[BIO97 Logo] The British Informatics Olympiad
Sponsored by Data Connection.
[Data Connection logo]

Press release
13 April 1997
For immediate publication
BIO'97 - the national computing competition for schools

Cream of British Students go for gold in
international computing competition


A meeting of the old and the new took place this weekend as the 16th century halls of Christ's College, Cambridge played host to one of the most exciting and innovative competitions for young students - the British Informatics Olympiad. Fresh talent came in the form of twelve of the UK's brightest computing students, chosen from over 450 entrants from 67 schools.

The four winners will form a team to compete in the Olympic games of computing, this year held in South Africa. Their trip will be expenses-paid, thanks to sponsorship by Data Connection, a world-leading UK software development company.


This weekend, twelve talented students from across the UK came to Christ's College, Cambridge, for the final of the 1997 British Informatics Olympiad (BIO). What followed was a hard-fought competition for places on the team to represent Britain at the 9th International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), this year held in Cape Town, South Africa, at the beginning of December.

The finalists, aged 15-18, were selected from the 67 UK schools who took part in BIO'97. In the first round of the BIO they faced tasks including making a computer play the game Reversi ('Othello') and solving problems with ancient Egyptian arithmetic. In the final their capabilities were really stretched with written problems on searching for text and playing chess, and programming tasks including a 3-D maze and creating crosswords. Even the very best found it hard to solve all the problems in the limited time available.

The winners have just been announced at today's presentation ceremony. Clive Partridge, a director of Data Connection, awarded the prizes. He said, "Data Connection is proud to sponsor BIO'97. As one of the UK's most successful software development companies, we base our success on recruiting exceptionally talented people and training them to become world-class software developers, managers and marketeers. BIO'97 has succeeded in attracting some of the country's brightest and best young computing students. The IOI team is a formidable collection of talent - exactly the sort of people we recruit as both pre-university and full-time employees."

The team members are to be: Robert Brady, Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College; Mohan Ganesalingam, Westminster College; Simon Nickerson, Bedford School; Stephen Williams, Torquay Boys' Grammar School.

A reserve was also chosen: Colin Towers, Whitgift School.

The other finalists were: Anthony Bowker, Bablake School; Tom Fraser and Mark Gardner, Aylesbury Grammar School; Paul Johnston, Manchester Grammar School; James Lingard, Hills Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge; Chris Rutter, Winchester College; Gavin Winston, Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe.

Further information

More information on the BIO may be obtained from:

Antony Rix
Chairman, the British Informatics Olympiad
Christ's College, Cambridge CB2 3BU
Phone: 01223 277 837 or 01473 644 339.
E-mail: (see contact details from home page)
Justine McLennan
Data Connection Limited
100 Church Street, Enfield EN2 6BQ
Phone: 0181 366 1177
Fax: 0181 363 1468
E-mail: http://www.dataconnection.com/


Copyright-free photographs of the team and finalists are available from the Chairman.

Internet resources

The BIO publishes a large amount of information on the Internet. For details of the BIO and related material, take a look at the BIO Index.


Background Information

The British Informatics Olympiad

The British Informatics Olympiad (BIO) is an annual competition in computer programming for secondary schools and sixth form colleges. Any student who is under 19, in full time pre-university education and resident in mainland Britain, is eligible to take part and may win the prize of an expenses-paid trip to the prestigious International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI). The first stage of the BIO is a three-hour exam, taken at school, in which students solve problems with the aid of a computer. These are marked by a teacher and submitted for moderation. Based on the results of this exam, the top 12-15 competitors are invited to the BIO final at Christ's College, Cambridge, just after Easter. The best four make up the team to represent Britain at the IOI in Cape Town, South Africa.

Organisation and aims

The BIO is a non-profit making organisation founded in 1995, aiming to encourage students to take an active interest in information technology, to allow them to meet and exchange ideas, and to give the best the chance to compete at the annual International Olympiad in Informatics.

In order to make the BIO as inclusive as possible, it is free to enter. This can only be achieved thanks to the aid of commercial sponsorship. BIO'97 is sponsored by Data Connection, one of the UK's most successful software development companies. Founded in 1981, Data Connection now has 160 employees. The company's outstanding success has been driven by a total commitment to quality and a high level of business generated overseas. Data Connection recruit world-class graduates, and offer pre-university work and vacation work to exceptional students.

Other competitions

A similar competition in computer programming exists for students in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. About 60 countries participate in the IOI; many national competitions have Internet pages which may be found through the International Olympiad in Informatics.

A number of other programming competitions take place world-wide, including the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest for university students. In the UK, the BCS Programming Competition is open to teams of up to five members aged under 30.

Informatics is only one of several International Science Olympiads. Similar competitions exist in Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology, and were formed as a result of UNESCO initiatives.

The British Informatics Olympiad