2012 Olympiad Finalists are Multilingual

Most of the Finalists in the 2012 of the Standard Bank/Computer Society of South Africa Programming Olympiad used Python – a programming language not even taught at schools.

Of the fourteen Finalists in this year’s Computer Programming Olympiad, nine used languages that are not even taught at schools.  One used C++ and the other eight used Python.  The remaining five Finalists used Java.  Both Python and Java are computer languages that are available free of charge.  Python is the language used by Mark Shuttleworth to write the program that made him a multi-billionaire.

Comments Peter Waker, Manager of the Programming Olympiad: “Once a learner has mastered one programming language, the next one seems to be much easier.  It is a fact that knowing more languages is a great advantage in the industry.”

The multi-lingual approach is now followed by most schools.  Learners start programming in a language called SCRATCH in grade 10 and then progress to Java or Delphi depending on the province and school.  One grade 10 learner, Dehan Opperman of Middelburg Technical High School in Mpumalanga succeeded in solving three of the five problems using SCRATCH.  Comments Mark Danoher who helped to set the questions:  “We knew it could be done, we just never expected a grade 10 to do it.  Unfortunately three out of five is not good enough to make it to the Finals.  However, we hope to see Dehan at the Finals next year.”

One grade 10 learner who is coming to the Finals is Darren Roos of the Pretoria Chinese School.  He used Python to solve four of the five problems and will be the youngest participant at this year’s Finals.

Ros(e) among the Thorns
For reasons that are not fully understood yet, few girls make it to the Finals of the Programming Olympiad – not only in South Africa, but internationally as well.  Renette Ros of the Oos-Moot High School in Pretoria will be the only girl at the Finals.  She will be joined by two other learners from Gauteng – Darren Roos and Grant Zietsman from Pretoria Boys’ High.

The Eastern Cape will be represented by Michael-Jon Rosslee of St Andrew’s College and Stephen Barnes and Shaylan Lalloo, both of Pearson High.

Provincial stars
KwaZulu-Natal also has three learners in the Finals: Muhammad Ikram and Dawood Kamdar, both from the Orient Islamic School, and Sean Markham from Michaelhouse.

Five learners from the Western Cape made it into the Finals:Johannes Gericke of De Kuilen High in Kuilsrivier, Paul le Roux of Parel Vallei High in Somerset West, Guy Paterson-Jones of Bishops (Diocesan College) in Rondebosch, Robert Spencer of Westerford High in Rondebosch and Reuben Steenekamp of Reddam House in Constantia.

The Finals will be held at the University of Cape Town from 6 to 7 October and the results will be announced at an awards function on 8 October.

Below is the list of the Top 14 students who have been invited to the Final Round of the Programming Olympiad.

Stephen Barnes 12 Pearson High EC Python
Johannes Gericke 12 De Kuilen High WC Java
Muhammad Ikram 12 Orient Islamic KZN Java
Dawood Kamdar 12 Orient Islamic KZN Java
Shaylan Lalloo 11 Pearson High EC Python
Paul le Roux 12 Parel Vallei High WC Java
Sean Markham 12 Michaelhouse KZN Python
Guy Paterson-Jones 11 Bishops WC C++
Darren Roos 10 Pretoria Chinese School GT Python
Renette Ros 12 Oos-Moot High GT Python
Michael-Jon Rosslee 12 St Andrew’s College EC Java
Robert Spencer 12 Westerford High EC Python
Reuben Steenekamp 10 Reddam House WC Python
Grant Zietsman 12 Pretoria Boys’ High GT Python