To all the coders out their, how many of you have heard the name HUMBLEFOOL. Here is the tale every Indian coder should be aware of. The biography that every Indian should know.
TopCoder Dedicates SRM625 to Humblefool
Harsha Suryanarayana or Lord Harsha was one of the highest rated coder from India. An alumnus of Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad. He was popularly known by his handle HUMBLEFOOL in the coding community. Lokesh Khandelwal quotes “Contrary to the second part of his TC handle (humblefool), the first part is completely correct. Lord is the most humble person I have ever met. With the knowledge and experience that he had, he could have easily commanded us all. But instead, he was always open to us, and on many instances came for our opinions and suggestions. You would never know that you were sitting next to a person of his stature”.
Talking about the second part “FOOL” , he was not at all a Fool and this can be seen through his profile on TopCoder- Humblefool’s Topcoder profile. He became Red Coder in the year 2007, two years after joining TopCoder(for those who don’t know RedCoder is the highest rating that any coder can achieve) and he continued to dominate the coding competitions till his last Single Round Match(SRM) on TopCoder. Not only this but he was also the World Finalist of TopCoder Open(TCO) twice, ACM-ICPC once and Google Code Jam(GCJ) once. His strongest area was Dynamic Programming(Dynamic Programming is the toughest thing to master in programming, many competitive coders don’t even dare to work on Dynamic programming). This cannot be achieved by a “FOOL”.
One of his friend Lokendra Kaushik writes on Quora “HE entered in 86 component design competitions and won 45 of them competing with the best on Topcoder. He was also featured as designer of quarter. He was the best programmer in India, I guess, would not be an overstatement.”
Sitting on the left is Humblefool
Now how many of us can do this ?
He left Microsoft in college just to train his college team for ACM-ICPC. Such a passion to share knowledge. Still difficult to find.
Not only studies but he was awesome in every field “Always a winner in stratego. Banged on karaoke, he hit the best score 98 twice (even without any practice). He single handedly won Counter Strike against two of us. (FYI, we are not noob at CS.) He was a complete all-rounder” quotes Lokesh Khandelwal, one of his friend.
One of his junior Animesh Nayan quotes, “he let go of a lot of money. He made money on TopCoder in Software Design only for less than a year. It was a lot of money for one financial year and he was advised by his Tax adviser or accountant a number of ways to save taxes. He did not do any of it. In fact, Harsha did not do Software Design after 2008. I think in next 6 years, he never made a lot of money.”
He always did things with passion “he could read at 100+ pages per hour. He finished Economics by Samuelson during a train journey from Bangalore to Allahabad. He used very refined vocabulary, could speak French and pronounce the most difficult foreign-language words with consummate ease.”
In his ICSE board exams, he scored 100/100 in not one but three subjects.
Even his teachers say
“Harsha was no doubt one of my best students and I feel proud of him because in my 23 years of teaching career of Computer Science in ICSE Schools and heading schools across the country he is the only one who had scored cent percent in Board Exams. Probably no one ever could get close to him in scoring. I also loved him for a simple reason that he was good at dramatics and he could imitate my style of teaching, standing postures and my way of explaining or handling the class. He was a genius no matter who he was talking to or who was around him, he had the ability to converse on every level and engage with them. He had a huge influence to his batch mates when he walked into the class for the first time in Grade VIII.”
“In my 22 years of teaching I have never seen a student like him”
We lost the coding legend on 15th, June 2014.
What makes me write about him ?
First time when I heard about him from my college senior I searched about him but all the information I got was completely scattered, so I decided to dedicate an article on him which gives inspiration to next set of coders from India. So, here is a list of things that every person should learn from him because apart from being a great coder he was a great human being too.
- He founded three startups and funded many, it was because of people like him that entrepreneurial ecosystem gained momentum in India.
- He would leave the answer sheet blank if he doesn’t know the answer, and would complete the exam in half the time.
- Though, he was a hacker but he never ever downloaded a movie from torrent.
- He died in an car accident but ironically he never honked and always let the pedestrians pass first. He used to run and cross the road even in absence of any traffic because it theoretically “minimized the probability” of our meeting an accident by a fast moving vehicle.
- One of the conversation he had tells us about his passion to share knowledge
Animesh: “If we can make some money, we can help more people,” Harsha: “May be, we can enable 1000 people to help others.”
And the list goes on…..
His last birthday picture shared by Lokesh Khandelwal on Quora.
On the extreme right is Humblefool
“He has chosen to go to heaven because God needed a genius programmer there.”
“Carry on his mission”
“He was a “karma-yogi.” He was a player who used to play with intensity without desire of winning and fear of losing.”