Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

21st International Olympiad of Informatics Opens, In Bulgaria and Online

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the your-long-awaited-dream-vacation dept.

Programming 74

Kostadin Vodenicharov writes "The International Olympiad in Informatics is considered one of the most prestigious programming contests in the world. Currently the 21st IOI is being held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria (which was the country that also hosted the 1st IOI), from 8th to 15th August. High school students from all over the world have gathered to put their programming skills to the test. Everyone else who wishes to participate can do it in the online contest which will run in parallel with the real one and will present the same tasks to be solved. The competition itself is going to take place on Monday 10th August and Wednesday 12th August from 9:00 to 14:00 EEST (UTC+3)."

cancel ×

74 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Great event for budding programmers (2, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#29007317)

I remember when my team won the Math Olympiad back in high school. The light hearted competition was what really stands out as the prime motivator for me. Without this kind of competition, we geeks would have just been white wedgied wallflowers with wack Hypercolor t-shirts.

The kids taking part in this IOI are going to take home something memorable. And hopefully the American teams can learn a little more about the rest of the world.

Great way to get to MIT (3, Interesting)

theblondebrunette (1315661) | more than 5 years ago | (#29007391)

It's also a great way to get a scholarship to a great university, like MIT (no flaming to other schools, insert your favorite school here that gives need-based scholarships to international students)
From my experience, from the people that I know from Eastern Europe, only those that went to such international Olympiads (math/informatics) managed to get admission to MIT..

In many eastern-european countries, it's more difficult to qualify for this event than the actual tournament..
Kudos to those who participate and to their teachers..
In my time there was no TopCoder, UVA, etc... it wasn't easy to prepare for these.. But now I'm sure it's even more challenging, given the amount of material available..

Re:Great way to get to MIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29008631)

Realistically speaking, it should be most difficult for China to get in there.
I am from Bulgaria, and while the national olympiads are very very difficult, there aren't exactly thousands of contestants :)

Re:Great way to get to MIT (1)

sydneyfong (410107) | more than 5 years ago | (#29009771)

Yes.

I was in the Hong Kong team in IOI2003, and have participated in the Chinese national contests (Hong Kong is part of China, but can send independent teams due to "one country two systems"). Getting into the Chinese team is much, much, much harder than getting a medal in the IOI.

Two of Hong Kong's IOI gold medalist actually fared rather poorly in the NOI (the National OI of China), one got just a bronze in NOI2002 and another didn't even manage to get a mention in NOI2006. Of course, knowing them personally, they flopped :) but still it highlights the level of the NOI. Last I looked, most Chinese team members manage to get a Gold in the IOI, and I guess the most spectacular performance was in IOI2004 where they got the 2nd,3rd and 4th place, the fourth contestant got a gold too.

About that "thousands of contestants" thing, in fact there aren't. There are provincial (roughly equal to a state in the USA) competitions, and some of them are rather competitive too. In the end about 5 contestants are selected for each province, and a few directly governed cities, and Hong Kong and Macau, and the number ends up to about a hundred to two hundred people.

Re:Great way to get to MIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29008893)

I actually competed in IOI 2004 and 2005, and also almost made it into the IMO team. It didnt get me into MIT...

But it is a great experience none the less.

Re:Great way to get to MIT (1)

sydneyfong (410107) | more than 5 years ago | (#29009847)

In China, they actually have agreements with top Chinese universities (eg. Tsinghua University, which is sometimes known as the "MIT of China") so that those who perform well in the National Olympiads would *automatically* have a place in University.

A number of participants in the Chinese Olympiads compete not only out of interest but also as an alternative (or even as their primary strategy) for university admission. I heard the university qualification exams in China is really, really tough, so naturally people will try various ways to avoid doing it.

And thus the competition there is really tough, as I mentioned in a reply to a sibling post.

Re:Great way to get to MIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29049521)

I'm an OIer in Shandong province. In fact I'd like to say that NOI is not the most difficult.(Of course this-year's competition(NOI2009) is too easy.)Perhaps you can have a look at the tests of CTSC(China team selecting contest),which is usually considered to be more difficult than IOI. IOI also has easier problems. One problem in IOI2004 is even easier than problems in NOIp(NOI in provinces).

Re:Great event for budding programmers (-1, Offtopic)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 5 years ago | (#29007399)

I don't think I remember have ever gotten a wedgie before -- I had real fights. And what's a "wack hypercolor t-shirt" anyway? I think we should rename you OverGeneralizationGuy.

Re:Great event for budding programmers (0, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#29007427)

And what's a "wack hypercolor t-shirt" anyway?

Was yours rad?

Re:Great event for budding programmers (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 5 years ago | (#29007477)

I honestly can't say I've ever had a hypercolor tshirt, either wack or rad. Of course, it could just be that I have no idea what you mean by hypercolor. Are we talking about some sort of rayon thing flourescent dyes like a bad MC Hammer video or what?

Re:Great event for budding programmers (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 5 years ago | (#29007571)

ITs was a thermal reactive line of clothes. Put your hand on a girls ass and the image of your hand stays for a bit.

Re:Great event for budding programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29007595)

So which was it? Wack or Rad?

Re:Great event for budding programmers (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#29007657)

Put your hand on a girls ass and the image of your hand stays for a bit.

It always does, if you do it hard enough.

speak for yourself sissy boy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29007669)

i bench 200lbs

Re:speak for yourself sissy boy (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29007879)

That's why he called you a wussy nerd. Comprehendes?

Where are the Africans? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29008089)

I have looked at the winners of the last 10 mathematics Olympiads and the last 15 informatics Olympiads. I cannot see a single African or African-American in the winners' circle.

Could this lack of African accomplishment be due to the IQ difference between Africans and either Europeans or Japanese? The average IQ of the Africans is about 20 points lower than the average IQ of the Europeans or the Japanese.

My African peers claim that racist discrimination is the "reason" that Africans cannot win in these contests. Is this claim true or false?

It is almost certainly cultural (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#29008223)

Africans and African American individuals have made great strides in science in technology. It's well known that botanist George Washington Carver invented over 200 things out of peanuts. It's less known that African Americans are also behind such technologies as pace makers and traffic signals.

However, that there are outstanding individuals of any race is not surprising. What is surprising, as you have pointed out, is the dearth of African Americans winning these competitions. However, if you look at the problem statistically, you'll find that they are winning in proportion to their representation as participants. Which is to say not at all.

But why is that? The simple answer is to ascribe lower intelligence to Africans, but that is a cop-out. The real answer is multifaceted and has roots both in external discrimination as well as negative factors in the African American community which hold back achievement. White racism is also at fault for creating mass media caricatures like Steve Urkel and Carlton Banks as black kids succeeding in society due to their overwhelming non-blackness.

The problem you describe is insidious and sad. But it isn't because Africans and African Americans are less intelligent than you or me. It's due to much more complex socio-cultural reasons that have their roots in racism.

It is genetic. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29008295)

The IQ tests are quite clear on this matter. The average IQ of Africans and African-Americans is about 20 points lower than the average IQ of Europeans and Japanese.

Japan suffered 2 nuclear bombs and nearly non-stop firebombing during 1945. The Japanese were literally starving on the day of surrender in 1945. From this devastation, the Japanese transformed a barren rock into the 2nd richest nation on the planet.

The Africans completely destroyed their own societies -- despite a wealth of natural resources.

The utter failure of African society is not due to racism. The failure is due to shockingly lower intelligence.

Re:It is genetic. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29008339)

Also of note is the fact that Africa still has a vast supply of natural resources yet, much like most of the middle east, continues to squander it on senseless in fighting.

Re:It is genetic. (0, Offtopic)

Jean-Luc Picard (1525351) | more than 5 years ago | (#29008401)

I was swayed by all the sources you site

Re:It is genetic. (1)

XcepticZP (1331217) | more than 5 years ago | (#29008731)

What exactly needs citing? Your point is stupid as all the things he said are well known facts. Except the average IQ thing, that is. But even particular statement may have some truth to it, as no one has been able to do research on the matter without drawing racist flame from every imaginable party. It's sad really, that an entire research field is denied to researchers simply due to it being a touchy subject.

Re:It is genetic. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29008609)

apart from the lack of sources, it sounds like complete crap. Aside from the fact that IQ tests generally favor people with an education (pretty low standard of schooling in Africa). You neglect to mention that most of it was colonised and arbitrarily divided up between the powers for hundreds of years. These arbitrary divisions have obviously led to open warfare (over potentially very rich resources) between clans/tribes/ethnic groups. This is the same process the Americas went through, Asia went through and Europe went through but much much earlier in their histories. Also your example of Japan doesn't mention the Marshall plan which was put in place for precisely this reason (Also, Japan was very technologically advanced even before the war, this kind of knowledge doesn't just disappear). Africans may be destroying their own societies, but this is in no small part due to meddling and encouragement (either implicit or explicit) by the more "developed" nations. As the ost recent examples see CHinas involvement in with Sudan (oil) and oil interests in Nigeria. The british began studies on the Hutu/Tutsi people in order to establish physial differences between them (circa 50s, we all know how that panned out). French meddling in Algeria? American interests in Libya? Suez canal crisis? Russian involvement in Angola? Many many tragedies in Africa have been precipitated by involvements of Western powers. Assuming that the (dubious) claim of lower intelligence is actually true, there are many many reasons why progress is retarded in Africa. Also, on a side note, IIRC there was a "study" by some scientist that said that Africans had a thicker skull than white people which accounted for their smaller brain size/lower intelligence. This was debunked by proper research, but I still hear it often quoted by idiots....

Re:It is genetic. (0, Offtopic)

XcepticZP (1331217) | more than 5 years ago | (#29008779)

Your point is moot. Europe has been having wars for probably thousands of years. The last major one being around 50 years ago. Or how about the more recent example of 1990 and 2000, where the Yugoslav states were at war. The last one being between America and Serbia. Where the Americans destroyed amazing amounts of infrastructure, and a Chinese embassy. Those countries are all doing superbly well compared to _any_ African country, apart from South Africa which is usually the exception. This one example is proof of nothing, really. But neither is your statement that African countries are constantly at war. So there must be other reasons they are performing badly.

It's all about the culture in that country that affects that countries performance. It baffles me when no one wants to admit this. It's not racist to admit that different cultures have different effects on their members.

Re:It is genetic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29009113)

Since when did IQ tests measure intelligence?

Re:It is almost certainly cultural (0, Offtopic)

XcepticZP (1331217) | more than 5 years ago | (#29008859)

White racism is also at fault for creating mass media caricatures like Steve Urkel and Carlton Banks as black kids succeeding in society due to their overwhelming non-blackness.

For every one of those "racist" examples that happen in media, there are at least 20 that poke fun at white people. As corny as this may sound, people need to rise above other peoples' stereotypes of them. They need to embrace it as what it is and make their own path. Sadly, right now, all I see african americans doing is pimping hoes and slapping bitches; and yapping on a microphone about it as if it's something to be glorified. With that in mind, their kids' performance at school should be no surprise to anyone.

Re:It is almost certainly cultural (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29009441)

But that would be extremely non-black. I am referring to the GP post's use of the word "blackness". Also it's a point of view that is radically against government interference and you will not "liberals" taking any position that gets the government out of people's hair.

That's because "liberals" are really collectivists. Idiots masquerading their intentions, first and foremost to themselves, culminating in the disaster that is called "Obama". Obama's shown himself to be a racist and VERY strongly in favor of centrally planned economy. And the result of such a leader in America will be the same as last time in Europe : massive increases in racism, massive disasters in the economy. And the end result will be equally predictable : war.

Frist Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29007323)

Also, why don't the mathematics and physics and other olympiads get any mention here? Slashdot is news for nerds, not news for computer related items only

Re:Frist Post (3, Funny)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#29007367)

physics and other olympiads get any mention here

Use the submit a story link [slashdot.org] and there is a good chance that your articles would get posted to the main page.

Jack Off (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29007513)

My favorite YO MAMA joke. Yo Mama so stupid she fucked yo daddy!

My favorite DEAD BABY joke. Why did the dead baby cross the road? Because it was stapled to the chicken!

My favorite BEANER joke. How come there's no Mexican Olympics? Because all the spics who can run swim and jump are already in the USA!

My favorite KYKE joke. How was copper wiring invented? Two jews fighting over a penny!

My favorite NIGGER joke. How come Stevie Wonder is always smiling? He doesn't know he's black!

My favorite FAGGOT joke. Four fags walk into a gay bar but the bartender has one stool. What's he do? He turns the barstool upside down!

My favorite BITCH joke. What do you say to a woman with two black eyes? Nothing, you already told her twice!

Re:Jack Off (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#29008001)

Jack Off

Is there a prize for that too? Nerds should do well. Maybe combine both activities. "Oh oh oh, recursive closures, you do it too me baaaadly!"
   

Frist 57op (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29007543)

appeared...saying I don't Swant to

Great accommodation too (3, Interesting)

kickme_hax0r (968593) | more than 5 years ago | (#29007611)

They also put us contestants up in the Novotel Plovdiv, supposedly the flashiest hotel in Plovdiv.

Re:Great accommodation too (0, Troll)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#29007633)

This hotel, is very nice. You stay at most expensive room, daily maid service, free. Also female goat for morning milk and evening enjoyment. Chicken cage available, extra cost, but eggs free.

Re:Great accommodation too (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29007751)

You may be a trollish asshole, but every once in a while you crack me up.

FAIL! Olympiad = time between Olympic Games! (0)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#29007625)

It's a common mistake. But a dumb one. After all they are two different terms.

So when will the games be? Are you telling me, that the organizers themselves are the ones who failed? That would be hilarious! :D

Re:FAIL! Olympiad = time between Olympic Games! (1)

brainfsck (1078697) | more than 5 years ago | (#29007943)

Are you telling me, that the organizers themselves are the ones who failed?

Yes. From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

It is incorrectly named "Olympiad" (the time between two Olympic Games) instead of "International Olympic Games of Informatics".

Re:FAIL! Olympiad = time between Olympic Games! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29008077)

Not quite. From dictionary.com:

2. a celebration of the modern Olympic Games.

learn2english! (4, Informative)

tetromino (807969) | more than 5 years ago | (#29008195)

I quote Collins Essential English Dictionary 2nd Edition 2006 [thefreedictionary.com] :

Olympiad
Noun
1. a staging of the modern Olympic Games
2. an international contest in chess or other games

The word "olympiad" is extremely common in the names of major national and international contests in fields such as mathematics, science, computer science, etc.

Re:FAIL! Olympiad = time between Olympic Games! (2, Informative)

rumith (983060) | more than 5 years ago | (#29008255)

I'm not sure about Bulgarian, but in Russian "Olympiad" (or, rather, Olimpiada) is the word for such a contest, be it school-, city- or worldwide. I perfectly understand that it conflicts the original meaning of the word, but hey, languages do evolve, and sometimes they do due to common misunderstandings or lack of comprehension...

Re:FAIL! Olympiad = time between Olympic Games! (1)

Tuidjy (321055) | more than 5 years ago | (#29008501)

Yeah, it's the same in Bulgarian. By the way, in English, it can also refer to
the contest itself and the nitpickers above are simply wrong.

Look, ma' (-1, Offtopic)

cbraescu1 (180267) | more than 5 years ago | (#29007847)

Look, ma', I'm smart!

USA will lose and... (-1, Troll)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#29007981)

...people (offshore lobbyists?) will use it as proof that we are "getting behind". The truth is the prize money is a smidgen when converted to US cost-of-living rates, and thus there's no real incentive.

Re:USA will lose and... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29008181)

Why the "troll" rating?

Re:USA will lose and... (1)

Niznaika (913305) | more than 5 years ago | (#29008545)

The real incentive is to be one of the best high-schoolers in the world at something you enjoy doing. Also I went to the Olympics because it allowed me to skip some of the other boring classes to allow me to focus on programming. Too bad I never got that far. :) If you're in it _just_ for the money, you're doing it wrong.

Re:USA will lose and... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#29016285)

The real incentive is to be one of the best high-schoolers in the world at something you enjoy doing.

It could also be that US students are more likely to be driven by a "profit motive" (prize money) rather than prestige alone due to our culture. There's also the question of how much prestige such awards have in a given country or culture. US employers seem less enamored by "academic" successes compared to something they see as a more practical test or metric. In Asia, accolades and awards seem to go further. There are too many unknowns to make blanket statements about Americans being "no good".
       

Informatics is a weird word (2, Informative)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 5 years ago | (#29008041)

The French coined "informatique" (which the Germans adopted with a k for last letter) so as not to have to say anything like "Computer Science" (they also called their TV "System Essentially Contrary to American Method" for a reason, you see ;-)).

To assimilate this word back into English which already has a common(-sense) name for the field would probably have made the founding father of Computer Science wonder if he was right about the first part of his famous statement:

What's in your hands, I think and hope, is intelligence:
the ability to see the machine as more than when you were first led up to it, that you can make it more.

Alan J. Perlis

Then again, the use of "Olympiad" (where -cs would finally have been indicated instead) is probably just as questionable.

Re:Informatics is a weird word (3, Interesting)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 5 years ago | (#29008251)

Informatics and their equivalents are used all over Europe, and is a much better description than 'computer science'. Like, how much science is there in 'social science' and 'christian science'? None.

Even in Japanese they call it 'Information Science' (Jyouhou Gakka).

Re:Informatics is a weird word (1)

Vahokif (1292866) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017151)

The problem is that Informatics is vague and includes things like the philosophy of information and communication and (book) library management and such. Computer science isn't really a science as such but at least it's pretty clearly defined as the study of the mathematical underpinnings of computation.

Re:Informatics is a weird word (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#29008491)

Then again, the use of "Olympiad" (where -cs would finally have been indicated instead) is probably just as questionable.

That one's easy: they want to avoid lawsuits for trademark infringement.

Re:Informatics is a weird word (2, Informative)

mindcorrosive (1524455) | more than 5 years ago | (#29008611)

True as it may be, the subject is called really "Informatics" in Bulgaria (I should know, it's my high school major, and I am Bulgarian coincidentally). It is not Computer Science as you understand it, because we didn't study much about e.g. networks, compilers, operating systems and such, but we concentrated really on the fundamentals and theory of programming and related mathematics - writing and testing algorithms, building and testing low-level code in e.g. Pascal or BASIC (on paper, too). Great starter for future programmers, I tell you that. If you haven't written your standard issue quicksort or a customized implementation of Newton's method in 10th grade for a homework assignment, then you wouldn't understand.

As far as "Olympiad" is concerned, the national student competitions between pupils in different schools have been traditionally called "Olympiads". It's a heritage of the olden days of Socialist government, paralleling the Olympic games. We have those in various other fields - mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, etc.

Re:Informatics is a weird word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29008871)

Yeah, I remember my first class in Informatics, in a Bulgarian high school, in the late 90s. There comes this guy, with glasses held together by adhesive tape, and for the next couple of months he teaches us about punch cards and makes us do arithmetic in binary. In the same time, there is a free classroom equipped with perfectly fine Macs in the building. Good times. I guess this shows that geeks spontaneously sprout everywhere.

Re:Informatics is a weird word (1)

anonymousbob22 (1320281) | more than 5 years ago | (#29010589)

True as it may be, the subject is called really "Informatics" in Bulgaria (I should know, it's my high school major, and I am Bulgarian coincidentally). It is not Computer Science as you understand it, because we didn't study much about e.g. networks, compilers, operating systems and such, but we concentrated really on the fundamentals and theory of programming and related mathematics - writing and testing algorithms, building and testing low-level code in e.g. Pascal or BASIC (on paper, too). Great starter for future programmers, I tell you that. If you haven't written your standard issue quicksort or a customized implementation of Newton's method in 10th grade for a homework assignment, then you wouldn't understand.

This is actually what most computer science curriculum covers in the US - the theoretical and algorithmic aspects of programming.

Re:Informatics is a weird word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29008903)

The French coined "informatique" (which the Germans adopted with a k for last letter) so as not to have to say anything like "Computer Science" (they also called their TV "System Essentially Contrary to American Method" for a reason, you see ;-)).

To assimilate this word back into English which already has a common(-sense) name for the field would probably have made the founding father of Computer Science wonder if he was right about the first part of his famous statement:

Huh. So you sneer at the French for their language snobism because they didn't want to "import" an English word, and then complain because people "import" a French word?

That doesn't seem to make much sense.

Re:Informatics is a weird word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29009621)

"Informatics" puts the emphasis on the information, "computer science" on the device. It's a cultural thing. No suprises if the CPU comes from U.S.A. and the Web from Europe.
Also, french don't have computing devices, they have sorting ones ("ordinateurs").
By the way, what most of us do is rather informatics. There are really very little people doing computer _science_, mostly matematicians.

Re:Informatics is a weird word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29016933)

The French coined "informatique" (which the Germans adopted with a k for last letter) so as not to have to say anything like "Computer Science" (they also called their TV "System Essentially Contrary to American Method" for a reason, you see ;-)).

To assimilate this word back into English which already has a common(-sense) name for the field would probably have made the founding father of Computer Science wonder if he was right about the first part of his famous statement:

What's in your hands, I think and hope, is intelligence:

the ability to see the machine as more than when you were first led up to it, that you can make it more.

Alan J. Perlis

Then again, the use of "Olympiad" (where -cs would finally have been indicated instead) is probably just as questionable.

You may want to check who was the inventor of the modern Olympic Games...

The online contest (1)

jonrzl (1315485) | more than 5 years ago | (#29008229)

So did anyone manage do participate in the online contest ? It only shows a blank page to me. Also, what do you think about only allowing 3 languages ? Isn't choosing the best tool available for a task the most important skill for a good programmer ?

Re:The online contest (1)

sydneyfong (410107) | more than 5 years ago | (#29009955)

If you've actually seen the questions, the language does not usually matter.

It's a competition mainly on algorithms. No fancy language features are needed other than the most basic -- basic arithmetic, array manipulation, function calls, and standard I/O. There's usually no need to do even string manipulation. A solution on any popular language would look pretty much the same, and most solutions, even in the verbose Pascal, are within 300 lines of code, so syntactic sugar is not really that important.

However, since the competition is on algorithms, sometimes the program running time limit (i.e. how long your program is allowed to run on a set of input data) is subsecond, which means if you're using an interpreted or JIT-ed language like Perl, Python or Java (with VM) you're at an handicap. Pascal, C and C++ lack this overhead.

Re:The online contest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29049587)

Yeah. And it's considered that C runs a little faster that Pascal--but I'm using pascal.

Testing architecture and design (2, Insightful)

Mindbridge (70295) | more than 5 years ago | (#29008313)

Software Development consists of several relatively independent skills:
    - programming (knowing how to use the tools)
    - algorithms
    - architecture and design
    - knowledge of processes (development methodologies, etc)
    - enabling teamwork (allowing many developers to work together)
etc.

The IOI competition is for high-school students and tests mainly the 'algorithms' aspect.
The ACM competition is for college students and tests mainly the programming aspect. (strange, one would think that the aims of those two would be reversed)

There does not seem to be a big competition for testing the architecture and design abilities, although arguably they are even more important (unless you count the Real World competition). Part of the difficulty perhaps is that it is tricky to come up with an objective measurement. An approach that I have been using is the following:
- give a task and provide plenty of time
- at 50% of the time change the requirements of the task slightly
- at 90% of the time change the requirements significantly
If proper design has been used, then making appropriate modifications would be easy and the task would be accomplished in time. This closely mirrors the situations in reality.

Re:Testing architecture and design (0, Flamebait)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | more than 5 years ago | (#29009133)

If you know your algorithms you can do whatever the fuck you want in informatics (or computer science if you like that term better). All that mambo jumbo about teamwork, architecture and design is something to make people who can't code feel like they know something. I know this sounds like a troll but that's how I feel about this subject.

Re:Testing architecture and design (1)

sydneyfong (410107) | more than 5 years ago | (#29010055)

I agree. I've been involved in these programming competitions, and have met people who basically just knew how to code and do well in these competitions and nothing more.

But when they had to work in the real world, they picked up those other "software development skills" effortlessly.

Re:Testing architecture and design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29077391)

But when they had to work in the real world, they picked up those other "software development skills" effortlessly.

Did you forget to put /sarcasm at the end of that?

Re:Testing architecture and design (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 5 years ago | (#29009261)

Thing is, you really shouldn't forget where this olympiad originated. E.g. when we were in 1st year in highschool (yes, I'm originally from eastern europe) we already through all basics (c64, q, gw, turbo) and were doing pascal and c, later c++, and during highschool years we had plenty of time and requirements (4 hours math/week, 4 hours informatics theory+4 hours practice/week) for coding all kinds of algorithms with math that reached well into university level (in graph theory, numeric algorithms, and so on). The competition to get into such an olympiad was fierce, and the local qualifying rounds sometimes had harder tasks than the competition itself. I also had some book back in the days, which had collections of older tasks given on previous olympiads with solutions and tips :) Where I'm going with this is that when you say the aims of the ioi/acm competitions should be reverse, you should take into consideration their past, and the tradition of teaching stuff in the respective regions.

As the idea about competition in architecture... well, the ones who can't code :P should also have their competition, so why not? :P

Also, when you say that SW Dev. consists of those independent skills, I call bollocks. The "enabling teamwork" part I leave that to the PR dept., the rest should be a mix in every good coder.

Re:Testing architecture and design (1)

Mindbridge (70295) | more than 5 years ago | (#29013263)

> As the idea about competition in architecture... well, the ones who can't code :P should also have their competition, so why not? :P

Heh. I have awards from both IOI and ACM (gold medals, etc) and have significant industry experience, so I feel that I know what I am talking about :)

Most programmers apparently believe that the best way to make a scalable application is to (re)write it in assembler. The responses to my post seem to prove that point. Perhaps architecture/design competition is more necessary than I thought.

Re:Testing architecture and design (1)

JMZero (449047) | more than 5 years ago | (#29017237)

Rewriting in assembler would be a very strange strategy from someone who knew anything about algorithms. If I had two programmers, one of them I thought of as a good "designer" and the other I thought of as a good "algorithms programmer", I would trust the latter more to come up with a scalable solution. I would expect a generally bad solution - like rewriting in assembler - to be much more likely to come from someone who had no experience with algorithm competitions.

Writing scalable algorithms to deal with large inputs is a core task for algorithms competitors, and they're forced to understand the difference between "optimizing" and "achieving better asymptotic complexity".

Re:Testing architecture and design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29020227)

well, me and my colleague are both good programmers - but while he tend to focus more on the details, I tend to focus more on the overall interaction of the system components and their interfaces, this little bias makes our efficiency pretty different in different areas of the project, so I have less difficult on following system wide interaction and he have less difficult in following sequentially complex code path. When creating interfaces for future components, the one I make are more maintainable and less likely to be changed when requirement changes; when we code the actual components, the one he makes are more maintainable and easier to debug.

When a system gets big enough, an architect will be needed even if you feel that only coders are useful for the project. The idea of a competition where requirement changes at the very last of the deadline (without changing the scope of the single component) is an interesting concept, and I would at least give this the benefit of the doubt, without charging headfirst with the idea that code needs only coders.

special olympiad (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29008359)

I look forward to the Special Informatics Olympiad. Especially for all those WTFers who have no natural ability to code, and so have to scratch out a living in eCommerce. It would be good to see them honored.

Really difficult algoritmic programming (1)

Co0Ps (1539395) | more than 5 years ago | (#29009379)

As a contestent in the IOI in Egypt last year I can tell you that the problems you're solving are really, really hard. I estimate that more than 50% of all professional (working) programmers wouldn't be able to solve even one of them. This is becouse this is algoritmic performance programming and not generic functional one.

To make up the problems they usually take one or more generic problems (like maximum flow), then they add an additional twist that makes the implementation non-trivial. So first of all you have to had solved similar problems and know the algorithm. If you don't you might go for the brute force solution that usually gives you 10-30/100 points. However, the brute force solution usually takes a long time to construct, therefore it's all about planning.

You have 6 hours and 3 problems. If you think you can do a problem the "real" way, you better be damn sure, unless you want to waste time on thinking and writing useless code. Usually the problems are constructed so that you are tricked to belive they are much more trivial than they actually are when you analyze them. That got me several times. Spending ~3 hours to construct an algorithm that completed the "testing" test case but failed most/all test cases that gave points.

One guy in our team had a great strategy. He ignored in depth analyzation and started writing a brute forcer as soon as he understood the problem. This way he was guaranteed 10-30 points per problem, and usually when writing a brute forcer, you get to understand the problem so well that you can make improvements or even write the correct solution for it.

I was amazed that a 13 year old earned a gold medal the last year. That means he's probably better on algoritmic programming than 99% of the readers of slashdot.

I wish all contestants this year the best of luck.

Re:Really difficult algoritmic programming (1)

sydneyfong (410107) | more than 5 years ago | (#29010111)

Sometimes coding brute force solutions don't work :) I've seen those problems before, those where you don't even have an idea how to brute force the sample test case.

And getting 10-30 per task isn't going to earn you a medal, last I checked. But then if I have free time during the 5-6 hour competition, I'd try that as a last resort.

-- IOI2003 participant :)

Re:Really difficult algoritmic programming (1)

Co0Ps (1539395) | more than 5 years ago | (#29011913)

Actually he got a bronze with that strategy, but then again he was able to write a better than bruteforce on one or two problems. Possibly thanks to understanding the problem better brute forcing it.

Re:Really difficult algoritmic programming (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 5 years ago | (#29010151)

There's an h in algorithm ;)

I don't quite understand the IOI's emphasis on rote memorization of algorithms ... how well do you think you would be able to do after a few years without reference materials?

Re:Really difficult algoritmic programming (1)

Co0Ps (1539395) | more than 5 years ago | (#29011881)

Yeah, tbh I don't understand the deal is with memorization either. You still need to understand the algorithm and how it can be applied to the problem so I wouldn't call it cheating or using irrelevant skills to have a reference material to the common algorithms.

Re:Really difficult algoritmic programming (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#29014223)

"One guy in our team had a great strategy. He ignored in depth analyzation and started writing a brute forcer as soon as he understood the problem. This way he was guaranteed 10-30 points per problem, and usually when writing a brute forcer, you get to understand the problem so well that you can make improvements or even write the correct solution for it."

That's why this is one of the approach I like:

1. Implement quick-and-dirty code. You'd encounter good part of issues, both anticipated and unforeseen.
2. Rewrite it in cleaner architecture.

Not always feasible/applicable though.

A great programming motivator (1)

Dasuraga (1147871) | more than 5 years ago | (#29019693)

I tried out for the french IOI team this year(didn't make it of course, or else I wouldn't be looking at this I think), and really enjoyed myself just for the workshop and the tryouts. The other guys at the workshop were there obviously to find potential members, but firstly just to teach us programming skills. Not things like how to make a guess game or whatnot, but to learn "useful" skills, namely algorithms, complexity, and problem solving. They also have a site [france-ioi.org] with programming tutorials that don't go too indepth in terms of language, but have very indepth algorithm explanations(which is good considering that most "my first programming book"s don't even bother with algos). I can't really vouch for other IOI teams' preparedness and teaching abilities(USACO has a training site though I don't know how well made it is), I can say that that experience really motivated me for the coming years.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>