Computer Scientists Compete in the British Informatics Olympiad (BIO)
By Derya S (Year 12), Anna W (Year 12) and Daria G (Year 11)
Last week, NHEHS Computer Scientists took part in the British Informatics Olympiad (BIO), a yearly competition that allows participants to test their skills in computational problem solving.
With programming foundations taught through the curriculum and preparation sessions with Dr Pebody, students set to work on the tasks, interpreting the problem, and developing their algorithms. Although the Olympiad lasts a possibly daunting three hours for three questions, students found that by embracing its challenges and trying to tackle the puzzles, time passes very quickly giving them a fun experience where they can explore concepts they may otherwise have never heard of.
Here’s what some of the participants this year had to say:
Derya: The BIO is a fun and engaging way to test your skills in computational problem solving. The BIO encourages you to think outside the box and try new approaches to problems. It’s also a great way for you to reflect on your development in coding and see just how far you’ve come. It’s definitely an exciting experience that everyone should try!
Anna: The British Informatics Olympiad is a notoriously challenging competition which takes place every year where we get the chance to test out our problem-solving skills and how we can apply our current knowledge of programming. This year the first question was primarily focused on the Fibonacci sequence and how this could be converted into Zeckendorf – I can say that this sounds just as complicated as it is! It was a challenge at first but once you began to apply some of your own contextual knowledge it became easier and more enjoyable. We had a maximum of 3 hours to throw everything together to try and formulate a solution to the 3 questions and although this sounds like plenty of time, it went by very quickly! Overall, it was a great experience where we got to apply some of our own logical reasoning skills and of course apply the concepts we have learnt in class. It is a challenge that I would definitely recommend to everyone!
Daria: This year, the British Informatics Olympiad offered a wonderful set of multifaceted problems, inviting a variety of creative solutions. With the foundation of the curriculum and previous preparation sessions organised by the Computer Science department, we set to work on the tasks, interpreting the problem, developing our algorithms, and implementing and testing our programs. The BIO provides a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in a journey of discovering new approaches to build algorithms and uncovering further dimensions of one’s interaction with Python. Although the Olympiad lasts a possibly daunting three hours for three questions, I found that by embracing its challenges and trying to tackle the puzzles which may not at first inspire a clear solution, it flies by and serves as a fun experience.
If you are planning to participate next year, you may wish to have a go at the past problems on the BIO website.