History of UTC

first edition

In November of 2009, Das Keyboard announced the first-ever Ultimate Typing Championship. The nationwide competition set out to find the fastest typist in the United States, with the two finalists being flown to Austin Texas to compete at the SXSW Interactive Festival for the $2,000 Grand Prize. The general online competition was launched on November 11, 2010, and allowed contestants to register and compete against each other for the fastest words-per-minute speeds on the competitive racing website, TyprX.com. The general online competition closed on December 31, 2010, and the six semifinalists were chosen based on their average words-per-minute speeds registered on TyprX.com.

On January 9, 2010, the six semifinalists raced for a spot in the finals, where Sean Wrona, a recent Masters program graduate in Applied Statistics from Cornell University, scored the fastest speed and won a spot in the finals in Austin. Dan (Yifei) Chen, a Harvard Crimson reporter at the time, had a competitive showing against Sean in all three rounds, but could not attend the finals, so the third-place finalist, Nate Bowen, a Technology Manager at Condé Nast was invited to SXSW to compete in the finals on Sunday, March 14th, 2010, in front of a live audience at the Das Keyboard booth.

The first round of the finals featured a 480 word standard English text (2,873 characters, 2,394 excluding spaces). While Nate put forward a great effort with a 110 WPM speed, he was no match for Sean Wrona who set a new unofficial speed typing record of 163 WPM on standard English text.

That all our knowledge begins with experience there can be no doubt. For how is it possible that the faculty of cognition should be awakened into exercise otherwise than by means of objects which affect our senses, and partly of themselves produce representations, partly rouse our powers of understanding into activity, to compare, to connect, or to separate these, and so to convert the raw material of our sensuous impressions into a knowledge of objects, which is called experience? In respect of time, therefore, no knowledge of ours is antecedent to experience, but begins with it. But, though all our knowledge begins with experience, it by no means follows that all arises out of experience. For, on the contrary, it is quite possible that our empirical knowledge is a compound of that which we receive through impressions, and that which the faculty of cognition supplies from itself (sensuous impressions giving merely the occasion), an addition which we cannot distinguish from the original element given by sense, till long practice has made us attentive to, and skillful in separating it. It is, therefore, a question which requires close investigation, and is not to be answered at first sight whether there exists a knowledge altogether independent of experience, and even of all sensuous impressions? Knowledge of this kind is called a priori, in contradistinction to empirical knowledge, which has its sources a posteriori, that is, in experience. But the expression, "a priori," is not as yet definite enough, adequately to indicate the whole meaning of the question above started. For, in speaking of knowledge which has its sources in experience, we are wont to say that this or that may be known a priori, because we do not derive this knowledge immediately from experience, but from a general rule, which, however, we have itself borrowed from experience. Thus, if a man undermined his house, we say, "he might know a priori that it would have fallen;" that is, he needed not to have waited for the experience that it did actually fall. But still, a priori, he could not know even this much. For, that bodies are heavy, and, consequently, that they fall when their supports are taken away, must have been known to him previously, by means of experience. By the term "knowledge a priori," therefore, we shall in the sequel understand, not such as is independent of this or that kind of experience, but such as is absolutely so of all experience. Opposed to this is empirical knowledge, or that which is possible only a posteriori, that is, through experience. Knowledge a priori is either pure or impure. Pure knowledge a priori is that with which no empirical element is mixed up. For example, the proposition, "Every change has a cause," is a proposition a priori, but impure, because change is a conception which can only be derived from experience.

The second round of the finals featured a 360 word, non-standard text (1,949 characters, 1,592 excluding spaces) with special characters mixed into standard English text. On this significantly more challenging text, Nate typed at a 79 words-per-minute, which Sean surpassed with his extremely impressive 124 words-per-minute speed.

1.a) [MAN] A man ordered 2,000 drums of pink ping pong balls in Paris, France. Each drum contained 100 pink ping pong balls. He paid $120 (80 Euros!) per drum, which means he spent $240,000 on 200,000 pink ping pong balls. 1.b) {BALL} These pink ping pong balls measured 40mm (how many inches?) and were given a 1 star rating [1 star?]. [FRIEND] His friends all asked him, "why did you order so many pink ping pong balls, how can you afford to spend that much, and what are you going to do with them?" His answer: "I'll tell you tomorrow." [MAN] Every day his friends asked the same question, and every day he gave the same answer: "I'll tell you tomorrow." {BALL} The pink ping pong balls started decreasing in quantity: only 189,000 left, and then only 172,000, and then 163,000, and then 147,000, etc. {BALL} One day 90% of the pink ping pong balls were gone (100% - 10% = 90% right?). His friends were really feeling frustrated with him now and demanded an explanation, "Tell us what the &^%$ [blip] you're doing with all of these @#^& pink ping pong balls!" [MAN] The man's response: "I spent $240,000 on 200,000 pink ping pong balls for a project. I have now used 90% of those, as you have observed. I promise to tell you tomorrow." [FRIEND] His friends decided to wait one more day and pronounce the alphabet to kill some time: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ then wrote a code word with strange signs: /a/&B#R{+1}>>[Bb] = X0 - 3 + @a rooftop ^ 32 + 12443678923458789 && 1 2 3 < 4. . The next day they were gathered in the man's house for the big revelation. The man stated, "Of the 200,000 pink ping pong balls I ordered I have 137 left. Would anyone like them?" His friends all groaned and said, "[---] no! Give us an answer!" The man began again, "Friends, I am about to unveil a great invention." He took a deep breath...and died. His 7 friends would never know why the man spent $240,000 on 200,000 pink ping pong balls, and neither will you.

first edition winner

Sean Wrona won the $2,000 grand-prize and a Das Keyboard and was crowned the Ultimate Typing Champion. Sean achieved speed typing fame and went on to race competitively on many other speed typing sites and is releasing a book about his typing experiences, titled: Nerds Per Minute: "The Special Ed Whiz-Kid". Nate Bowen is now the VP of Software Development for a gaming company in the greater Seattle area, while Yifei Chen lives in New Hampshire and works as an Analyst for a global investment firm.


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