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How many major global programming competitions are there?

by Breck Yunits

September 7, 2019 — I have done many problems on Project Euler but I've never participated in competitive programming. The other day I got curious, what does the competitive programming landscape look like?

I started my quest by watching a great interview with a competitive programmer. Then I did some searching. Below are my results.

There are 16 major programming competitions

The first one started in 1970. A few of the newer ones are online only.

Most of them started or are hosted in the USA

The List

Below is the up-to-date list. You can contribute to it on the GitHub.

series type started wikipedia firstHostCountry
IMO Mathematics 1959 International_Mathematical_Olympiad Romania
ICPC Programming 1970 International_Collegiate_Programming_Contest USA
ACSL Programming 1978 American_Computer_Science_League USA
IOI Programming 1989 International_Olympiad_in_Informatics Bulgaria
ICFPProgrammingContest Programming 1998 ICFP_Programming_Contest USA
TopCoder Programming 2001 Topcoder USA
TopCoderOpen Programming 2001 Topcoder_Open USA
GoogleCodeJam Programming 2003 Google_Code_Jam USA
IEEEExtreme Programming 2006 IEEEXtreme Online
CodeChef Programming 2009 CodeChef India
CodeForces Programming 2010 Codeforces Russia
AtCoder Programming 2010 Japan
Kaggle DataScience 2010 Kaggle USA
FacebookHackerCup Programming 2011 Facebook_Hacker_Cup USA
HackerEarth Programming 2012 HackerEarth USA
HackerRank Programming 2012 HackerRank USA
Advent of Code Programming 2015 Advent_of_Code Online

Gennady Korotkevich

I came across one interesting stat in my research. Gennady Korotkevich is a programmer who is currently the highest rated programmer on all 5 of the major competitive programming sites!

Future work

It would be interesting to see trends in the number of participants and prize amounts in these competitions over time. I'm curious if eSports with prizes in the millions, will sap people away from programming competitions.

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