It seems that the most popular way to find new talent these days is to run some sort of competition, Microsoft have the Imagine Cup, Google have the Google Code Jam, not to mention TopCoder. Now Facebook is joining the game (although technically they were already in it with Facebook Puzzles) with the Facebook Hacker Cup.
Despite some of the hilarious and misinformed comments on the competitions page, this competition isn’t actually about breaking into websites and making off with all their datas. No, it’s actually going to be a series of algorithmic challenges solvable in a number of different languages. (If you want a great overview of the word “hacker” and it’s different meanings there’s a great essay by Paul Graham on the subject: Link).
There are a number of rounds with the last 300 getting a t-shirt and the final 25 being flown to California for the final, with cash prizes for the top 3. I will be participating, so why don’t you? Registration starts on the 20th December and the first round is in January.