The IOI is (not) a science olympiad

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  • Article: The IOI is (not) a science olympiad
  • Author(s): Tom Verhoeff
  • Journal: Informatics in Education 5 (2006), no. 1, 147-159
  • Conference: Perspectives on computer science competitions for (high school) students

Abstract: The International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) aspires to be a science olympiad alongside such international olympiads in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. Informatics as a discipline is well suited to a scientific approach and it offers numerous possibilities for competitions with a high scientific standing. We argue that, in its current form, the IOI fails to be scientific in the way it evaluates the work of the contestants.

In this paper, we describe the major ingredients of the IOI to guide further discussions. By presenting the results of an extensive analysis of two IOI competition tasks, we hope to create an awareness of the urgency to address the shortcomings. We offer some suggestions to raise the scientific quality of the IOI.

Keywords: informatics competitions, programming contests, computer science

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