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Programming Education IT Technology Science

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

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Monday August 10, 2009 @02:41AM (#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.

  • by Mindbridge ( 70295 ) on Monday August 10, 2009 @03:07AM (#29008313) Homepage

    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)

    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.

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle