Last week I won the grand prize at RoTopCoder, a regional Computer Science contest in Targu-Jiu. Furthermore, I learnt that I will meet Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, in Helsinki at the Millenium Youth Camp.


me happy after receiving the grand prize
When you go to a contest stressed and with expectations, surely you'll get something wrong. But when you go relaxed, and try to do the best you can, without any nervous feelings, things go sometimes better than you expect.

That's what happened to me. I went to this contest, purely because I wanted to relax before Acadnet and to meet other high-school students that like Computer Science. My mother even said before the contest that it is a waste of time.

But it wasn't. The problems were pretty challenging at our age: a classical union find data structure problem (for which everyone except of me implemented the connected components algorithm which wasn't optimal) and a really nice geometry problem, where you had a plane with N points and a circle with radius R, and you had to position the circle such that it will include the most points [I transformed the problem into a discrete graph, where a the points are nodes and an edge exists between 2 points if they can be positioned in the same circle. Then, with a bruteforce algorithm, I searched for a complete subgraph]. Here is my code, and the Romanian statements and tests.

The atmosphere was also great: a lot of good food, the dormitories from the high-school were nice, close to downtown and the rest of the participants were friendly. We played Mafia [a social game, where each player draws a card and is assigned a role (assassin or peasant) and he has to help his team win the game] from 11pm to 5am in the morning.
Valcea team: prof. Ovidiu Dumitrescu, Daniel Hainagiu 3rd place, Cosmin Oprea 3rd place, me 1st place and grand prize [I had the best score at all the ages, and Ionut Suciu who had a bad day

Millennium Youth Camp - Linus Torvalds

Do you remember the camp I said I'll participate this summer in Helsinki ? Well, Technology Academy Finland who organizes this camp will also give a Millennium Prize. And one of the laureates is Linus Torvalds, one of the great programmers in the world. And we, the participants will have the chance to meet and talk with him.

In addition, I have written a blog post for the MYCamp blog here about how I learnt, applied and received the news of being accepted.