Facebook has announced it will hold its first annual multi-round programming competition called Hacker Cup. Entrants will have their answers to “algorithmic-based problem statements” scored on accuracy and speed. 25 finalists will be flown to Facebook headquarters to compete for a $5,000 grand prize and the Hacker Cup trophy. Facebook has been using its Hackathons to engage the development community, promote its status as a technology company, and recruit top talent.
The Hacker Cup’s cash prizes are relatively small compared to the $2 billion in revenue some speculate Facebook will bring in during 2010. However, winners could receive something of greater value — a job or internship at Facebook. The Sharabash brothers who won Facebook’s Camp Hackathon for university students were offered a summer internship for their ambitious augmented reality drawing application. Even if Facebook doesn’t offer any unofficial prizes, the notoriety gained could position finalists for recruitment by other technology companies.