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I've recently discovered a very interesting website. I am especialy impressed by its business model, which I find to be a good example of capitalism at work.

They organize programming (among other things) contests seeking solutions to (many times real-world) problems, and award sizeable cash prizes to the winners.

Clients needs optimum, elegant solutions to their problems and the website facilitates this by making participants compete with each other for prizes. The client, the facilitator and the programmer, all benefit from this exercise (although I'd say that the programmer's task is arguably more fun :)).

Just wanted to share this with other software professionals who might like to give it a try and have some fun stretching their mental muscles (TC's algorthm competitions are awesome).

For others - TopCoder Studio is for people with an artistic bent and I think they have stuff for non-software people to participate in as well.

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