Belarus is home country to the winner of one of the biggest, international programming competitions. The Belarusian programmer won among 3890 contenders from 72 countries in the Yandex.Algorithm challenge, hosted by Codeforces. Winners are chosen based on personal score and compete for their countries and institutions, with only 25 of the best programmers reaching the final stage of the competition. This is the first time Belarus came out on top against traditional programming giants such as Russia and China.
During the 2014 Yandex.Algorithm challenge Belarus ranked as the number one country ahead of Russia, China, Japan and Poland. The reason behind the country’s success is the winner of the challenge: the current record-holder is a Belarusian programmer, Gennady Korotkevich, nicknamed “tourist,” who studies at the St. Petersburg University of Information Technology, Mechanics and Optics. He ranked first among almost 4,000 rivals from around the world. Thanks to Korotkevich and other Belarusian entrants, Belarus ranked as the number one programming country. Altogether the challenge had 161 Belarusian entries, with 4 Belarusians ranking in the Top 50. In comparison, only one programmer from the United States and none from India ranked in the Top 50.
The competition was hosted by Codeforces, an organization that is becoming one of the leading organizations for competitive programming. It is becoming as prominent in the world of competitive programming as TopCoder.com, a US-based organization that organizes the global TopCoder Challenge. Codeforces increasing popularity is evident by the number of entrants – it lists many more participants than the TopCoder challenge (although TopCoder bases ranks only on active accounts from the last 180 days).
The Yandex.Algorithm challenge is an open competition where some challenges are written by employees from Yandex, the biggest search engine in Russia. The competition features two qualification rounds, two online rounds, and a final onsite round. Programmers are ranked based on personal achievements, but can also participate on behalf of their respective countries, universities and organizations. Out of all Belarusian universities, Belarusian State University ranks highest (28th), competing with other universities and companies like Yandex (4th), Google (6th) and Facebook (11th).