Computer Whizzes go to Bulgaria

A South African Team to take part in the 2009 International Olympiad in Informatics in Bulgaria has been announced.

The team will compete with young people from 80 other countries for Gold, Silver and Bronze in computer programming.

After winning through a rigorous four-stage selection process which started in April 2008 with 23 000 participants in the First Round of the Standard Bank/CSSA Computer Olympiad, four of the best young programmers have been selected. They are:

Francois Conradie – De Kuilen High School, Kuils River (Grade 12)
Schalk-Willem Krüger – Ferdinand Postma High School, Potchefstroom (Grade 12)
Graham Manuell – De La Salle Holy Cross College, Johannesburg (Grade 12)
Kosie van der Merwe – Brackenfell High School, Western Cape (Grade 12)

The reserves are:
Gwylim Ashley – Oakhill School, Knysna (Grade 12)
Michiel Baird – Elspark High School, Johannesburg (now 1st year at UCT)

The Standard Bank/CSSA Computer Olympiad which serves as the selection vehicle for the team to take part in the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) invites participation from all high schools in South Africa. The four team members and reserves were part of the close on 23 000 participants in the First Round, 2 714 participants in the Second Round and 13 participants in the Third Round in 2008. The finalists from 2008 received further training during 2009 before the team of four was selected to go to the International Olympiad in Informatics.

The Team Leaders will be Peter Waker, Manager of the Olympiad and Max Rabkin, of the Committee that sets the Olympiad questions.

For the first time ever the IOI team consists solely of Grade 12 learners. This means that all this year’s participants could qualify for next year’s event.

Francois Conradie was the winner of the Standard Bank Trophy for the highest score and the Gold Medal in the 2008 Computer Olympiad, while he was a Grade 11 learner at De Kuilen High, Kuils River. He also won a R30 000 prize for being the highest scoring Python user last year.

He entered the Computer Olympiad for the challenge and for the development it offers.

He is a prefect and a member of his school’s 1st Hockey team. Among his other interests are the NFL, the Premier League and the NBA.

Schalk-Willem Krüger won Bronze Medals in the 2007 and 2008 Computer Olympiad – as well as a R10 000 prize as a Python user. He was a member of the team that took part in the 2008 International Olympiad in Informatics in Egypt. He is currently in Grade 12 at Ferdinand Postma High in Potchefstroom.

Schalk-Willem, who took part in the Olympiad to develop his programming skills, was the youngest finalist in 2006 and again in 2007.

Kosie van der Merwe won a Silver Medal in the 2008 Computer Olympiad while in Grade 11 at Brackenfell High School.
He has a string of Olympiad experiences in Maths having participated in the Mathematics Olympiad for 4 years, and in the International Maths Olympiad for 3 years.

Graham Manuell is a Grade 12 learner at De La Salle Holy Cross College. He was also a Computer Olympiad finalist in 2008.