Monday 8 July is the International Olympiad in Informatics’ first exam and tensions are running high.
Students from all over the world poured into the UQ Centre for the competition’s practice session, an opportunity for the competitors to test out the equipment given and attempt a number of practice questions.
Executive Director of the Australian Maths Trust, Adjunct Professor Mike Clapper, said although Australia is up against some tough competition, he is confident the boys will do well.
“I think we’ve got a good team; I think there’s very strong opposition from around the world but I’m sure our young members will do the country proud,” he said.
“There are some traditionally strong countries, [such as] Korea, China, Russia and America that the team is up against.”
Intensive examination-style questions drafted up by the IOI Scientific Committee for the practice session will hopefully allow the Australian team to gauge the competition, however not all teams approach the session in the same way.
“Some teams go into the practice session and try to get all the questions done and treat it like a proper exam; others like to work out the kinks in the system and make sure they understand how the system works,” said Christopher Chen, a former Australian IOI gold medalist and member of the Host Science Committee.
Mr Chen admits to being a little too cautious last year, preparing the team for all kinds of questions and problems.
“Last time I was at the IOI with the Australian team, I made them print out a 70-page document, just to know what would happen in that contingency.”
Australian team members Joshua Lau and Michael Chen took part in the 2012 Olympiad in Italy, achieving a silver and bronze medal respectively.
Johnny Ho from the United States of America is considered by many here to be the favourite for the gold medal.