hackathonsMashable: Facebook is known for its hackathons — all-night coding sessions designed to help create new products or improve others. Now the company has announced its first Hacker Cup.

Facebook says it’s “bring[ing] engineers from around the world together to compete in a multi-round programming competition.” The Hacker Cup is very similar to Google’s popular Google Code Jam.

Contestants will be challenged with solving algorithmic-based problem statements. Those who successfully solve the problems in the allotted period of time will advance to the next round.

Registration opens on December 20 and the 72-hour qualification round will start on January 7, 2011.

This round will consist of three problems. Only the competitors that can correctly solve at least one problem will advance to the first online round.

The first online round will consist of three sub-rounds that each last three hours. The top-scoring 1,000 participants from each of these sub-rounds will advance the the second online round.

The 25 competitors who score the highest in the second online round will advance to the finals, which will be held at Facebook’s campus in Palo Alto. Facebook will fly the 25 participants in and pay for their expenses.

At the in-person final round, a winner will be crowned and not only given the title of “world champion,” but also $5,000 in cash.

If you want to brush up on your skills before the competition starts, you can visit Facebook’s puzzles page.