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

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

Cream of British students seek gold in South Africa at International Computing Competition


Four of the UK's brightest computing students are travelling to Cape Town this weekend to represent Britain at the prestigious International Olympiad in Informatics. Chosen from over 450 entrants from 67 schools and colleges who entered the British Informatics Olympiad, the team are ready to face students from over sixty other countries competing for medals in computing excellence. Their trip will be expenses-paid, thanks to sponsorship by Data Connection, a world-leading UK software development company.


This weekend, the four talented students are travelling to represent Britain at the 9th International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), this year held in Cape Town. Starting on 30 November, the IOI consists of two tough days during which the contestants must write computer programs to solve difficult problems. The rest of the week-long event consists of socialising and cultural visits, including visits to one of the most beautiful cities in the southern hemisphere and a tour of the exotic Cape peninsula.

The team, all aged between 17-18, 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 in April, held at Christ's College, Cambridge, 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.

Announcing the winners of the British Informatics Olympiad, Clive Partridge, a director of Data Connection, 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, Mohan Ganesalingam, Simon Nickerson, and Stephen Williams. Robert took part in the BIO whilst studying A-levels at Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College in Leicester, where he lives. He is now a first-year computing student at Southampton University. Mohan Ganesalingam, who is from Cambridge, is now in the final year of A-levels at Westminster College and is hoping to go on to study Maths at Cambridge University. Simon Nickerson, who lives in Milton Keynes, is in the final year of A-levels at Bedford School and is also hoping to study Maths at Cambridge University. Stephen Williams took part in the BIO while studying A-levels at Torquay Boys' Grammar School; he is now studying Computation at Oxford University.

Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College is a state sixth form and FE college. Westminster College and Bedford School are independent secondary schools. Torquay Boys' Grammar School is a state grammar school.

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)
Becky Lloyd
Data Connection Limited
100 Church Street, Enfield EN2 6BQ
Phone: 0181 366 1177
Fax: 0181 363 2927
E-mail: http://www.dataconnection.com/


Copyright-free photographs of the team and finalists are available from the Chairman or from the BIO Website (see below). There will be an opportunity for press representatives to meet the team before their departure, at the London Heathrow Air France check-in desks, at Terminal 2, at 4.00pm on Saturday 29 November.

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 over 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 and vacation work to exceptional students.

The British Informatics Olympiad