Team SA shines at informatics contest

International Olympiad in Informatics team David Broodryk, Yaseen Mowzer, Bronson Rudner and Ralph McDougall represented South Africa in Tehran.

UCT students who took part in the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) in Tehran which ended on Friday August 4, brought home bronze medals, finishing ahead of Morocco, Nigeria, and Tunisia.

Medal winners David Broodryk who previously attended Westerford High School, Yaseen Mowzer who attended Fairbairn College, Bronson Rudner who went to SACS and Ralph McDougall who is still in Grade 11 at Curro, Durbanville, formed part of the team that represented South Africa.

They were also the only African team to bring home medals from Tehran.

The IOI is organised annually by one of the participating countries and each country sends four contestants and two accompanying adults to the host country. Pupils then compete individually solving a set of informatics problems during two competition days.

Contestants have to show basic IT skills such as problem analysis, design of algorithms and data structures, programming and testing. The winners of the IOI belong to the best young computer scientists in the world.

The primary goal of the IOI is to generate interest in computing science and information technology. The pupils from various countries are also able to share scientific and cultural experiences.

“The questions were tougher than the questions of previous years. It was a little disheartening to sit a five-hour contest and scored what seemed like so few points, so slowly. However, after the contest, we realized that we performed well relative to the other contestants,” said Yaseen.

Bronson agreed that this year’s competition was tougher than in previous years but said that he was proud of the team’s performance and their accomplishment.

“I felt extremely honoured to take part in the IOI in Tehran.

“Iran was a wonderful host and while the questions proved tougher this year, I feel the team persevered and achieved remarkable results,” he said.

The team were trained by UCT Science undergraduate student, Robin Visser who was an IOI bronze medal winner in 2015 in Kazakhstan and an IOI Deputy Team Leader in 2016 and 2017.

Ralph is hoping to earn a place in the South Africa team to Japan in 2018. The first step for selection is round one of the South African Computer Programming Olympiad. This is a free one-hour online contest run at schools at any time between Monday August 14 and Friday August 18.

A school may enter the Programming Olympiad via the website www.olympiad.org.za, or by emailing the SA Computer Olympiad office on info@olympiad.org.za, or by calling 021 448 7864 between 8am and 4pm.