Competitive Programming and Sustainability

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Competitive Programming or the Sports of programming is picking up. There is plenty of traction in this field with new competitions and tournaments coming up, more students getting involved in it, more organizations being aware of it and getting into it, and new training material and platforms being created. However, there are also some adverse signals to be seen like the number of slots and prizes going down in some of the established onsite regionals, and some big companies turning away in terms of sponsorships.

In this world, where technology is getting more pervasive and the need for people with a deep understanding of algorithms and data structures is growing, the role of competitive programming is getting larger and more decisive. The sport has become instrumental for organisations to find the right talent and it is also helping educationists make an important subject interesting and easy to teach. While there are clear advantages of competitive programming, a question lingers in the minds of the players: Can competitive programming be made a true sport? Can it evolve beyond just being a tool for finding and showcasing talent for hiring purposes, and become a sustainable sport on its own? Sustainability is a very important aspect for any sport and this talk aims to make an attempt in finding answers to some such questions, through the experience of last 9 years in which CodeChef has been trying to promote this as a sport.

About CodeChef - CodeChef, a non profit initiative of Directi, is a global programming community that fosters learning and friendly competition, built on top of the world’s largest competitive programming platform. It organises three featured contests every month and gives away prizes and goodies to the winners as encouragement. Apart from this, the platform is open to the entire programming community to host their own contests free of any charge. Major institutions and organisations across the globe use our platform to host their contests. On an average, 30+ external contests are hosted on our platform every month. We also partner with colleges and groups to create local CodeChef Chapters, meet-ups, orientation sessions and programming workshops.

CodeChef has also been hosting the online and onsite ICPC regionals for India over the last few years.