[BIO98 Logo] The British Informatics Olympiad
Sponsored by Data Connection.
[Data Connection logo]

Press release
5 April 1998
For immediate publication
BIO'98 - the national computing competition for schools

Top young programmers going for Olympic gold


This weekend a group of 15 outstanding young programmers pitted their wits against each other in the 16th century halls of Christ's College, Cambridge. The event was the final of a challenging and innovative competition for young students - the British Informatics Olympiad. They were picked for the final in a tough selection from 900 pupils in 150 schools nationwide.

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


This weekend, 15 talented students from across the UK came to Christ's College, Cambridge, for the final of the 1998 British Informatics Olympiad (BIO). What followed was a hard-fought competition for places on the team to represent Britain at the 10th International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), this year held alongside Expo'98 in Portugal, in September.

The finalists, aged 16-18, were selected from the 150 UK schools who took part in BIO'98. In the first round of the BIO they faced tasks including modelling the flight of the Tamworth Two, creating Roman numerals and programming a computer to solve mathematical problems called Cryptarithms (such as "SEND+MORE=MONEY"). In the final their capabilities were really stretched with written problems on searching for the differences between texts and how to assess BIO problems, and programming tasks including dominoes, cutting pieces from a pattern, and finding a way round a railway network. 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. Colin Dancer, a director of Data Connection, awarded the prizes. He said, "Data Connection is proud to sponsor BIO'98. 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'98 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: James Lingard, Hills Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge; Luke Halliwell, Madras College, St Andrew's; Mohan Ganesalingam, Westminster School, London; and Nicholas Jones, The Judd School, Tonbridge.

A reserve was also chosen: Thomas Barnet-Lamb, Culford School, Bury St Edmunds.

The other finalists were: Charles Thomson and James Shotton, Magdalen College School; Geraint North, King Edward VI School Chelmsford; Matthew Chamberlain, Reading School; Matthew Williams, Haileybury School; Paul Carr, Runshaw College; Paul Johnston, Manchester Grammar School; Robert Twells, Luton Sixth Form College; Simon Nickerson, Bedford School; Tom Denley, Truro College; and Tom Fraser, Aylesbury 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 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.

If you are publishing a link to the BIO website, please use the location http://www.christs.cam.ac.uk/bio/ - please note that this is case sensitive.


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, in the Easter holidays. 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. BIO'98 is sponsored by Data Connection, one of the UK's most successful software development companies. Founded in 1981, Data Connection now has 170 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.

The British Informatics Olympiad