Hall of Fame of ICPC World Champions: Tomasz Kulczyński

Tomasz Kulczyński won the IOI 2007 in Zagreb and was the leader of the University of Warsaw team, which took 2nd place in ICPC 2012 in Warsaw. The UW is the only university in the world to continuously advance to the ICPC finals from its first start in the qualifying rounds in 1994, thanks to professors Jan Madey and Krzysztof Diks

Tomasz Kulczyński started to be successful in mathematical competitions as early as primary school, including Kangurek, having an individual course of study from the 6th level, and becoming a scholarship holder of the National Children’s Fund (KFnrD). Thanks to this, he got to the best junior high school in Bydgoszcz, where he comes from, where he quickly learned to program, first in Pascal and then in C ++. All kinds of programming competitions were his passion, so he competed wherever he could. Successes came quickly, and there were many of them, so it would be difficult to list them all here. In junior high school, he was in the OI and OM finals. In high school, he was in IOI twice and victory in 2007 in Zagreb (as the second Pole in history, next to Filip Wolski, who won the IOI 2006 in Mexico). He won two medals at the IMO as well: silver and bronze.

Second place of UW in ICPC 2012 in Warsaw. First from the left – Tomasz Kulczyński, the leader of the team

He decided to study at the UW, attended by all those who dreamed of laurels not only in ICPC, but also in other programming competitions, such as TopCoder. Of course, he knew professors Madey and Diks from OI and KFnrD workshops, but he did not expect they had already developed such an effective talent development system at the university. The weekly training sessions in the tournament regime played an important role in this, for which former ICPC participants, who were employees and doctoral students, were involved, and above all, older students. As many students were interested in such training, reaching the ICPC finals was difficult. In 2008, the Tomek Kulczyński lost the CERC regional qualifiers to no other, but Marek Cygan’s team, which had won the ICPC world championship a year earlier. A year later, they took fifth place in CERC, and only in 2010 did they manage to win it, but in the finals, they took only 13th place. The total success came in 2012 during the ICPC finals in Warsaw, when they took 2nd place, solving nine problems out of 12 and giving way to the winning team from St. Petersburg only by the time difference.

Of course, throughout his studies, Tomasz Kulczyński also participated in competitions, including TopCoder and Google Code Jam (GCJ), which were quite similar to each other, and whose formula – 3 tasks to be solved in just 1.25-1.5 hours – answered him very much. The tasks here were more straightforward, and the solutions were shorter enough to develop a good idea quickly. He was promoted to the finals several times, taking places in the top ten. To this day, he participates in various competitions, but only for fun because he does not prepare for them in any unique way. It isn’t easy, of course, to count on success. From time to time, he also helps prepare tasks for GCJ as an employee of Google Polska (he has been working in this company since graduation).

Tomasz Kulczyński makes no secret that since his successes in programming competitions, he has constantly been receiving job offers from various companies. Still, he is delighted with the work for Google Poland and does not intend to give it up. However, it was not his first job. In 2011, prof. Madey recommended him and several of his colleagues from the University of Warsaw to Tomasz Kułakowski, with whom they founded the startup CodiLime. Although it grew into quite a large company over time, Tomasz Kulczyński only worked there for a year because it quickly turned out that he was not attracted to business aspects. And when in the meantime, he got a job offer in the R&D department of the newly established Polish branch of Google, he did not hesitate for a long time. Initially, he worked as a Software Engineer and is now a Senior Software Engineer, dealing with broadly understood cloud solutions for business. Still, he cannot say anything more about the details.

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