4 July 2013

The University of Queensland this week welcomes more than 600 people from 80 countries for one of the world’s most elite informatics competitions.

This year's International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) will be hosted for the first time in Australia at UQ’s St Lucia campus in Brisbane for a week from Saturday (July 6).

About 300 high school students will compete for Olympiad medals. A further 300 teachers, academics and team leaders also will travel to Brisbane for the event.

Informatics is the science of computer programming and encompasses human-computer interaction, mathematics, information processing and information systems.

UQ Acting President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said she was delighted that the University was hosting such a prestigious event that promoted skills that are so essential to our future.

“Australia needs to increase its emphasis on informatics in the secondary school curriculum, and hosting the IOI will raise the profile of this important discipline,” Professor Terry said.

“Countries in Eastern Europe and Asia have really grasped the importance of informatics, and have been teaching the topic in secondary school for some time.

“On behalf of UQ, I welcome these budding computer scientists to the University and to Brisbane.”

The UK-based president of the IOI, Richard Forster, said the study of informatics was increasingly relevant and imperative for secondary students.

“Informatics is integral to the information economy which drives the global marketplace and is the basis of contemporary society,” Dr Forster said.

The IOI is the most recently established broad-based Olympiad of the UNESCO-sanctioned International Science and Mathematics Olympiads held worldwide annually for exceptionally talented secondary school students who represent the pinnacle of achievement in each discipline.

The IOI is the second largest of the UNESCO Olympiads and is hosted by a different country each year.

Contestants must solve six mathematical tasks over two intense days.

Students are required to program computer algorithms to solve the tasks which are written and voted on by the IOI community.

Nations including Japan, Poland, USA, United Kingdom, Kuwait, Tunisia and Venezuela are among those sending teams – comprising a maximum of four competitors. However each student competes as an individual.

The IOI 2013 is jointly organised by UQ and the Australian Mathematics Trust.

Advice on media opportunities for Olympiad video and interviews available next week.
Contact: Ms Aarti Kapoor, UQ School of Mathematics and Physics, +61 (0) 449 863 208, a.kapoor@uq.edu.au