Romania’s brightest programmers compete

IT students and programmers present original ideas and projects at the InfoMatrix competition in Bucharest.

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA (MARCH 27, 2015) (REUTERS) – Romania is turning around its reputation as Europe’s hub for hackers by motivating the youngest and brightest programming minds to come up with innovative ideas at the InfoMatrix national programming competition held in Bucharest on Friday (March 27).

At the twelfth edition of the event more than 250 students presented 155 projects, ranging from sumo-wrestling robots to a full-sized humanoid in the making.

The idea of the competition is to bring the Romania’s best IT students together and promote intercultural dialogue and cooperation between students from different countries, as seen at last’s year international edition attended by 4000 students, mostly from abroad.

Romania’s first humanoid robot, Adam 1, was presented by student Constantin Voiniciuc, who developed the project from a robotic hand to a full-sized torso.

“Everything started with the robot’s hand, made from what I’ve found at home. Later on I discovered 3D printing technology and this helped me a lot to make pieces for the humanoid. We will try to complete it, bearing in mind that the most complicated bit is making the lower parts,” Voiniciuc said, adding that he expects the project to be ready by 2017.

An offer for future hackers turned security experts came from two students, Marius Horatau and Andrei Badiu, who started the e-learning platform “PWNTHECODE” teaching how to discover site vulnerabilities to improve security. The authors said that knowledge gained on their platform can be turned into a well-paid job.

“There are companies which pay those who discover vulnerabilities in their sites. I have worked with the companies Yahoo, Telecom, Nokia, eBay. From this work, I have supported myself alone for two years already,” the platform’s co-founder, Marius Horatau, said.

Seventeen-year-old Dragos Serban from Constanta came up with an algorithm analysing brain scan images to correctly diagnose and classify brain tumours – something he came up with after recovering from a brain tumour himself.

“Everything started when in 2013 I was diagnosed with a tumour myself. The biopsy took a lot of time, nobody knew what was going to happen with me. All this was a psychic shock for me. That’s how I came to this idea,” Serban said.

Serban’s project will be also presented in May at the biggest international IT competition, the I-SWEEP in Huston, Texas.

Another student, Ionut Budisteanu, could not get any manufacturer to produce small quantities of his computer main board designs, with orders starting at a staggering 5000 pieces – too much to invest from a student’s earnings. So Budisteanu constructed his own machine for small-scale production for 700 euros, which is a fraction of what it costs to set up a full-scale production line.