Eseuri

Table of Contents

DONE Personal Statement

What took me into programming? In fifth grade I found, while using a
high school friend's program, that although it solved various maths
problems it sometimes returned incorrect answers. I therefore decided
to learn programming for myself, and a whole new world of
possibilities opened up. Like writing, programming allows us to
express our ideas freely and clearly. We too start with just a blank
screen and a general idea of what we are aiming to accomplish. It is
an art form, enabling us to create a connection between the idea and
the final result. I enjoy the way it allows me to build tools that
make people more effective.

This first contribution to someone else's program brought me into the
Free Software community. Proprietary software seems too often built to
serve the interests of its programmers, disregarding those of its
users. It is therefore important to develop free software, which
respects users' freedom and privacy. It is also much more flexible, as
anyone can modify it to suit their needs. Features can be added faster
and bugs found more quickly. There is no vendor lock-in: if the
developer bails out, anybody can replace them. I have written several
free programs and libraries, contributed to the Debian GNU/Linux free
operating system, and I am the technical director of a Romanian
foundation that promotes free software. Through such projects I have
learned how to work effectively in large teams and how to communicate
properly, as well as developing my software writing skills.

Learning programming has also taught me the importance of scripting in
everyday computer usage. From simple one-line text manipulators to
more involved scripts that have grown into libraries and software
packages, programming has completely changed the way I use a computer.

Since fifth grade, I have participated in many international contests
and Olympiads in algorithmics and programming, winning a total of six
medals so far. Contests have helped me increase my programming
knowledge and find out more about different cultures. They have shown
me some of my weak points and strengthened my mental response to
experiences of failure. The challenge to solve specific tasks in a
short time frame has prepared me for the everyday life of a
programmer.

In my reading I have been stimulated by "The Code Book" (covering the
history of cryptography from the Caesar cipher to RSA) and by "The New
Turing Omnibus", which explores many useful concepts and algorithms.
More mathematically, I read "Numbers and Proofs", which describes the
essential need for proofs in mathematics and how to develop skills in
demonstrating them in a way schools too often neglect. The
biographical sketches of famous mathematicians showed me the human
beings behind those great scientists.

Besides computer science, I have had an interest in mathematics since
I was very young, participating in my first contest in 2nd grade and
winning first place at regional level. In 5th grade I won first prize
in the National Mathematics Olympiad, and went on to win silver or
gold medals in grades 6-8. Finding that only programming would allow
me to create and build complex systems, I have focused more on
computer science in high school. Studying mathematics at a high level
for seven years has however developed my logical thinking. It has
taught me how to approach a problem and how to prove a statement.
Furthermore, algorithm analysis almost always requires mathematics.
These skills have helped me solve many programming problems.

The British education system has a well-deserved reputation for
combining a solid base of course content with a great variety of IT
resources which make use of the newest technologies, and I believe
that by following this course I will develop my abilities to the
highest levels. I want to continue to build automations that improve
the lives of people all around the world.

Common App [2/2]

DONE Pescuit (250-650)

Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?

I woke up this morning suddenly, before my alarm clock rang. I didn't
feel the need to linger in bed floating in the sweet haze between
sleep and reality. I felt that whatever was to follow was going to be
different from my regular daily schedule.

Less than a week has passed since I came back to my home town after a
busy period. The school year has just ended. In addition, during the
past semester I volunteered to help in a health center for patients
with terminal illnesses. I don’t know how I found the strength to be
there for so long, to talk to them, walk with them in the park and try
to give them a bit of hope although I knew that hope did not exist.
This experience has drained me emotionally. And yes, when the semester
ended, I was ready for vacation.

The town I live in is nested in a picturesque hilly area with gentle
climate, it is quiet, without the usual urban stress. A large river
crosses the town from north to south and, as it leaves town, it
approaches a hydroelectric plant. There, the river splits in two
streams forming an island. As there are no roads crossing the river,
few people hazard to walk there. Today I’m going to spend a good part
of the day on the island. And I’m going to take my fishing rods with
me.

Reality on the island seems simple. You talk to the nature and nature
talks back to you. You just wait to receive the gift of simple things.

The cuckoo's song, cricket's chirps and obsessive cry of the birds
whose territory I've trespassed keep the senses engaged.

A faint barking is heard coming from the birch forest. These are my
friends. Their happiness knows no bounds as they smell I brought them
food. The meeting is emotional: they jump, crawl through the grass and
touch me with their paws. A bit of frolicking and they eat. After
that, we go fishing together.

Fishing brings me much satisfaction and content. It is the peace of
mind that eventually settles in. The noise of life gradually fades.
Then I concentrate on the simple actions of the moment. Is this knot
strong enough? Is the net in the right place? As attention shifts,
small things become big. It does not seem anymore that fishing is easy
or just a way to pass ones time. Fishing is a serious activity. I’m
thinking of all the books I read about the various types of fishes,
their habitat and behavior. How strange are we! I come here to enjoy
the nature and concentrate on killing fish. No, I’m not killing them;
I free all of them as they come to my net. At some point I feel
satisfaction seeing how they hurry back into the deep waters. Did you,
fish, learn anything out of this? Did I learn anything? I feel the
waves of thoughts that roll freely over me like water. And I get
closer to my subconscious being, my alter ego I try to understand and
befriend.

Time really flies. The day is almost over. The moon starts to rise,
and darkness surrounds the clusters of trees, descending to the reed
on the river bank. The meadows lose their color, turning gray. When
everything in the distance is unclear and a mysterious folk seems to
have enlivened the hills and valleys, the day is ending.

Like any dream, this one has an ending. Soon I will wake up again to
the realities of the town shredded by suffering and interests.

DONE Cronologie

Flipping through my photo album, I see the faces and events from long
ago starting with the 5-6 year-old child at his grandparents' house, a
place where I spent most of my life before school and during school
breaks.

Skimming the photos my memories invade me and I see my grandparents'
house like an oasis with the path lined with trees and a flower
garden, the centerpiece of the yard. A row of peaches lined the way to
our neighbors’ house, and in their shadow my grandparents had
installed a table with two benches, the place where I usually had
dinner.

I made many friends here, and we invented lots of games. We walked
bare feet in the streets of the village, always covered with a thick
layer of dust, a fluffy powder in which the feet sank and the soles
enjoyed its warm softness. Only wheels of a carts disturbed it.

The liberty I enjoyed there was about to end forever as worries and
concerns appeared.

Time passed, and I was now in grade school. No liberty like in the
countryside, but I still found things to enjoy. I was an unusual
child, capable to read before school, so I was no longer seen as some
random boy coming from the countryside. My teacher is the one who
inspired me with the spirit of competition. In the second grade she
took us to a regional math contest where I got the first place.

My love for mathematics grew. I was more restricted than in the
countryside, but my activities were more varied.

In this period a good family friend told me about a sport I would
definitely like, with physical and mental implications. This is how I
got to aikido. I learned how to defend myself and mentally dominate my
opponent, what physical and psychological resistance were. I was
trained in everything from simple to more complicated attacks. More
time passed, and I got to middle school. Now, besides my love for
mathematics I also wanted to learn the language of the computer.

My math teacher noticed my capacity of understanding and competitive
spirit that defines me. The will to obtain the best results determined
me not only to follow the solid courses of my teacher, but also to
reserve some time for self-preparation. The results I obtained during
middle school helped me distinguish as a small celebrity in our
community, so flattering for a child. They also got me into an elite
high school, the International Computer High School Bucharest.

I already knew what to expect, I was going to compete with highly
trained students. I was now part of a group where everyone was
fighting to prove their worth.

In the ninth grade I participated in a math camp in Santa Cruz, CA as
a teacher assistant, but starting with next year I began to get some
very good results in informatics, too. I qualified into the national
team, winning a gold medal at the International Olympiad "Tuymaada".
In the 11th grade, at my colleagues’ request, I taught a beginner
programming course in my high school.

I also started several programming projects. Two of the most important
are FonBot, an Android application for remote controlling a device
from the internet or via text messages and Gruntmaster 6000, an online
judge (website for running programming contests), which was used for
the MindCoding National Contest in 2014. I participated with some of
my projects in several project olympiads, winning a total of 4 medals.
The making of these projects has showed me a glimpse of what
programming actually means and taught me about deadlines, time and
project management, interacting with users, writing documentation and
other skills useful for a programmer. Finally, convinceing me that
programming is the path to the future.

I am now looking towards a time of more challenges and achievements,
knowledge and work, projects and recognition.

MIT [5/5]

DONE Activitate de placere (<100)

We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do for the pleasure of it

My main activity which I really enjoy is programming. I use computers
daily for various tasks. By automating common tasks, I can now work
more efficiently and waste less time. Scripting has significantly
helped me use them faster and more easily.

Besides scripting, I have also contributed to some free software
projects, and I have written several libraries and programs of my own,
which I'm constantly improving and maintaining.

DONE Ce major vrei? (<100)

Although you may not yet know what you want to major in, which department or program at MIT appeals to you and why?

As my father is an electrical engineer, pursuing a similar major
seemed natural to me. I watched him work, fascinated by the insides of
electronic appliances, trying to understand what he was doing.

A dismantled computer made me curious about computers. So I learnt how
to program them and, as they say, the rest is history. I participated
to and won medals at many international olympiads and programming
contests, and developed several large programs and libraries.

Given these interests and the growth opportunities that the MIT
environment offers to the students, I feel that joining your
University is the best choice for me.

DONE Personalitate (200-250)

What attribute of your personality are you most proud of, and how has it impacted your life so far? This could be your creativity, effective leadership, sense of humor, integrity, or anything else you'd like to tell us about.

Perseverance — the ability to continue in a course of action no matter
the circumstances — is what made me what I am today.

When I was young, I was curious about anything around me. I wanted to
learn and understand the world. This was obviously impossible. One
subject that stood out was mathematics. I started to learn math, and
kept going even when it became more difficult. Without my
perseverance, I would have stopped and my educational career might
have ended without even beginning properly in the first place.

Then, in the fifth grade, I decided I wanted to learn how to program
computers (as I was already using them frequently by then). My parents
took me to a private computer science class with a high school
teacher, who taught me the basics of programming in Pascal. In the
seventh grade, I felt that programming was becoming boring, but
instead of stopping, like an ordinary person would do, I decided to
continue and attempt to learn new programming languages and
techniques. This way perseverance made me become the programmer I am
today.

Given the essential effects that perseverance has had on me, I can
safely say that it must be the most important trait of my personality.

DONE Your world (200-250)

Describe the world you come from; for example, your family, clubs, school, community, city, or town. How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations?

My family had a strong influence on my evolution to date. In an
indirect way, my passion for computer science emerges from the
interaction with my grandfather. He worked as a civil engineer his
entire life. When I was a small kid - he was already retired at the
time - he told me about his regular activities during his active
years. He mentioned how much easier his work became when the first
computers were brought in. From concept to execution, everything
seemed to go smoother simply due to this new magic tool.

My father is an electrical engineer. I was probably 5 when I saw a
dismantled computer on his desk. I had the curiosity to inquire about
it as it was unlike the other pieces of equipment I have seen before
in his office. With his help I gradually understood more about what
computers do. I was fascinated about this toy. To my amazement, I
received one as a gift when I was 6. The world has changed for me
starting at that point. I was lucky to have a family friend, a
computer science teacher, who was willing to teach me everything about
computers, from elementary concepts to advanced algorithms and
programming. This has put me on the track I have followed until now.

School contests, national and international contests and Olympiads
followed. The path led to this application to the top computer science
department in the World.

DONE Challenge (200-250)

Tell us about the most significant challenge you've faced or something important that didn't go according to plan. How did you manage the situation?

I was 14 years old when I had to face a challenge that found me
unprepared even though I knew it was coming.

I spent my first 14 years with my family, but at that point I had to
leave home and move hundreds of kilometers away, to the capital city,
to study at a prestigious high school.

Another school, another set of rules, other colleagues and the
challenge of living alone. I was dazzled, but fully aware that I have
to win. I knew by then that every man is defined by his way of
handling difficult situations. I remembered that my father, who is a
small entrepreneur and is good at finding viable solutions in most
situations, told me that the talent of handling any circumstances is
called wisdom.

The strong motivation to study at a great high school, in a much more
exciting environment than in my home town, gave me the power to
overcome the barriers. I adapted to life in a dorm, to the schedule of
my roommates, I found new friends with interests and ways of thinking
similar to mine. Gradually, the enjoyment returned and I found new
satisfactions in collaborations with my new colleagues on projects.
The bright light of life won over the shadows one more time.

Brown [7/7]

DONE De ce computer science? (primele 3 <500 impreuna)

Many applicants to college are unsure about eventual majors. What factors led you to your interest? What experiences beyond school work have broadened your interest? (Feel free to elaborate on one of your previous responses.)

The most important experiences I've had in the field of computer
science were the projects I've started or contributed to.

One of the most interesting is MindCoding, a national contest created
by me and one of my friends. Its aim was to persuade people to take up
programming and develop the minds of those who already did, helping
them get a healthy mind they can use in the future. The contest was a
success, with over 150 participants in four qualification rounds. My
part in the contest was to build and maintain the online judge, and
this experience showed me how a large project works and how to deal
with users and their feature requests.

DONE Element interesant al materiei (primele 3 <500 impreuna)

What concept in your anticipated major were you most proud of mastering?

Web scraping is the process of interacting programmatically with a
website by sending requests, parsing responses, and acting on them.
Since the web is a very large (and still increasing) collection of
both data and services, it is important to be able automatically to
collect, inspect, and act upon the immense amount of information thus
available.

As Larry Wall said in "Programming Perl", one of the three great
virtues of a programmer is Laziness, which he defines as "The quality
that makes you go to great effort to reduce overall energy
expenditure. It makes you write labor-saving programs that other
people will find useful, and document what you wrote to avoid
answering questions about it". Web scraping is an example of such
programming laziness.

Desiring a way to access a certain website more easily, I decided to
put my programming skills to good use, and wrote my first web scraper.
After using it for a while, I noticed the significant increase in my
productivity, a testimony to the usefulness of web scraping and
programming laziness in general. Since then, I've automated several
websites, increasing my productivity even further.

Automation is, however, not limited to websites. Many people
(especially programmers) use computers daily for various tasks, and
automating them would be very helpful. As an example, most computer
programs are plagued by issues, therefore tools that analyse programs
for possible bugs (such as lint, PMD, perlcritic) or that run test
suites on a variety of configurations to prevent platform-specific
bugs and regressions have been developed and are currently used by
many programmers.

Finally, automation in everyday life is not even limited to computers.
As a simple example, Nest Labs produces programmable thermostats and
smoke detectors that can be controlled over the internet. With the
emerging Internet of Things (internet-enabled devices, often
programmable, in everyday objects such as automobiles, home
appliances, etc), the possibilities of automation are endless.

From basic scripting, to web scraping, continuous integration, and
further, automation is one product of computer science which I've
always been keen on. Being for me the gateway to automation, web
scraping is the programming concept I am most proud of mastering.

DONE Cursuri facute (primele 3 <500 impreuna)

Briefly describe the course(s) you have taken relating to your chosen field.

  • Mathematics (Algebra, Number Theory, Geometry, Calculus)
  • Computer Science (C++, Java, Perl, System Administration, Algorithms, Networking)

DONE De ce computer science? (<150)

Why are you drawn to the area(s) of study you indicated in our Member Section, earlier in this application? If you are "undecided" or not sure which Brown concentrations match your interests, consider describing more generally the academic topics or modes of thought that engage you currently.

In the fifth grade I decided I should learn computer programming. I
had already used computers frequently by then, and it seemed natural
to go from knowing how to configure a computer to knowing how to
program one.

Since then, I learned a lot about programming. I participated to and
won a total of six international medals at Olympiads and programming
contests. I am now a member of the Free Software community, a social
movement aimed at giving computer users more freedom. I contributed to
several free software projects, and even started a few of my own. In
2013 I joined Fundatia Ceata, a Romanian foundation that promotes free
software and culture. In 2014 I became the director of this
foundation.

DONE De unde vii (<100)

Tell us where you have lived - and for how long - since you were born; whether you've always lived in the same place, or perhaps in a variety of places.

I was born in Romania in a town in the foothills of the Carpathian
Mountains. The town is located on river Olt, which was important even
in the Roman times as it provided an easy passage across the
mountains. Today the river connects many artificial lakes used to
generate hydroelectric power. The town is rather small and the
surroundings are picturesque.

When I entered the high school I moved to Bucharest, the capital city.
I left my hometown to join an elite high school which is producing a
large fraction of the Romanian winners of international Olympiads and
contests.

DONE Despre o comunitate (<150)

We all exist within communities or groups of various sizes, origins, and purposes; pick one and tell us why it is important to you, and how it has shaped you.

I am a member of the Free Software community, a global social movement
aimed at creating programs licensed such that anybody can use them for
any purpose, inspect their source code, modify it, and even distribute
their own modified versions.

Unlike proprietary software, free software is usually developed
openly: there is an online central code repository and anybody may
submit a bug report or propose a patch. The developers are usually
from different countries and communicate using the internet.

Participating in the Free Software movement gave me an opportunity to
learn how to communicate effectively and how to work in large teams,
both essential skills in today’s work environment. It also stimulated
me to become a better programmer and provided me the opportunity to
give back to the community. It has become an important part of my life
during the last few years.

DONE De ce Brown? (<200)

Brown University has a long history and its programs are well-known
internationally. Departments of Mathematics and Computer Science are
some of the best known, with faculty that won major prizes, including
the Fields Medal, and which are very active in research and teaching.
One of my dreams during the high school years was to work in an
environment of this type - an elevated, stimulating environment which
would help me develop as a professional and scientist. Given the
resources available at Brown and the long standing tradition of the
University in producing leaders of science, engineering and the
society, I have no doubts that Brown is the best place for me to
study.

I started to learn computer science in the fifth grade. Since, I
participated to numerous contests and won 6 international prizes, I
was selected and participated in the AwesomeMath Summer Program three
times, twice as a student and then as a teaching assistant, I’ve been
involved in many computer science projects and I opened a programming
club in my school where I act as a teacher. This trajectory should
continue in a stimulating environment, such as that at Brown, which
insures its ascending trend will be maintained.

Columbia [4/4]

DONE Activitate (<150)

What single activity listed in the activity section of your Common Application are you most proud of and why?

I developed an Android application named FonBot which allows the user
to control his phone using the internet or text messages.

FonBot was submitted to the International Young Inventors Project
Olympiad, where it won a gold medal and to the Infoeducatie national
project contest where it won the first place. I made the software
public with the hope that it will become useful for general users.

Certainly, receiving these prizes gave me satisfaction, but I was much
happier to see that after release the software started being used.
Some users (of the broader international community) reported bugs,
while others contributed translations (in Italian). Comments on the
code were posted in discussion groups. This was my first free software
project that gained visibility. The comments I received motivated me
to keep maintaining and improving the application, which I still do.

DONE Liste

Required reading

List the titles of the required readings from courses during the school year or summer that you enjoyed most in the past year.

Moara cu Noroc (Ioan Slavici), Alexandru Lapusneanul (Costache Negruzzi), Enigma Otiliei (George Calinescu).

Books

List the titles of the books you read for pleasure that you enjoyed most in the past year.

Inferno (Dante Aligheri), The Prince (Niccolò Machiavelli), Faust (Goethe), Leviathan (Thomas Hobbes), The Master and Margarita (Mikhai Bulgakov), The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (H. P. Lovecraft), The Fall of the House of Usher (Edgar Allan Poe), The Pit and the Pendulum (Edgar Allan Poe)

Publications

List the titles of the print, electronic publications and websites you read regularly.

LWN, blogs.perl.org, planet.debian.org, National Geographic

Entertainments

List the titles of the films, concerts, shows, exhibits, lectures and other entertainments you enjoyed most in the past year.

Matrix, Idolul si Ion Anapoda (play by George Mihail Zamfirescu), Conu leonida fata cu reactiunea (play by Ion Luca Caragiale), an exhibit by Constantin Calafateanu, the George Enescu international festival.

DONE De ce Columbia? (<300)

Please tell us what you find most appealing about Columbia and why.

Columbia is one of the leading US universities and is well known
around the world. Its faculty are leaders in their fields and many
have won major international prizes for their research. One of my
dreams during the high school years was to work in an environment of
this type - an elevated, dynamic and stimulating environment which
would help me develop as a professional and scientist. Given the
resources available at Columbia and the long standing tradition of the
University in producing leaders of science, engineering and the
society, I have no doubts that Columbia is the best place for me to
study.

The university offers an exciting program in Computer Science, which
is the field of my choice. It is joined with Electrical Engineering
and students receive background in both disciplines. My father is an
electrical engineer and, as I grew up I was exposed to this
discipline- it seemed only natural for me to follow on this footsteps.

The integrated BS/MS program will allow me graduate with a Master of
Science degree, giving me more depth in the field and a competitive
edge after graduation. I am also attracted by the many hands-on
activities the program offers.

I started learning computer science in the fifth grade. Since, I
participated to numerous contests and won 6 international prizes, I
was selected and participated in the AwesomeMath Summer Program three
times, twice as a student and then as a teaching assistant, I’ve been
involved with many computer engineering projects and I opened a
programming club in my school where I act as a teacher. This
trajectory should continue in a stimulating environment, such as that
at Columbia, which will insures that its ascending trend will be
maintained.

DONE De ce engineering? (<300)

For applicants to The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, please tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the field or fields of study that you noted in the Member Questions section.

My love for computer engineering is longstanding. In the fifth grade I
decided to learn computer programming. I had already used computers
frequently by then, and it seemed natural to move from knowing how to
configure a computer to knowing how to program one.

Since then, I learned a lot about programming. I studied both the
theoretical part of computer science, such as algorithms, and the more
applied aspects, such as programming. I participated to and won a
total of six international medals at Olympiads and other national and
international programming contests. I am now a member of the Free
Software community - a social movement aimed at giving computer users
more freedom. I contributed to several free software projects, and
even started a few of my own. In 2013 I joined Fundatia Ceata, a
Romanian foundation that promotes free software and culture. In 2014 I
became the technical director of this foundation.

As you can see, I grew up playing with computers, loving them,
adapting to their evolution and feeling continuously attracted to this
field. For me the path forward is clear: I will be a computer
engineer.

I want to tell you about a project I’m very proud of. In 2014 I
initiated together with one of my friends a national scale programming
contest named MindCoding. The goal was to attract more young people to
programming. The contest was a success, with over 150 participants in
four qualification rounds. I wrote the online judge used for the
contest, called Gruntmaster 6000. The experience taught me how to
manage a large project and how to deal with user requests in real
time.

Cornell [1/1]

DONE De ce Engineering + De ce Cornell? (<650)

Tell us about an engineering idea you have, or about your interest in engineering. Describe how your ideas and interests may be realized by—and linked to—specific resources within the College of Engineering. Finally, explain what a Cornell Engineering education will enable you to accomplish. (Please limit your response to 650 words.)

All successful programs begin with a programmer trying to scratch an
itch.

During the Spring term of my 9th grade I was preparing for the, then
upcoming, FII Competition - an online team programming contest. In
each phase of this contest, each team was given a week to solve a set
of problems. The winners of the preliminary competition would qualify
for the final phase of the contest.

In most cases, in such contests the participants lose points due to
bugs in their programs which are not immediately obvious. To give my
team an advantage, I wrote a simple testing routine which was supposed
to be used by all team members in order to avoid bugs - I gave it the
name iEval (informatics evaluator). iEval was a website where my
teammates could upload three programs: a test generator, the program
to be tested, and an output verifier. The website would then run a few
thousand tests and report whether any of them failed.

iEval made a great contribution to the success of my team in that
competition. One day, one of our team members -a joker by his trade-
submitted a program which looped endlessly, thus denying the service
to everyone else. In response, I added authentication and a time limit
for jobs.

After the contest, I looked again at this project, and saw its
potential to become a full-blown online judge. In the following months
I added many useful features, and the new version of iEval was ready
to roll.

Its first test was the midterm computer science exam. The teacher
agreed that using iEval for the exam would make the experience more
pleasant (and realistic) compared with the usual paper-based test.
Despite some initial faults, overall the experiment was a success. A
second trial was the E-biko contest to which I participated, where
iEval got a silver medal.

After these successes, iEval was shelved. However, I knew I will
rewrite it some day. This happened in the Fall of 2013 when I entirely
redesigned the package and gave it a new name: Gruntmaster 6000. Not
long after, a friend contacted me asking for help with the
organisation of a programming contest. It appeared that the newly
rewritten online judge was exactly what he needed. We joined forces in
organising this activity and the MindCoding project emerged.

The purpose of this contest was to attract more young people towards
programming and to encourage them to hone their skills by competing
with their peers. In the first phase, the contest had 150 participants
in the four qualification rounds. Of these, 15 moved on to the final
stage of the competition and finally, three prizes were given.

Gruntmaster 6000 was my first project written for a larger audience.
It gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about software development,
the interaction with users and how to handle unexpected issues that
arise during the use of the program in real time. It created the
foundation for me going up to the next stage of software development.

As the institution where "any person can find instruction in any
study", I believe that an engineering education at Cornell will give
me the depth and breadth as well as a global understanding of science
and engineering that will help me become a professional engineer. The
comprehensive ECE program at Cornell will give me the theoretical
knowledge and the hands-on experience I need to solve any problem in
this vast subject. The excellent co-op program will serve as a great
way to test my skills and a way to get even more of the practical
experience that defines any engineer. The faculty of the department
perform world-class research. Therefore, the environment is ideal for
my goals. After graduation I will use my skills and imagination to
create products that will change people’s life.

Dartmouth [1/1]

DONE Eseul

Every name tells a story: Tell us about your name—any name: first, middle, last, nickname—and its origin.

Marius, my name, has historic roots I am proud of ever since I found
out about its origin. Marius was a worthy general from Rome who
created and led to many victories an army of professionals.

Children like soldiers — characters present in their first stories or
games. What can be better than having the name of an experienced,
brave general, a name which your friends can utter with respect? I
think it had an effect on me, arousing the ambition to do good and
succeed in my trials just like the general did. I hope he also
transmitted me his determination, ambition and skills.

Duke [2/2]

DONE De ce Engineering + De ce Duke? (<150)

If you are applying to the Pratt School of Engineering as a first year applicant, please discuss why you want to study engineering and why you would like to study at Duke.

I learned computer programming in the fifth grade, and since then I've
participated in numerous competitions and worked on many programming
projects. Clearly, I want to study computer science in university.

So far, I've worked with both the theoretical parts of computer
science (such as algorithms) and the practical parts (such as actual
programming), and I found the theoretical ones less interesting. Thus,
I intend to study a program that replaces them with something more
challenging.

I found out that Duke University offers Electrical and Computer
Engineering, which includes electrical engineering and focuses on
practical aspects. As my father is an electrical engineer, I've always
found this particular field fascinating, and studying it will offer me
more opportunities than studying Computer Science.

Finally, Duke offers the 4+1 program which would allow me to put my
skills to work faster.

Thus, Duke University is one of my top options.

DONE Aiurea (<250)

Duke University seeks a talented, engaged student body that embodies the wide range of human experience; we believe that the diversity of our students makes our community stronger. If you'd like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you've had to help us understand you better-perhaps related to a community you belong to, your sexual orientation or gender identity, or your family or cultural background-we encourage you to do so. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke.

All programs begin with a person trying to scratch an itch. No, wait.
All *successful* programs begin with a programmer trying to scratch an
itch.

It was the 9th grade and I was preparing for the upcoming FII
Competition, an online team programming contest. To give my team an
advantage, I decided to write a simple testing framework each of us
would use to avoid bugs.

It was called iEval (informatics evaluator) and represented an immense
support for our team. After the contest, I looked again at that
project, and saw its potential to become a full-blown online judge.
Next months, I added many useful features and the newly written online
judge was ready to roll.

Its first test was the midterm computer science exam. The teacher
agreed that using an online judge would result in a more pleasant
experience. Despite some hiccups, the experiment was a success. A
second trial was the E-biko contest, where iEval got a silver medal.

After these achievements, iEval was shelved, and I decided I should
rewrite it some day. The rewrite began in late 2013 under a new name:
Gruntmaster 6000. Not long after this, a friend contacted me. He
wanted to create a programming contest, and needed some help. The
MindCoding project was established.

Its aim was to persuade more people to take up programming. We believe
it succeeded, as we had over 150 participants in the four
qualification rounds. The final laps decided the winners of the three
cash prizes.

CV

Harvard [2/2]

DONE Activity/Experience

Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences.

I developed an Android application named FonBot which allows the user
to control his phone using the internet or text messages.

FonBot was submitted to the International Young Inventors Project
Olympiad, where it won a gold medal and to the Infoeducatie national
project contest where it won the first place. I made the software
public with the hope that it will become useful for general users.

Certainly, receiving these prizes gave me satisfaction, but I was much
happier to see that after release the software started being used.
Some users (of the broader international community) reported bugs,
while others contributed translations (in Italian). Comments on the
code were posted in discussion groups. This was my first free software
project that gained visibility. The comments I received motivated me
to keep maintaining and improving the application, which I still do.

DONE Aiurea

You may wish to include an additional essay if you feel that the college application forms do not provide sufficient opportunity to convey important information about yourself or your accomplishments. You may write on a topic of your choice, or you may choose from one of the following topics:

  • Unusual circumstances in your life
  • Travel or living experiences in other countries
  • What you would want your future college roommate to know about you
  • An intellectual experience (course, project, book, discussion, paper, poetry, or research topic in engineering, mathematics, science or other modes of inquiry) that has meant the most to you
  • How you hope to use your college education
  • A list of books you have read during the past twelve months
All successful programs begin with a programmer trying to scratch an
itch.

During the Spring term of my 9th grade I was preparing for the, then
upcoming, FII Competition - an online team programming contest. In
each phase of this contest, each team was given an entire week to
solve a set of preassigned problems. The winners of the preliminary
competition were supposed to qualify for the final phase of the
contest.

In most cases, in such contest the participants lose points due to
bugs in their programs which are not immediately obvious or do not
give errors under normal running circumstance. To give my team an
advantage, I wrote a simple testing routine which was supposed to be
used by all team members in order to avoid bugs - I gave it the name
iEval (informatics evaluator). iEval was a website where my teammates
could upload three programs: a test generator, the program to be
tested, and an output verifier. The website would then run a few
thousand tests under different input conditions and report whether any
of them failed. Clearly, the interface allowed testing in a broader
range of input parameters than what an individual user/developer could
do.

iEval made a great contribution to the success of my team in that
competition. One day, one of our team members -a joker by his trade-
submitted a program which looped endlessly, thus denying the service
to everyone else. In response, I added authentication and a time limit
for jobs.

After the contest, I looked again at this project, and saw its
potential to become a full-blown online code tester. In the following
months I hastily added many useful features, such as problem and
contest support, a job log, etc, and the new version of the iEval
online judge was ready to roll.

Its first test was the midterm computer science exam. The teacher
agreed that using iEval for the exam would make the experience more
pleasant (and realistic) compared with the usual paper-based test.
Despite some initial faults, overall the experiment was a success. A
second trial was the E-biko contest to which I participated, where
iEval got a silver medal.

After these successes, iEval was shelved. However, I knew I will
rewrite it some day. This happened in the Fall of 2013 when I entirely
redesigned the package and gave it a new name: Gruntmaster 6000. Not
long after, a friend contacted me asking for help with the
organisation of a programming contest. It appeared that the newly
re-baptised iEval was exactly what he needed. We joined forces in
organising this activity and the MindCoding project emerged.

The purpose of this contest was to attract more young people towards
programming and to encourage them to hone their skills by competing
with their peers. In the first phase, the contest had 150 participants
in the four qualification rounds. Of these, 15 moved on to the final
stage of the competition and finally, three prizes were given.
Gruntmaster 6000 was greatly helpful for us, the organisers, to
evaluate the performance and rank the programs produced by the
participants.

Gruntmaster 6000 was my first project written for a larger audience.
It gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about software development,
the interaction with users and how to handle unexpected issues that
arise during the use of the program in real time. It created the
foundation for me going up to the next stage of software development.

Northwestern [1/1]

DONE De ce Northwestern? (<300)

Northwestern Statement: What are the unique qualities of Northwestern - and of the specific undergraduate school to which you are applying - that make you want to attend the University? In what ways do you hope to take advantage of the qualities you have identified?

I started programming computers in the fifth grade. Since, I
participated in numerous competitions and developed many programming
projects. I am in love with computer science and I know this is what I
want study at Northwestern.

So far, I studied several aspects of theoretical Computer Science, in
particular algorithms, and more practical aspects such as hands-on
programming. Northwestern Engineering has a great reputation in this
field, with many research-active faculty. Studying in this dynamic and
intellectually challenging environment will be clearly beneficial for
me.

The Computer Engineering program at Northwestern is coupled with
Electrical Engineering. My father is an electrical engineer. Since
childhood I have been fascinated by this field. The combination of CS
and EE offers a broad background to students which consequently are
more competitive on the job market after graduation.

The engineering education at Northwestern emphasizes hands-on
activities, which I find to be a plus. It also places the discipline
in the broader context of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship,
therefore preparing students for being leaders in their field either
in existing big companies or, as entrepreneurs, in their own
companies. Since my intention is to open my own company after
graduation, this aspect of the program is particularly attractive for
me.

I also intend to take advantage of the co-terminal BS/MS program in
Computer Engineering and graduate with a Master of Science degree.
This will give me more depth in the field, a broader understanding
beyond the field and a competitive edge after graduation.

Princeton [4/4]

DONE Spune despre o activitate (150)

Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences that was particularly meaningful to you.

Together with one of my friends, in January 2014 I started a
national-scale project. The objective was to attract more young people
to programming and computer science. To this end, we created a
national contest, named MindCoding, which we advertised to a number of
high schools around the country. We thought that the best way to
stimulate people to learn is by offering them a contest.

For this contest I created Gruntmaster 6000, an online platform for
the evaluation of participants' solutions. This was my first project
written for a larger audience. It showed me a lot about software
development, thus learning how to deal with larger projects, talk to
users, handle lots of feature requests and what to do when something
goes wrong.

The contest was a success. We had 150 participants in total, organised
five rounds (four qualification rounds, one final round) and awarded
three prizes.

DONE Spune despre ultimele tale 2 vacante (150)

Please tell us how you have spent the last two summers (or vacations between school years), including any jobs you have held.

My activity during the last two summers was a combination of work and
travel. At the end of the 10th grade I qualified to the national team
which represented Romania at the International Olympiad "Tuymaada"
organized in Yakutia. I had the chance to visit Yakutsk, the capital
city of Yakutia, a remote place in eastern Siberia. I won a gold medal
in the olympiad. After the Olympiad we were offered a two day cruise
on the Lena River, which was the highlight of the trip. The summer
ended with a programming contest organized in a beautiful region of
Romania.

This summer I visited Sardinia with my parents. After this vacation I
participated to a week-long computer science camp in Arad, Romania,
named "Informatica la Castel".

DONE Aiurea (250-650, in jur de 500)

Using one of the themes below as a starting point, write about a person, event, or experience that helped you define one of your values or in some way changed how you approach the world.

"Culture is what presents us with the kinds of valuable things that can fill a life. And insofar as we can recognize the value in those things and make them part of our lives, our lives are meaningful." Gideon Rosen, Stuart Professor of Philosophy, chair of the Council of the Humanities and director of the Program in Humanistic Studies, Princeton University.

Culture is the glue of the society and its defining fingerprint.
Culture has a stabilising role both at the individual level and at the
scale of the society. At the individual level it provides the person
with a way to integrate, which in turn provides comfort and creates
the basis for personal growth. At the scale of the society or group of
people, culture has a defining role which provides individuality and
places the respective group in relationship with other groups.

Culture has multiple components. It is important to distinguish
between local and global culture. On the local scale, culture includes
traditions resulting from historical interactions of the local people.
The global culture is a result of the interaction of local cultures
and provides an umbrella structure for the entire human race. It
includes elements which are broadly accepted and define values that
are common to all people. In today’s world, with the advent of
powerful technologies that make distances feel smaller, the process of
dissolution of the local cultures in the global culture is speeding
up. People are faced with a dilemma: to embrace the change or to
compromise between global meanings and demands and local percepts.
This conflict is particularly strong for young people who move far
from home and replace the environment in which they grew up with a
new, largely unknown one. As I prepare to move to another continent
and study in a country which in some respects is different from the
one I grew-up in, I feel this more and more acutely. What should be
preserved and what should be replaced?

The answer is probably not unique. However, the hierarchical structure
of culture provides a more concrete answer. I will carry with me the
values of the global culture with which I was raised. I will preserve
and keep developing within myself the meaning of being a human, of
personal growth, of meaningful interaction with other human beings, of
justice, of beauty and confidence in the future. The change will come
at a price – that of losing the comfort provided by the local culture
– but will also put me on a different level of understanding and
integration.

Of the values I will carry with me the rest of my life I would like to
talk about justice. My uncle, which was a magistrate and held a PhD in
law, had a primary role in developing my sense of justice. He was a
highly cultivated person, with knowledge of Latin, history and
literature, and with a very clearly structured mind. He guided my
reading as I was growing up. A particularly interesting story he came
up with during my early childhood had a strong impact on me. So strong
the impression was on the child I was at the time, that I remember the
details even now.

He told me about a man who committed an offence and was brought in
front of the tribunal. He was acquitted but my uncle wanted to talk to
him personally. They had a conversation in which my uncle emphasised
the role of self-control and guilt. The man went away free vowing not
to repeat the mistake. After a while he was brought back, this time
with much stronger accusations. To my utmost surprise, I learned from
my uncle that he committed suicide the night before the trial. I did
not understand the reasons, but the story remained in my mind. As I
grew up, I gradually understood that justice is not something people
enforce on each other. It is a trait of character which education
should develop in each of us.

As I prepare to begin a new life experience, that of a university
student in another country, I will need to remember all value-defining
lessons I learned. These will help me integrate and develop myself
broadly as a person and scientist.

DONE Intrebari

Your favorite book and its author
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H. P. Lovecraft
Your favorite movie
Matrix
Your favorite website
LWN
Two adjectives your friends would use to describe you
reliable, complete
Your favorite recording
Nothing Else Matters by Metallica
Your favorite keepsake or memento
The first program I wrote
Your favorite source of inspiration
Life
Your favorite word
Control
Your favorite line from a movie or book and its title
The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.

The Dawn (Friedrich Nietzsche)

Stanford [5/5]

DONE Activity/Experience

Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences.

I developed an Android application named FonBot which allows the user
to control his phone using the internet or text messages.

FonBot was submitted to the International Young Inventors Project
Olympiad, where it won a gold medal and to the Infoeducatie national
project contest where it won the first place. I made the software
public with the hope that it will become useful for general users.

Certainly, receiving these prizes gave me satisfaction, but I was much
happier to see that after release the software started being used.
Some users (of the broader international community) reported bugs,
while others contributed translations (in Italian). Comments on the
code were posted in discussion groups. This was my first free software
project that gained visibility. The comments I received motivated me
to keep maintaining and improving the application, which I still do.

DONE Intrebari

Name your favorite books, authors, films, and/or artists.
Authors: H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe

Books: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, The Shadow over Innsmouth, The Fall of the House of Usher

Films: Matrix

Artists: Metallica, Portishead, Simon & Garfunkel, Johnny Cash

What newspapers, magazines, and/or websites do you enjoy?
The Times, LWN, National Geographic
What is the most significant challenge that society faces today?
After the second world war, the world has known a period of equilibrium and safety, permitting civilization to progress. Recent political/religious movements aiming to regain lost teritorry have threatened this equilibirium, and the most sigificant challenge for our society is avoiding war.
How did you spend your last two summers?
In the tenth grade, I went to Yakutia in eastern Siberia for the International Olympiad "Tuymaada". The vacation continued with a programming project contest, Infoeducatie.

Last summer I went on to Sardinia with my parents, and later I participated in 'Informatica la Castel', a week-long computer science camp/conference.

What were your favorite events (e.g., performances, exhibits, competitions, conferences, etc.) in recent years?
Olympic Games, The Wall, Coliberator, YAPC::EU, DebConf
What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed?
Romanian revolution
What five words best describe you?
serious, reliable, perseverant, friendly, humorous

DONE Intellectual vitality (100-250)

Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development.

During my first years of elementary school I heard a story which
immediately caught my attention. It was about a sultan who could get
anything he wanted due to his power and wealth, but who was also very
bored because of this situation. One of his subjects proposed him a
game, chess, which cured his apathy. I immediately wanted to learn
this game, which seemed to promise so much.

Today, after many years, I understand what unlimited resources this
game has and how much it has contributed to my intellectual
development. To my young mind, it meant the fight between two armies
on a restricted territory in which the attackers can move according to
a set of rules. Interestingly, the defenders are supposed to follow
the same rules! Now I understand that it is more than that; it is an
example of applied mathematics, which I've always liked.

Chess has played an important role in the evolution of my mind as it
suggested how I should handle difficult situations. It taught me that
my decisions should be based on the resources I have, that to achieve
a goal one needs a strategy, and that a larger goal must first be
broken down into several smaller ones. These insights emerged from
many games and failures.

The experience chess provided me is also important for my future
career. Beyond the suggestions outlined above, it helped me develop my
logical, analytical, and systematic thinking.

DONE Scrisoare catre viitorul coleg de camera (100-250)

Virtually all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate – and us – know you better.

Dear unknown, future friend,

We haven't met yet, but there is an invisible thread which brings us
closer together every day that passes. Our paths will meet soon and
you will materialize for me, as much as I will materialize for you.

I don't know what life you lived until now. Maybe one very different
from mine or maybe not. I'm sure I will learn from you and I'm very
much looking forward to sharing my experience with you. What I know
though is that the same driving forces that bring me to the meeting
point also bring you to the same point. We are both similarly eager to
discover the new world that awaits us and to shape our futures. This
is sufficient to make us friends, at least on the surface.

It is hard to tell whether our friendship will develop beyond this,
but I certainly hope it will. We will spend time together, we will
share a room and will get to know each other's habits. The more we
share, the better friends we become and the more pleasant living in
campus will be. After four years our paths will separate again, but
the memory of the time spent together will last a lifetime.

I am not going to write more to you now since I know you are busy
writing the letter for me. I just want you to know that I will wait
for you at our meeting place with open heart and mind.

DONE What matters to you, and why? (100-250)

I would like to make a distinction between what matters to me in
relation with myself and what matters to me in relation with others.

My personality and inner being have been shaped by my education, my
family, the environment I lived in. These influences defined my values
and my priorities. It matters to the inner me to be true to these
values and to accomplish in life things that promote and enhance these
values.

I believe in having ideals and fighting to achieve them, I believe in
hard work and fairness, and I believe in being correct and a
well-meaning person. What matters to me most is to follow these
principles, such that my conscience is at peace. Inner well-being
emerges from this.

These principles extend to the interaction with others. However, with
respect to the outside world, the things that matter are those that
allow me to integrate in society in a meaningful way. It matters to
have a balanced life which includes developing a career and a family,
to have a job I like doing. It is important to be a responsible member
of the society, which contributes to the common good.

The things that matter for me in relation with my inner being and
those that matter in relation with the outside world are strongly
interrelated.

UChicago [3/3]

DONE Eseul stupid

Were pH an expression of personality, what would be your pH and why? (Feel free to respond acidly! Do not be neutral, for that is base!) - Inspired by Joshua Harris, Class of 2016

I believe I am a co-polymer. I am made from A number of mers with
Acidic polarity, and B number of mers with Basic polarity. If you put
me in a solution, I curl to expose the end that allows me to interact
with the environment. I adapt to the mean polarity of the
surroundings. If the surrounding is heterogeneous and has peaks of one
polarity or the other, I may become friends with some and be repelled
by others. They will change my conformation momentarily, but in
average, I curl such to adapt in the long term.

I am not sure which number is larger, A or B. I can only guess that A
may be larger, however, not by much. You may say that this gives me an
acidic tilt. But wait that I turn my basic tail to you and you'll not
know that actually A is larger than B!

In the end, I am a man! I like challenges and I am outgoing. Evolution
has shaped men to be like that -- to go out from the house and hunt
for food. They say that all man have a woman's side. That is my B side
and is pointing towards my inner being. In the old, traditional
societies, women take care of the house. My woman side, B, takes care
of my soul.

I'm learning that personality is slowly developing. Apparently, the
age at which it crystallizes is between 18 and 20. Before that age
there is too much turmoil. After, the temperature decreases and the
personality settles. Am I there yet? Probably not. Do I know me well
enough? Probably not. I think this is why I feel so much like a polar
co-polymer today!

DONE De ce UChicago?

How does the University of Chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a particular kind of learning, community, and future? Please address with some specificity your own wishes and how they relate to UChicago.

In the fifth grade I decided to learn computer programming. I had
already used computers frequently by then, and it seemed natural to go
from knowing how to configure a computer to knowing how to program
one. Since then I participated and won prized at numerous national and
international competitions in this area and worked on many programming
projects. There is no doubt in my mind that my future career will be
in computer science.

With this goal in mind, University of Chicago seems an obvious choice.
A good friend of mine has started his undergraduate studies there this
year. We participated together to many international competitions in
computer science and know each other for a long time. He provided me
with some insights about the University in general and its
ComputerScience department in particular. This way I learned that the
Department offers an excellent curriculum with a good combination of
theoretical and hands-on activities, mixed with a breath of other
courses that provide a wider perspective on science and life.

University of Chicago is very famous for its role in advancing science
during the past century. Many great minds have been associated with
the University and the list of Nobel laureates members of its faculty
is really impressive. An environment like this is extremely inspiring
and stimulating for a young student.

The school is very selective and has a diverse student body.
Befriending and working with some of these people is a really
interesting prospect for me.

Finally, the location is attractive as well. Chicago is a lively city
offering many activities.The University has a beautiful campus and is
located reasonably close to the interesting cultural center of the
city.

In summary, I would be happy to have the opportunity to be part of
this dynamic environment.

DONE Chestii Favorite

(Optional) Share with us a few of your favorite books, poems, authors, films, plays, pieces of music, musicians, performers, paintings, artists, blogs, magazines, or newspapers. Feel free to touch on one, some, or all of the categories listed, or add a category of your own.

Today is my birthday. I am 18 years old.

In my rush to understand the world, I sampled quite a bit of it, or so
it feels. I read literature, I listened to music, tried my bit at
doing and absorbing art. I'm sure there are many things I don't know,
but there are many things I know, and I hold tight on those.

I like to read Lovecraft's stories which are centered on extraordinary
descriptions of a fictional reality rather than on action. I've been
attracted by his way of constructing new universes which are
accessible to ordinary people through narrow doors we can see in our
daily experience. Pretty much like mathematics, which builds worlds
from scratch. I also like Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of
Usher and how he describes every single detail of his vision. His
allegory of death and temporality, The Masque of the Red Death, has
captivated me. Why do I like these works? Probably because they bring
me in a different dimension, beyond the everyday reality.

In music I like Metallica which I find to be pure genius, but I also
like folk music like Simon & Garfunkel and Johnny Cash for their
feeling of quietness and happiness. Their commentary on the
impossibility of emotional communication between people, which appears
to be a recurrent subject in their work, is an interesting perspective
on the role of love on the scale of humanity.

I am 18 today. I'm sure I'll get a great book as a present.

UPenn [1/1]

DONE Why UPenn (400-650)

The Admissions Committee would like to learn why you are a good fit for your undergraduate school choice (College of Arts and Sciences, School of Nursing, The Wharton School, or Penn Engineering). Please tell us about specific academic, service, and/or research opportunities at the University of Pennsylvania that resonate with your background, interests, and goals. (400-650 words)

I started to program computers in the fifth grade. Since then I
participated to numerous contests and won 6 international prizes, I
was selected and participated in the AwesomeMath Summer Program three
times, twice as a student and then as a teaching assistant. The camp
was organised at University of California Santa Cruz by one of the
professors who trained the US team for the mathematics Olympiad. The
participants came from many countries around the world and were
selected based on their results in mathematics. I’ve also been
involved with many computer engineering projects and I opened a
programming club in my school where I act as a teacher. I am in love
with computer science and I know this is what I want to study at
UPenn.

So far, I studied several aspects of theoretical Computer Science, in
particular algorithms, and more practical aspects such as hands-on
programming. UPenn Engineering has a great reputation in this field,
with many research-active faculty. Studying in this dynamic and
intellectually challenging environment will be clearly beneficial for
me.

One of my most important projects so far is MindCoding, a national
contest I've created together with a friend in January 2014. The
objective was to attract more young people to programming and computer
science. We thought that the best way to stimulate people to learn is
by offering them a contest.

For this contest I created Gruntmaster 6000, an online platform for
the evaluation of participants' solutions. This was my first project
written for a larger audience. It showed me a lot about software
development, thus learning how to deal with larger projects, talk to
users, handle lots of feature requests and what to do when something
goes wrong.

The contest was a success. We had 150 participants in total, organised
five rounds (four qualification rounds, one final round) and awarded
three prizes.

UPenn Engineering's Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
program combines the best parts of computer science and electrical
engineering. This way, it will give me more opportunities than any of
these fields by themselves. My father is an electrical engineer and,
as I grew up I was exposed to this discipline- it seemed only natural
for me to follow on this footsteps. The combination of CS and ESE
offers a broad background to students which consequently are more
competitive on the job market after graduation.

The engineering education at UPenn emphasises hands-on activities,
which I find to be a plus. It also places the discipline in the
broader context of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship,
therefore preparing students for being leaders in their field either
in existing big companies or, as entrepreneurs, in their own
companies. Since my intention is to open my own company after
graduation, this aspect of the program is particularly attractive for
me.

With UPenn Engineering's small engineering classes, I will have the
opportunity to interact with the faculty closely and to receive
personalised guidance. The program allows students to choose from
hundreds of courses on many subjects. This will provide me with both
depth and breadth in multiple disciplines.

In summary, I would be happy to have the opportunity to be part of
this dynamic environment.

Yale [4/4]

DONE De ce Yale? (<100)

What in particular about Yale has influenced your decision to apply?

While I already have a general idea of what I will focus on (Computer
Science and Electrical Engineering), I would like to be able to study
more subjects. This will result in a much better and more useful
education. Yale not only follows a liberal arts curriculum, but also
offers a broad and very flexible course choice. This is why I feel
Yale is one of the best colleges for me, and what mainly influenced me
to apply to Yale.

DONE Intrebari

What excites you intellectually, really?
Studying in the US is an intellectual challenge, not only because I'll need to adapt to a society with a sleek conservatism, but also due to my professional assertion in a performant educational system that permits a fierce but loyal comptetition.
Think about a disappointment you have experienced. What was your response?
Like every year, I struggled to enter the national team. After five phases I was qualified, but at the end of the 6th I was no longer. I was very disappointed, but I realized that I needed to work more.
Suite-style living - four to six students sharing a set of rooms - may be an integral part of your Yale College experience. What would you contribute to the dynamic of your suite?
Four to six flatmates can be pleasant so long as we have common preferences. Anyway, the group needs to be organized, with rules and an accepted program, something I could assume given my good organizer reputation.
What do you wish you were better at being or doing?
I wish I were better at communication. I realized this when I noticed that both my friends and colleagues don't always understand immediately what I'm trying to say, and the loved ones don't notice my emotions and states of the mind.

DONE Aiurea (<500)

In this essay, please reflect on something you would like us to know about you that we might not learn from the rest of your application, or on something about which you would like to say more. You may write about anything—from personal experiences or interests to intellectual pursuits. (Please answer in 500 words or less). Before you begin, we encourage you to go to http://admissions.yale.edu/essay, where you will find helpful advice.

All successful programs begin with a programmer trying to scratch an
itch.

During the Spring term of my 9th grade I was preparing for the, then
upcoming, FII Competition - an online team programming contest. In
each phase of this contest, each team was given an entire week to
solve a set of preassigned problems. The winners of the preliminary
competition were supposed to qualify for the final phase of the
contest.

In most cases, in such contest the participants lose points due to
bugs in their programs which are not immediately obvious or do not
give errors under normal running circumstance. To give my team an
advantage, I wrote a simple testing routine which was supposed to be
used by all team members in order to avoid bugs - I gave it the name
iEval (informatics evaluator). iEval was a website where my teammates
could upload three programs: a test generator, the program to be
tested, and an output verifier. The website would then run a few
thousand tests under different input conditions and report whether any
of them failed. Clearly, the interface allowed testing in a broader
range of input parameters than what an individual user/developer could
do.

iEval made a great contribution to the success of my team in that
competition. One day, one of our team members -a joker by his trade-
submitted a program which looped endlessly, thus denying the service
to everyone else. In response, I added authentication and a time limit
for jobs.

After the contest, I looked again at this project, and saw its
potential to become a full-blown online code tester. In the following
months I hastily added many useful features, such as problem and
contest support, a job log, etc, and the new version of the iEval
online judge was ready to roll.

Its first test was the midterm computer science exam. The teacher
agreed that using iEval for the exam would make the experience more
pleasant (and realistic) compared with the usual paper-based test.
Despite some initial faults, overall the experiment was a success. A
second trial was the E-biko contest to which I participated, where
iEval got a silver medal.

After these successes, iEval was shelved. However, I knew I will
rewrite it some day. This happened in the Fall of 2013 when I entirely
redesigned the package and gave it a new name: Gruntmaster 6000. Not
long after, a friend contacted me asking for help with the
organisation of a programming contest. It appeared that the newly
re-baptised iEval was exactly what he needed. We joined forces in
organising this activity and the MindCoding project emerged.

The purpose of this contest was to attract more young people towards
programming and to encourage them to hone their skills by competing
with their peers. In the first phase, the contest had 150 participants
in the four qualification rounds. Of these, 15 moved on to the final
stage of the competition and finally, three prizes were given.
Gruntmaster 6000 was greatly helpful for us, the organisers, to
evaluate the performance and rank the programs produced by the
participants.

Gruntmaster 6000 was my first project written for a larger audience.
It gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about software development,
the interaction with users and how to handle unexpected issues that
arise during the use of the program in real time. It created the
foundation for me going up to the next stage of software development.

DONE De ce engineering?

If you selected one of the engineering majors, please write a brief essay telling us what has led you to an interest in this field of study, what experiences (if any) you have had in engineering, and what it is about Yale’s engineering program that appeals to you

In the fifth grade I decided I should learn computer programming. I
had already used computers frequently by then. It seemed natural to go
from knowing how to configure a computer to knowing how to program
one.

Since then, I've learnt a lot about programming, participating and
winning six international medals in olympiads and programming
contests. I am now a member of the Free Software community, a social
movement aimed at giving computer users more freedom. I've contributed
to several free software projects, and even started some of my own. In
2013 I joined Fundatia Ceata, a Romanian foundation that promotes free
software and culture, becoming its technical director.

The most important experiences I've had in the field of computer
science were the projects I started or contributed to. One of the most
interesting was MindCoding, a national contest created by me and my
friend. Its aim was to persuade people to take up programming and
develop the minds of those who already took it, helping them get what
they gained, in the future.

Recommendations

UCAS Reference

Ervin Iusein (Counselor)

Alina Scarlat (Teacher > Other/Romanian)

Victor Vacariu (Teacher > Math)

Marius Gavrilescu is one of the best students in mathematics from our
school and maybe all over the country, as proven by his constant
qualifications at the National Olympiad in Mathematics and in the
extended team for international Mathematics contests. These successes
are based on Marius' ability to understand and operate with abstract
concepts, together with his ability to apply them for solving regular
problems, as well as contest problems.

Marius is talented in all mathematical subjects that are studied in
Romanian schools: calculus, algebra, geometry, combinatory and number
theory. Even though we did not start studying algebraic structures yet
(these are studied in the 12th grade), Marius Gavrilescu has an
outstanding ability of anticipating the specific techniques of this
domain in problems that he could naturally extend. I believe this
shows an exceptional talent in mathematics.

Last, but not least, it is worth mentioning his ability to see
interdisciplinary connections, especially with computer software. He
also has some witty words that he often says: "If a mathematics
problem can be programmed, then let's program it".

Victor Vacariu
Mathematics teacher
The International Computer High School of Bucharest

Costin Banu/Andrei Grigorean (Teacher > Science/Informatics)

Marius Gavrilescu currently finished the 11th grade at The
International Computer High School of Bucharest. We are a private
school focused on building performance in national and international
contests, especially in the subjects of informatics, mathematics,
physics and chemistry. We select out high school students based on
their past successes, either from our own secondary school, either
from other schools from all over the country, since we have a
dormitory for those who are not from Bucharest. This is the case of
Marius Gavrilescu, who came to our school in the 9th grade from a
secondary school in Râmnicu Vâlcea.

In his year group, Marius Gavrilescu is one of the best three students
who have constantly participated in national and international
informatics contests, winning prizes on every occasion in the past
three years. He always showed much determination in whatever situation
was of interest to him, striving to achieve the best results,
therefore I think that he has the potential to be successful in any
degree course. In contrast with his strong will and focus power, in
his day-by-day life he is an easygoing person, friendly and with a
sense of humor. It seems to me that altogether, his traits make him a
reliable person, ideal to work with, a good colleague and an excellent
student.

In informatics, it is obvious that he works with a lot of pleasure and
passion no matter the goal (be it practice for a contest or software
development just for the fun of it). In 9th grade, as part of a
Biology project, he developed a small program that calculated the
chances of some specific traits to appear in an individual, based on
some DNA information collected from his parents. Last year he
developed an online judge system (used for online programming contests
and practice) together with an older colleague: http://mindcoding.ro.
This academic year, he organised a programming club in our school, in
order to help the weaker students succeed in this subject. It is also
worth mentioning the fact that he won a bronze medal in 2013 at the
"John Atanassoff" International Tournament in Informatics, Shumen,
Bulgaria (a contest similar to the Balkan Olympiad in Informatics) and
a silver medal in 2014 at the National Olympiad in Informatics,
Piteşti, Romania without any prior training and without a teacher (in
school or private). I expect greater performances from him in the next
academic year since he will be trained in school for the upcoming
contests.

His academic results and achievements in the IT domain are just part
of his traits, but his friendly and calm personality is what defines
him in front of others. Whenever our students have to go to a contest,
he is the first one to suggest games or topics of discussion in order
to make the trip more agreeable and he is the one to organise his
colleagues' activity if it is necessary. I believe that this clearly
qualifies him as a leader of the group.

I also believe that his calm and friendly way of being, his talent and
passion in all that Computer Science represents and his inborn leader
skills, together with the experience of moving alone in Bucharest from
a small town in the 9th grade, will make it easier for him in the US.
He has the ability to exploit all the opportunities offered by the
university, he has the determination to thoroughly learn anything new
and he is capable of adapting to the community easily. I recommend
Marius Gavrilescu with all pleasure and confidence, without any
reservations whatsoever.

Costin Banu
Informatics teacher and contest trainer,
The International Computer High School of Bucharest

Tiberiu Turbureanu (Other > Employer)

Mihai Andreescu (Other > Peer)

Author: Marius Gavrilescu

Created: 2014-11-18 Tue 12:09

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