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Interview with winner Ondřej Urban

Ondřej Urban - winner of the Mirage Cup
On Wednesday, 20 June, Miráž Cup was announced. Pavel Bory, the guarantor of the competition, who not only declared the winner, but first of all prepared the assignments for the students, was very satisfied with the excellent performances of the contestants, especially those in the first places. The winners outside of tangible prizes received a work contract offer at Unicorn from David Kimr. Marek Beránek, the director of Unicorn College, evaluated the event positively and appreciates the participation of all contestants very much. And how does Ondřej Urban, the winner of the first year, see and evaluate the Miráž Cup?
Ondra, what did the Miráž Cup give to you?
What did it give to me? Above all, I enjoyed it! It was awesome. At home, one can't get to programming such things because there is other work to do. I had a lot of fun doing it. The time ran away so fast. And I think it showed me how to solve some tasks which I might be thinking over much longer if I had to solve them at home where there was no competition. But there you were under the pressure because you were competing and did your best.
So, you partially answered how you enjoyed the Miráž Cup. Is there anything special you would point out? For example, in terms of organization or what did you learn there?
When programming, one learns continuously. I'd rather say when I did the tasks I learned a lot of things. I had never done such tasks before and now if I solved such tasks again, I would have already some foundations in my head stored. In general, the whole event was well organized, there was super catering. Seriously, it's school action and no business; we aren't the best programmers in the world, we are boys from school and it's terribly nice that the school arranges such an event and that there is a person like Pavel Bory, who takes the time and work to prepare all those tasks.
How would you evaluate the difficulty of the event?
To tell the truth, I did the last task in the second round just because I copied it from the internet, but that was permitted. So to get the algorithm on the internet and bend it in such a way that I find the solution of the task was allowed; I would have never in my life found the solution just by myself. This is a de facto programmer's procedure; we're trying to recycle things that somebody invented before and not to re-invent them from scratch. In my opinion, the difficulty was well set in the sense that tasks required a lot of reflection or even a fresh approach, especially for big data tasks. But the tasks were not insoluble in the sense that if one had had no specific knowledge, he wouldn't have had the chance to solve it.
Would you say you surprised yourself?
Yes, very much. I didn't go there to win it, not by any chance. I just went there to try some programming stuff and thought it would be a fine afternoon because I enjoy programming. I expected rather the boys who have already some programming experience to win. I think I was lucky as the tasks suited me. It could have happened that I wouldn’t have thought of some solutions just because they wouldn’t have crossed my mind at that moment. But they all did.
Anything else you would like to add?
I'd love to see more people coming next time because it's just a nice event. It isn't stressful, it isn't psychologically challenging; people just come, they're going to program things; and in fact they all got some prizes. I personally can see only the sunny side :)

How would you evaluate the difficulty of the event?
To tell the truth, I did the last task in the second round just because I copied it from the internet, but that was permitted. So to get the algorithm on the internet and bend it in such a way that I find the solution of the task was allowed; I would have never in my life found the solution just by myself. This is a de facto programmer's procedure; we're trying to recycle things that somebody invented before and not to re-invent them from scratch. In my opinion, the difficulty was well set in the sense that tasks required a lot of reflection or even a fresh approach, especially for big data tasks. But the tasks were not insoluble in the sense that if one had had no specific knowledge, he wouldn't have had the chance to solve it.
Would you say you surprised yourself?
Yes, very much. I didn't go there to win it, not by any chance. I just went there to try some programming stuff and thought it would be a fine afternoon because I enjoy programming. I expected rather the boys who have already some programming experience to win. I think I was lucky as the tasks suited me. It could have happened that I wouldn’t have thought of some solutions just because they wouldn’t have crossed my mind at that moment. But they all did.
Anything else you would like to add?
I'd love to see more people coming next time because it's just a nice event. It isn't stressful, it isn't psychologically challenging; people just come, they're going to program things; and in fact they all got some prizes. I personally can see only the sunny side :)