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 prizes including 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 competitors are invited to the BIO final in Cambridge during the Easter holidays. The best four make up the team to represent Britain at the IOI. The next IOI will be held in 2010 in Canada.

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 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. We are always keen to hear from companies and organisations interested in supporting the BIO. Since 2002, the principal sponsor of the BIO is the London-based company Lionhead Studios, the leading video-games developer.

Other competitions

A similar competition in computer programming exists for students in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. About 85 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.

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.

Contacting the BIO organisers.
Return to the BIO home.

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