Programmer of the Month for January ’10 : Balakrishnan Varadarajan

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Here’s our CodeChef Programmer of the month for January 2010. He came in the top 20 in the June Challenge, and has ranked in the top 5 in six CodeChef challenges since then. Lets find out more about our first Programmer of the Month in the new year, Balakrishnan V.


Name : Balakrishnan V

Age : 25

Institute : Johns Hopkins University

User ID : balakrishnan_v

Twitter ID : balakrishnan_v

How/When did you start programming?

I hardly programmed until I joined college(undergraduate). Even in IIT, I had my degree in Electrical Engineering. So I was learning signal processing, information theory etc. instead of programming. But, these did give me a lot of Math background which helped me improve my problem solving skills. However, I used to solve (non-programming) puzzles in my free time. I started real programming after I got introduced to some of these online contests like ProjectEuler , (now) codechef and topcoder.

What do you do when you are not programming?

I normally spend a lot of time browsing internet, trying to learn some new concept(either by looking at other’s code/reading a wikipedia article).

What do you like most about CodeChef?

The quality of the problems are very good. So I enjoy doing them. I especially like the problems which involve concepts that are new to me.  The tie-breakers are  very nice as they are more research oriented and involve creative thinking.

How many hours a day do you program?

On an average, I program for about 5-6 hours.

Which is your favorite book?

I do not read a lot of books. In fact, I have a hard time reading a book or watching a movie(since they require a lot of patience).  However I do read a lot on the internet. I learn mostly from attending classes, browsing the internet (wikipedia, Mathworld, papers), solving problems, discussing with people, asking questions.etc.

If you could eat dinner with any famous person (past or present), who would it be and what dish would you have?

That is a hard question. There are lots of interesting people around the world.

What are your plans for the future?

I will probably go for an industry job once I graduate. I also have interest in academia. But the chances are low that I will apply for a faculty position at the moment. In any case, my ultimate goal is to make some  contribution to science.

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