Programming: Indian quiz turns the world’s largest contest


Over the years, the CodeVita kept on getting increasing interest from students. There was no qualification to take part in CodeVita, as long as someone was a university student.

Last week Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) announced that the ninth season of TCS CodeVita—a student quiz competition—has won the Guinness World Records title as the world’s largest computer programming competition, with 136,054 participants from 34 countries.

“The 2021 TCS CodeVita competition invited college students from around the world to pit their programming skills against each other. The winners walked away with cash prizes, and internship offers to work directly with technology leaders at TCS,” the software major said in a statement.

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“Long before words like hackathon became common, TCS had seen the potential of programming as a sport and that had inspired TCS CodeVita,” said Ananth Krishnan, CTO, TCS. “This competition is fuelling a passion for programming in brilliant young people.”

TCS CodeVita—which is now into its second decade and has grown into a world-class quiz competition—had started way back in in 2007 as an ‘internal idea jam’. “Once that jam became popular, we thought how can we make TCS a fun place to work? That led to a programming contest within TCS. That time, the company built the platform called the TCS Top-10 Coder. It saw a tremendous response and soon the CodeVita was born,” said Krishnan.

“By 2010, there were already about a million college students who were on the TCS network and so we had all the ingredients and soon we launched the CodeVita as an external facing contest,” added Krishnan. “For the first two years it was a team competition, and I think it entered the Limca Book of Records in 2014 as India’s biggest team programming competition.”

Over the years, the CodeVita kept on getting increasing interest from students. There was no qualification to take part in CodeVita, as long as someone was a university student.

And then it turned global.

Recently, TCS contacted the Guinness World Records and they said they had been hearing about this quiz competition. “Post the audit process, the Guinness team accepted that TCS CodeVita is, indeed, the world’s biggest programming quiz competition by quite a margin,” said Krishnan.

This competition also feeds into TCS’s talent pipeline, although Krishnan said that winners may not get special preference.

This year’s champion, Ben Alexander Mirtchouk of Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey, is the competition’s first ever US winner. The 1st runner-up was Václav Volhejn, a student at ETH Zürich in Switzerland, and the 2nd runner-up was Ali Khosravi from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

These three students have received cash prizes of $10,000, $7,000 and $3,000, respectively, and have been offered the opportunity to intern directly with one of the company’s technology leaders.

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