For those of you who are programmers, here's your chance to catch Google's attention with your skills. From the page announcing its new programming contest:
"Google is providing a selection of about 900,000 web pages in pre-parsed and raw format, together with a "ripper" program that provides a framework for processing the pre-parsed data. Your mission is to write a program (most likely by adding code to the ripper) that does something interesting with the data, in such a way that it would scale to a web-sized collection of documents. Part of your job is to convince us of why your program is interesting and why it will scale; other than that, you're free to implement whatever strikes your fancy."
The winner gets $10,000 in cash, a VIP visit to the Googleplex in Mountain View, California (undoubtedly featuring a gourmet lunch to die for), and the opportunity to potentially run your prize-winning code on Google's multi-billion document repository.
It's good to see Google doing this. In their initial paper explaining Google, founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin envisioned Google as a research laboratory for search technologists.
First Annual Google Programming Contest
Google Programming Contest Discussion Group
What kinds of things are people undertaking for this contest? Look over the shoulders of contestants as they discuss ideas and problems related to the programming contest with other participants in the Google Groups programming contest newsgroup.
The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine
Page and Brin's initial paper describing not only how the search engine works but their ideas for using Google as a virtual research laboratory for search technologists.
NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication's search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.