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Education Security

China Dominates In NSA-Backed Coding Contest 316

The Narrative Fallacy writes "With about 4,200 people participating in a US National Security Agency-supported international competition on everything from writing algorithms to designing components, 20 of the 70 finalists were from China, 10 from Russia, and 2 from the US. China's showing in the finals was helped by its large number of entrants, 894. India followed at 705, but none of its programmers was a finalist. Russia had 380 participants; the United States, 234; Poland, 214; Egypt, 145; and Ukraine, 128. Participants in the TopCoder Open was open to anyone, from student to professional; the contest proceeded through rounds of elimination that finished this month in Las Vegas. Rob Hughes, president and COO of TopCoder, says the strong finish by programmers from China, Russia, Eastern Europe and elsewhere is indicative of the importance those countries put on mathematics and science education. 'We do the same thing with athletics here that they do with mathematics and science there.'"
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China Dominates In NSA-Backed Coding Contest

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  • Excellent (Score:3, Informative)

    by Seriousity ( 1441391 ) <Seriousity AT live DOT com> on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @05:27PM (#28271841)
    Given the percentage of Chinese coders in comparison to US, they still did roughly twice as good. (Cue the math pedants)
  • Re:Excellent (Score:3, Informative)

    by jgtg32a ( 1173373 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @05:31PM (#28271891)
    I think you need to be more concerned with the grammar pedants
  • Re:Damn (Score:5, Informative)

    by emkyooess ( 1551693 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @05:58PM (#28272263)
    You must not be too familiar with schools. Time and time again the schools around where I grew up, real educational funds were slashed in favor of building a new gymnasium, funding an entirely new sport, sending the teams to beach trips, and all other sorts of athletics pandering. Meanwhile, it took decades of tooth-and-nail fighting to get a renovation (not even new) auditorium and stage for music and drama, the arts were always scrounging for supplies, science events were always short-changed and trips cut, and math texts were so ragged they were useless.
  • by Ogi_UnixNut ( 916982 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @06:40PM (#28272647) Homepage

    IMO (having spent about half my life the "West" and the other half in "Eastern Europe") the primary difference seems to be one of respect for knowledge.

    In the West while I was at school it was "cool" to be stupid. Kids who smoked, did drugs, didn't do any work, rejected knowledge/lessons, skipped school etc... were by far the most popular, with many followers. The hard working kids that did well on the other hand, were mocked as "teachers pets", "dorks" etc... and were generally social outcasts.

    On the other hand when I was in Eastern Europe, if you were knowledgeable in a subject (especially something seen as hard, like Maths/physics etc...) you ended up being popular, while those that smoked/did drugs/skipped school etc... as above were seen as troublemakers to be avoided. People there seemed to appreciate your knowledge. I guess it's because it's seen as a reliably useful skill (i.e. employable), as opposed to just looking pretty, which only works for the top 1% that manage to become celebrities, the rest usually ending up as whores/gold diggers or thugs/bouncers.

    That's not to say athletics was discouraged, on the contrary you were expected to take part in at least one physical activity, but it wasn't a case of athletics being the be-all-end-all of life

  • Re:Damn (Score:5, Informative)

    by cortesoft ( 1150075 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @07:39PM (#28273181)

    They spend money on Athletics because Athletics makes money... at least football and basketball do, and at least at big sport schools. I went to UCLA, and while they spend millions on coaches and facilities, they make back WAY more than that in ticket sales, paraphernalia, and broadcast rights. Those profits add millions to the general school budget.

    Of course, many schools (and it sounds like yours was one) see these huge profits and want a part of it... so they spend money to build up an athletics program, but fail to realize it is nearly impossible to break into the elite ranks these days.

    Another sad but true fact is that a successful sports program brings in a LOT of money from alumni donors... the better a sports team does, the more the alumni will donate to the school.

  • Re:Damn (Score:2, Informative)

    by Knitebane ( 64590 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @09:18PM (#28273947) Homepage
    Median annual earnings of kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers ranged from $43,580 to $48,690 in May 2006

    Source: []

    Hardly a starvation wage.

  • Re:Damn (Score:3, Informative)

    by dr_dank ( 472072 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @11:09PM (#28274675) Homepage Journal

    Beer and Circus [] details this phenomenon quite well. The sports program is a fundraising avenue, recruitment tool, and publicity machine all rolled up into one. Trouble is, the quality of the education suffers for the sake of the almighty sports program. The portion of Beer & Circus detailing the veto power that Bobby Knight had over the university president at Indiana is especially telling of this fact of life at Division I schools.

  • by Reservoir Penguin ( 611789 ) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @12:38AM (#28275289)
    But the respect is almost gone now, now (almost) everyone wants to be a "manager" aka "office plankton". Working hard and earning a degree in math would land you a $200/month job at a research institute with no prospect of ever owning your own apartment, or even a nice used car. And there are negative words in Russian analogous to nerd - "bot" or "zaukan".
  • Re:Excellent (Score:3, Informative)

    by daveime ( 1253762 ) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @04:43AM (#28276761)

    No, it's a full stop. A period is what a girl gets once a month.

    You say erbs, and we say herbs ... because there's a fucking 'h' in it !

  • Re:Damn (Score:3, Informative)

    by ishobo ( 160209 ) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @04:44AM (#28276765)

    Odd you bring up the US News list since it supports my argument. Four of the top ten are public schools that will cost an EU resident 90% less in tuition.

    1 Harvard University - United States
    2 Yale University - United States
    3 University of Cambridge - United Kingdom
    4 University of Oxford - United Kingdom
    5 California Institute of Technology - United States
    6 Imperial College London - United Kingdom
    7 University College London - United Kingdom
    8 University of Chicago - United States
    9 Massachusetts Institute of Technology - United States
    10 Columbia University - United States

    US leads far and away in number and quality.

    Number is meaningless, and you should know that. With a population of 300 million, one should expect more schools. The above list proves you wrong in the quality department.

    Where would the increase in public funding for higher education come from?

    The same place it comes from in the rest of the world, taxes. Undergrad tuition for a university in France runs about $1000. Not per year, for the whole program.

    The United States does indeed have some of the best schools, if you are rich.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak