Contestants are the focus at the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) and rightly so. However, without team leaders, contestants would not have the opportunity to compete in the IOI.
United States of American (USA) team leader, Dr Brian Dean, has been coaching for the USA Computer Olympiads since 1997 and during that time he has been the team leader for the IOI on several occasions. This is his 13th time at this competition.
In 1994, Dr Dean competed in the IOI as a student in Sweden where he received a silver medal.
Dr Dean has a PhD in computer science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is professor of computer science at Clemson University in South Carolina.
He is extremely involved in the selection process of contestants for the IOI.
“I coordinate the five or six internet based programming contests that we hold, then we use that to select the top finalists and invite them to our training program,” he said.
During the summer, Dr Dean and other volunteers run the one-and-a-half week training program and invite the top two-dozen students in the USA and from there, the top four. Those four go to compete in the IOI.
“Last year USA contestant Johnny Ho came in first place overall, so he has quite a reputation for fulfill,” Dr Dean said.
“I think my team are very well prepared and I have high expectations for them.”
Most of the help has been given at training camp so the role of team leaders during the event is to make sure everything goes smoothly for their contestants.
“We are there if they need us for anything, but they’re pretty much been very well trained up to this point so they’re on their own for the most part,” he said.
It’s not all about complex algorithms this week; contestants have been going on excursions to Mooloolaba, Australia Zoo and the Gold Coast.
“Australia has been wonderful so far, the climate is much better than it is back in the States. The people here are friendly and the food is good.”