One of the members of TECHx is none other than Ithaca’s recently-elected 2nd ward alderperson, Ducson Nguyen. Nguyen is a software engineer at GrammaTech.
Nguyen explained a bit more about the event and how the team prepared for it.
“We definitely split duties based on everyone’s research background, talent, or whatever the team’s need. Some, like me, primarily worked on infrastructure, others focused on defense, while others honed our offense. But many of us also crossed over to do whatever was needed,” Nguyen explained. “I think we’re all motivated to solve difficult problems and be involved in cutting edge work, so when you hear us say the bragging rights were more important than the money, that’s not just lip service.”
Some might find the idea of turning a bunch of computers crunch code into a spectator sport an insane notion, but Nguyen says that the event organizers made an effort to make the event exciting and accessible.
“The live event was very exciting and DARPA gets a lot of credit for making a highly technical, very nerdy competition accessible to people outside our field and dramatic to everyone,” Nguyen said. “They gave us very infrequent updates on scores, which was frustrating since we were desperate to know how we were doing, but I can’t deny it really added to the drama.”