Ten Students Prepare for British Informatics Olympiad
By Daria G and Zara D, Year 10
Last week ten students took part in the British Informatics Olympiad (BIO), an annual national computer programming competition. It is a three hour exam that includes three difficult programming challenges.
This year we have been preparing some students to take part in the BIO by running fortnightly sessions with Luke Pebody. Luke Pebody is a mathematician, programmer and former lecturer at Cambridge University. He was invited to Cambridge University aged 14, making him one of the youngest Cambridge undergraduates. In these sessions we ran through past BIO papers and practised using our problem solving and programming skills in order to complete the challenges. Luke showed us how to make our code more efficient and prevent delays as well as helping us learn how to start coding and interpreting questions.
Problem-solving, time management, and perseverance were the main qualities that the sessions in preparation for the BIO helped us to strengthen and apply for tackling challenging problems. We found each session rewarding, as it gave us a sense of satisfaction from learning new techniques for building and implementing algorithms, and from seeing how our ideas were turned into working scripts, using Python libraries and user functions. Last, but not least, patience was key, as we learned how to debug our codes, in order to make our design become functional, accurate, and elegant. A huge thank you to Luke for his invaluable support and advice.
On Friday the 14th January 2022, we sat this year’s BIO paper, in which there were three questions; overall we particularly enjoyed an encryption question, which required us to create a code to decrypt inputs. We also attempted partial solutions to the second question, requiring implementation, and to the third question, requiring problem-solving. We are looking forward to the continuation of the BIO preparation sessions, in order to strengthen our skills and implementation techniques.Back to news