I was surfing the Internet peacefully when suddenly a new email arrived in my Gmail inbox. It was from Jessie DíAmato Ford. When I saw the name, I immediately knew that it’s from TopCoder (her handle is jmpld40). Here are the first paragraph of the email.
Congratulations, youíve been chosen as the Algorithm Coder of the Month for your performance in October.† Youíve won a TopCoder t-shirt and will be featured on www.topcoder.com/tc for the month of November.† In order to receive your prize, please do the following by November 10, 2010:
Whooooa! I couldn’t believe I became a coder of the month! It seemed that this award was due to my 6 consecutive rating increases in the last two months. Cool, my efforts were not in vain. I got a chance to receive a TopCoder t-shirt. This meant that I would get a new t-shirt in my programming contest t-shirt collection (besides Google Code Jam and some local contest t-shirts).
Some friends of mine congratulated me via Facebook and IM. Even Ilham Kurnia a.k.a mahli wrote a post titled Wuihhhhhhhhhhhhhhh in his blog. Thanks, guys!
Jessie gave me many interview-like questions along with the email. Before answering it, I read interviews of the previous months to get some inspirations. Anyway, here are the questions and my answers.
What is the major return you get from TopCoder competitions?
I think TopCoder SRMs are the most exciting online competitions. I learn alot of types of problems in SRMs and cool coding styles by looking at other peopleís solutions.
I also meet new friends in the Arena chat room, and we often chat before SRM begins.
What was the hardest project or problem you worked on last month?
Last month I was struggling to move away from my shaky blue-yellow rating performance. I felt very happy when I was quite far from that rating boundary. My next project is working hard to reach the red rating
My team and I were also practicing a lot for the upcoming ICPC Asia Jakarta Regional Contest. It is our first year in university, and we would like to do well in our first ICPC regional.
If you could have any career in the world, what would you be doing and where would you be working?
Probably no specific career or place. However, I always dream I could travel around the world as a good coder.
What can we find you eating and/or drinking while competing?
I usually donít eat while competing, but when I am out of ideas during the coding phase I like to drink some cold tea.
When youíre not competing at TopCoder, what can we find you doing?
Playing table tennis with college friends and reading good puzzle books.
What is your lucky charm when competing?
I donít believe in lucky charms. I usually take a bath minutes before the SRM to make my body and mind fresh, prepare pen and paper, and pray seconds before it starts.
Who is your favorite TopCoder member or admin and why?
rng_58. I often read his solutions because his code is concise and elegant. The problemsets he wrote for SRMs were very nice, too. When I heard that he won the TCO Algorithm Final, I was very happy.
Jessie also asked me a photo of me or my hometown. Since I had no good hometown photo, I gave her a photo of me wearing Batik ūüėÄ I thought this can promote Batik to the world, too.
Well, this award motivates me to reach my dream: becoming a red coder!