[BIO Logo] The British Informatics Olympiad is
the computing competition for schools and colleges.
We are proud to present BIO 2003, sponsored by Lionhead Studios.
Sponsored by Lionhead Studios

Press release
14 April 2003
For immediate publication
BIO 2003 - the national computing competition for schools

Four solve scary problem to make British team


This weekend 16 of the UK's top students battled it out to solve computer programming tasks, such as finding scary numbers and solving the traffic problems of tranquil villages, at the final of the British Informatics Olympiad held at Fitzwilliam College and Trinity College, Cambridge. This challenging competition brings together the finest students at schools and colleges nationwide. The four winners go on to try their skills at the Olympic games of computing, the prestigious International Olympiad in Informatics, hosted by the USA in August this year.

The BIO and the team's travel is made possible by the financial support of Lionhead Studios, the UK's leading videogames developer. The BIO is assisted and endorsed by e-competitions, which is supported by the DTI and DFEE.


The 2003 British Informatics Olympiad began with a competition open to all schools and colleges around Britain. Students from about 80 schools took a 3 hour paper in which they faced tasks including checking book ISBNs, modelling ripples, and sorting numbers in an unusual way.

At the final, held this weekend at Fitzwilliam College and Trinity College in Cambridge, their capabilities were really stretched with written problems on playing pinball and compressing text, followed by programming tasks including sorting out the scribblings of mathematicians, stopping scaffolding from falling down. None of the students were able to solve all of the problems in the time available - though several got close.

The top four will form the British team for 2003. Accompanied by two team leaders, they will travel in August to represent Britain at the 15th International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), this year held in the USA.

The team members are to be:

One reserve was also chosen:

The other finalists were:

Tim Rance, a director of Lionhead, said "We were very impressed with the extremely high standard of the all competitors and feel that a very strong team has been selected for the internation final. Lionhead is proud to be able to sponsor the BIO team and promote the excellence that exists at school level within the British computing fraternity."

The team and reserve are pictured below (from left to right): Mark Thompson, Jack Young (reserve), Paul Jefferys, Adam Bull, Giles Edkins, Tim Rance (Lionhead).

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: 07730 426 250.
E-mail: (see contact details from home page)
Cathy Campos
Panache PR
Phone: (01483) 401000


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.

If you are publishing a link to the BIO website, please use the location http://www.christs.cam.ac.uk/bio/


Background Information

The British Informatics Olympiad

The British Informatics Olympiad (BIO) is an annual competition in computer programming for students at secondary schools and sixth form/FE 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 15-20 competitors are invited to the BIO final in Cambridge, over the Easter holiday. The best four make up the team to represent Britain at the IOI.

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. The 2003 British Informatics Olympiad is sponsored by Lionhead Studios, who are widely regarded as the leading videogames developer in the UK, in an industry where the UK leads the world. The company's first game, Black & White, won many awards including 2 BAFTAs and topped the charts with a concept that changed gaming forever. Lionhead and its three satellite developers are currently creating a new generation of innovative videogames for all the major platforms.

The British Informatics Olympiad