If Vladimir Putin glances out the windows of the Kremlin window at just the right moment, he has a chance of glimpsing the world’s best computer programmer in Google’s Moscow office across the river.
He is Petr Mitrichev, a 27-year-old Russian who works on Google’s search engine and earned his champion’s title in competitive programming, a sport where hackers write computer code in pursuit of cash prizes, travel opportunities, and a deep fulfillment unattainable anywhere else.
“You have a feeling of satisfaction in a contest when you solve a problem,” says Mitrichev, affable and a little pale in a Google T-shirt during an interview on the lawn of the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.
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