Since 1997, each year the Association France-IOI builds young computer enthusiasts and trains them for the Olympiads. Here is an interview with Mathias Hiron, president of the association that coaches about fifteen young students voluntarily at EPITA Graduate School of Computer Science- in collaboration with Mehdi Bouaziz and Arthur Charguéraud.
The IOI (International Olympiads in Informatics) is an annual, international competition in computer science specifically on algorithms, he says. Every year a country welcomes delegations of about 280 candidates for a week, from 70 participating countries. The competition itself consists of two tests of five hours, each consisiting of 3 algorithmic problems. The rest of the week is devoted to entertainment activities and discovering the local culture.
Participants are middle or high school students (under 19) who come during the holidays on EPITA’s campus (Paris – France), training intensively in an amphitheater. The school administration welcomes them from Sunday to the next Saturday; the rest is at their charge. Following six days of intensive training and exercises, the best are selected and will have a chance of an fully paid trip to Candada in mid August, after Bulgaria in 2009. Beyond the selection for the competition, the aim of the association is to give a helping hand to young enthusiasts of algorithms.
The results of the team are in constant progression: After the first two bronze medals in Beijing in 2000 (Pierre Palatin et Arthur Meunier), and a third in Finland in 2001 (Guillaume Ryder) it’s money that was awarded to France in 2002 in South Korea (Benjamin Gaillard). The progression continues inexorably: a silver medal (Lucien Pech) and a bronze (Benoît Roche) in the United States in 2003 and three bronze medals in Athens in 2004 (Mehdi Bouaziz, Lucien Pech and Nicolas Bonifas). In Poland in 2005, France obtained its first gold medal (Mehdi Bouaziz) and a silver medal and one bronze. Finally, for the first time in 2009, all the four team candidates won a medal."