Dr Bernard Blackham’s role as technical coordinator of the International Olympiad in Informatics has been four years in the making.
He has been responsible for the installation of hardware and software in the IOI competition hall and overseeing the technical aspects throughout the event.
“We had about 30 people on the ground setting up in the week leading up to the event,” Dr Blackham said.
“We’ve also had a lot of people involved in the strategic planning that’s been going on for several years now.”
Since Australia bid to host the IOI in 2009, Dr Blackham has coordinated the technical components of the Olympiad, including supervising the installation of more than three kilometres of cabling and four hundred laptops for the IOI contestants.
“We bid for the IOI four years ago so it’s been in the planning for the last four years, but in the last 12 to 18 months that’s when all the action’s started to happen,” he said.
Dr Blackham’s background is in software engineering and development. Currently based in England, he has been remotely coordinating the Australian IOI for the past 18 months.
“It’s been a bit of a challenge, but also a fun experience,” he said.
“My primary role has been to ensure all the hardware and software works so the students just have a seamless experience during the competition.”
He was introduced to programming by his father and has been interested in programming since his childhood, becoming involved in the IOI during high school.
“I entered a national competition to find students to compete in informatics and was invited to one of the training schools to participate in the national competition,” Dr Blackham said.
“I never went to an IOI but I’ve been helping to train the Australian team for several years since, and that’s how I became involved in organising this year’s IOI.”