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Go for the gold

And win a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh, an amount that keeps increasing if it remains unclaimed.

education Updated: Jul 16, 2013 13:20 IST
Vandana Ramnani

Where training students for technology-related contests, Go for Gold was launched in 2010 by Directi. It is an extension of CodeChef and aims at helping Indian students win the gold at the ICPC, with a ­Rs. 5 lakh cash prize - an amount that keeps increasing till the time it stays unclaimed.


In 2011 no team improved its rank. In 2012, both IIT Delhi and IIIT Hyderabad secured 18th rank at ICPC. The prize money of Rs. 8 lakh was shared between them. As much as 33% of the amount went to the institute for betterment of its IT infrastructure

In 2013, the prize money has again been reset at Rs. 5 lakh and lies unclaimed.

Three institutes in India conduct the regionals. Around 500 teams participated last year at IIT Kharagpur, IIT Kanpur and Amritapuri from which the five finalists for ICPC St Petersburg were selected. About Rs. 3 lakh are given to each of these institutes for the regionals as part of the Go for Gold initiative.

“When we launched the initiative, we hoped that the performance of those who participated in the ICPC would improve. During our interactions we found that many students who joined IIT were not aware of the ICPC in school. They came to know of the event only in their first year. This meant that they could start practicing for it only in the fist year. China and Russian teams do well because they start algorithm and programming practice in class 7, the emphasis is at the school level. Indian students get only about two to three years to practice,” explains Anup Kalbalia, senior project lead, Directi.

The company, therefore, recently launched CodeChef for schools. This caters to classes 8, 9 and 10. This contest is held on the last Sunday of every month and is called Lunch Time but only a few have enrolled. This is due to problems of access which means that students do not have many computer teachers to depend on, schools do not have programming as part of their curriculum and awareness of the online platform is lacking too.

Just as ACPC is a team event and is open to college students, the International Olympiad for Informatics conducted by the UN every year is an individual event open to school students. Every country has to select four students to the event. The Indian Association of Research in Computer Science is responsible for selecting these four students. This year the event was held last week in Australia and Indian students got four bronze medals. Under the CodeChef initiative for schools, any Indian student who wins a gold at the Olympiad gets Rs. 5 lakh in cash out of which 33% goes to the school.