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Duke University Student Wins Top Programmer Prize

Duke University Student Wins Top Programmer Prize
By Ronald Roach


Sun Microsystems Inc. and TopCoder Inc. named Duke University junior David Arthur, originally from Toronto, the winner of the 2003 Sun Microsystems and TopCoder Collegiate Challenge last month. At a competition in Cambridge, Mass., Arthur beat out 15 of the world’s best Java and C++ programmers for a $50,000 grand prize and the claim of the world’s best college programmer.

“What a great feeling this is to be able to compete against the best programmers in the world. I really didn’t think I had much of a chance against these other guys,” Arthur says. “I’m also really thankful to TopCoder, Sun and Nvidia for putting on such an exciting and professional event.”

Arthur is on a full academic scholarship at Duke University. Prior to the championship, Arthur had won total prize money from TopCoder amounting to more than $16,000. He won the majority of his TopCoder winnings last fall when he finished in third place in the 2002 TopCoder Invitational.

“Given the intense competition of this year’s Collegiate Challenge, David should be proud to be the Collegiate Challenge Champion,” says Jack Hughes, TopCoder founder and chairman.

“Sun is proud to sponsor the 2003 TopCoder Collegiate Challenge, which provides a unique environment for capturing the technical discipline of developing software into an exciting and competitive event for developers and spectators,” says Stans Kleijnen, vice president of market development engineering at Sun Microsystems Inc.

Arthur beat the following finalists in the championship round: Jimmy Mardell (Umea University) who placed second; Daniel Wright (Stanford University) who finished in third place; and Alan Gasperini (UCLA) who placed fourth. The four tournament finalists triumphed over the following semifinalists in previous rounds of the tournament: Eugene Davydov (Stanford University); Stefan Pochman (Darmstadt University of Technology); Ke Yi (Duke University); Alexey Radul (MIT); Benjamin Mathews (CalTech); Xiaomin Chen (Rutgers University); Ante Derek (Stanford University); Bogdan Stanescu (George Mason University); Tony Chang (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign); Tom Sirgedas (University of Michigan); Jacob Burnim (CalTech); and Wei Liu (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities).

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