Profile: Jiazhi Wu

Name: Jiazhi Wu

Title: Vice president of technology, China

Organization: TopCoder Inc.

Age: 26

Industry: IT/computer-related services/consulting

30-second biography: "I started competing on TopCoder in the summer of 2002, when it first opened its policy to the China community," says Wu, of the online programming competition. Wu went on to win TopCoder's international regional Collegiate Challenge and ultimately won 39 out of 45 programming matches within two years. In addition to TopCoder, he's also won domestic and international programming competitions, run an online programming competition service in China and interned at Google. In late 2004, Wu began working with TopCoder on application assembly and application architecture as well as projects for TopCoder clients, some of them Fortune 500 firms. Wu is now vice president of technology for TopCoder's newly opened office in Beijing.

Current project: "TopCoder's software process is component-based and competition-based, so component reuse helps us cut down the build time and cost, while competition and a peer review system help us to ensure the high standard of software quality. As the component catalog and production scale grow, we have to repeatedly refactor and improve the process to make sure our platform is still effective and productive. I am also working to customize the platform for the Chinese programmer community."

Technology you can't live without: "Search engines."

Most-critical technologies for IT this year: "A mature AJAX programming model or product. The technology itself isn't new and has been widely used, but the programming paradigm can make it a nightmare for developers to trace problems. There are a few framework-level products available, but they are far from mature at this point. In the long run, I think the breakthrough should happen in the methodology rather than with a particular technology. I believe component-based development could very well be on the right path, blended with an architecture-level approach."

The best thing about today's technology: "It's usually able to offer multiple options for us to do the same thing."

The worst thing about today's technology: "Sometimes it's overadvertised, and some people focus more on the technology rather than people's needs."

Technology can ... "Magnify human capability."

What sets you apart? "My competitive background drives me into the industry and the TopCoder software process. I witnessed the birth of the company's component competitions and have seen the methodology and the system evolve over the past few years."

Read an Extended Profile of Jiazhi Wu

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