and finally managed to get 2 big improvements, which are the reason you are reading this right now.

The lesson: don't give up 🙂