What do you do if you've got a head full of good ideas, and nothing interesting to do with them? You might need a good dose of competitive programming. During a programming competition you contort your brain, trying desperately to figure out that tiny trick that will let your program run a thousand times faster, or searching for the elusive mathematical fact that will lead you to the solution. Then you tell your computer what to do, and watch it solve that torturous problem faster than you can blink. If you're like me, you eagerly participate in every coding competition that comes along.

Since 2003, we have supported the fun and intensity of competitive programming around the world by offering code jams powered by TopCoder. Contests like the ACM ICPC, the TopCoder Open and our TopCoder-powered code jams have formed a great community of contests and contestants; now we're excited to join that community in our own right, by producing a Google Code Jam of our own! There aren't too many details to share yet, but we have some big plans: there are quite a few super-competitive programmers here, and we've put them to work preparing challenges for you.

So start brushing up with a couple of practice problems -- and it's well worth checking out some old problems from the ACM ICPC and TopCoder too. We're also excited to hear what you think would make for a great Google-run programming contest, so send us your feedback -- and get ready for a challenge.