Google Code Jam 2014 Round 3 was conducted last weekend (Jun 14) and the top 25 scorers will be going to LA to duke it out at the world finals along with the GCJ 2013 champion from Belarus.
Looking at the statistics of past Code Jams (previous years can be selected at the bottom of the page), there have been many finalists from Russia, Eastern Europe, China, Japan, America, etc., but no one from Korea (North or South) has ever made it to the onsite Final Round.
GCJ 2014 is thus a milestone of sorts for Korea, as Kim Chan-min kcm1700 placed 18th in the world in Round 3. Like most of his fellow qualifiers to the final round, he used C++ in his solutions. One of the reasons for the popularity of C++ in algorithmic coding competitions is that ACM-ICPC, which is the collegiate training arena for competitive coders, only accepts solutions in one of three languages -- C, C++, or Java -- and the International Olympiad in Informatics for high schoolers only accepts solutions in C, C++ or Pascal. This trend is also evident among the top competitors at elite algorithmic programming challenge sites like CodeForces and TopCoder.
So just who is kcm1700? He is a student at Korea's most prestigious college, Seoul National University and is a CodeForces grandmaster. According to his Twitter blurb, he participated in IOI 2008 and made it to the ACM-ICPC World Finals in 2010.
This new generation of programmers has a chance to change Korea's software development culture, which lags 15~20 years behind that of Japan and America. I won't go into the problems of Korea's software industry in this post, but I believe that the culture must change before Korea has even a remote chance of becoming a good environment for hackers (some good articles in Korean about the myriad problems faced by local SE's: 1 2 3).
Kudos to kcm1700 for making it to the GCJ 2014 World Finals and Good Luck!
kcm1700 scored 7th in the finals. A very respectable showing!