The International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) is a yearly IT competition for students. The first IOI took place in 1989. The competition has its own flag with logo and an official site ioinformatics.org, as well as its own theoretical and practical conference and scientific journal included in the international database of peer-reviewed literature Scopus.
The IOI is one of the yearly international student Olympiads in the sciences, alongside competitions in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy and geography. Every year Russian students participate in each of these competitions.
The idea of an international student Olympiad in informatics was first proposed in October 1987 at the 24th UNESCO General Conference by the Bulgarian representative Professor Blagovest Sendov. In May 1989, UNESCO initiated and sponsored the first IOI, which took place in Bulgaria that same year.
The main objective of the IOI is to promote an interest in IT among students and to develop IT on the school curriculum. Another important goal is to bring together talented students from different countries and enable them to share scientific and cultural experiences. The IOI is governed by the IOI International Committee and the President of the Olympiad, both of whom are elected by the IOI General Assembly. Each year the Chairman of the IOI is appointed from the country in which the Olympiad will take place.
Scientific support for the IOI is provided by the International Scientific Committee, while technical maintenance of the competition’s program systems is handled by the International Technical Committee. The IOI is held in one of the participant countries. Countries bid to host an Olympiad 4 years prior to its start date. Each Olympiad takes place at the end of summer, and lasts for 7 days. The competition rounds happen over two days, with the rest devoted to a visit from the delegations, a programme of excursions and educational activities, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympiad.
Each country participating at the IOI submits a team of four students, a team leader and a deputy team leader. All team leaders are members of the IOI General Assembly. Currently more than 300 students take part in the Olympiad every year, with more countries scheduled to join. Students participate on an individual basis, with their cumulative scores over the two competition rounds being used to rank them on a list of participants. All the computer terminals have identical specifications, and each round comprises three algorithmic tasks, the solutions to which are to be presented on computer in the competition system. Each solution requires problem analysis, the development of algorithms and a data structure, as well as the development and testing of programs. Competition winners are awarded gold medals and are chosen from those finishing in the top 8% on the final rankings. The highest ranked student overall is declared the absolute world champion and receives a special prize from the IOI. Gold-medallists are internationally recognised as the best junior specialists in the field of IT. The next groups of participants according to the rankings are awarded silver and bronze medals, depending on their scores. Overall, half of the participants at the IOI will receive medals.