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Topcoder, Inc.
Subsidiary of Appirio
Industry Information Technology Staffing
Outsourcing services
Founded April, 2001
Founder Jack Hughes
Headquarters San Francisco, CA, USA

Topcoder is a company that administers contests in computer programming.[1] Topcoder hosts fortnightly online competitive programming competitions—known as SRMs or "single round matches"—as well as weekly competitions in graphic design and development. The work in design and development produces useful software which is licensed for profit by Topcoder.

Company history[edit]

Topcoder was founded in 2001 by Jack Hughes.[2][3]

In September 2013, Topcoder was acquired by Appirio.[4]

Business model[edit]

Topcoder sells software licenses to use the growing body of components that have been developed in competition and also acts as an outsourcing center, allowing companies to farm out custom design and development tasks to Topcoder competitors. Competitors involved in the creation of these components are paid royalties based on these sales.

The software resulting from algorithm competitions—and the less-frequent marathon matches—is not usually directly useful, but sponsor companies sometimes provide money to pay the victors. Statistics (including an overall "rating" for each developer) are tracked over time for competitors in each category.[citation needed]

Types of competitions[edit]

  • Algorithms (competition length about two hours): Competitors are given a set (usually three) of algorithmic problems and have 75 minutes to correctly solve as many as they can. Topcoder has been hosting algorithm competitions since 2001.[citation needed]
  • Software Design (competition length one week): Topcoder hosts graphic design and development competitions in which coders can compete to create components and applications that are either generally useful, or that third parties have contracted for. Competitors are given a set of user requirements and attempt to convert them into a usable software design specification. Their efforts are judged on a variety of "real-world" criteria on how correct and practical their design is.[citation needed]
  • Development (competition length one week): Competitors are given a set of design specification and attempt to write software components that match this specification. These components are judged on their functionality and coding style.[citation needed]
  • Marathon Matches (competition length one or two weeks): Contestants are given a particularly difficult algorithmic problem. The scoring is done by computer based on criteria specifically suited to the problem.[citation needed]
  • Studio (graphic design): Contestants are asked to show off their creative skills in a competitive environment.[citation needed]
  • Architecture Assembly Topcoder has created Assembly Competitions as an extension of Component Design and Development Competitions. Through these competitions, competitors create high quality applications using completed components and Topcoder's established competitive method.[citation needed]
  • Testing[citation needed]
  • Bug Races Project teams, clients and members are able to log bugs they find in software developed and supported by Topcoder. Topcoder will communicate these bugs to the member community. Bugs that are open to the community will be posted on the Active Bug Races page.[citation needed]


Topcoder initially awarded money every week to coders who did well in the weekly competitions, or Single Round Matches (SRMs). For a while, prize money was only awarded twice a year to winners and finalists of the Topcoder Collegiate Challenge (TCCC, which is in the spring) and the Topcoder Open (formerly the Invitational, which is in the fall). As of June 2005, some weekly SRMs began to once again award prize money, being sponsored by outside companies such as Google and Yahoo!. However, since August 2008 Topcoder returned to giving money prizes only to winners and finalists of other tournaments.[citation needed]


As of May 3, 2016 Topcoder has more than 997,507 registered members.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ White, Abigail. "At Topcoder, everyday is a hackathon, and coders can make moolah". Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  2. ^ DIamandis, Peter. "TopCoder’s 5 Steps to Building a Global Workforce Community". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  3. ^ "Company Overview of TopCoder, Inc.". Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  4. ^ TechCrunch report "Appirio buys topcoder". Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  5. ^ "Community Overview". Retrieved 3 May 2016. 

External links[edit]