The National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI) is modelled after the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), the ultimate international competition in computing. (Informatics is the European term for computer science.) NOI emphasises creativity in problem solving on the one hand, and programming skill and expertise on the other.
On a wider scope, we hope that the competition will spur interest within the school community, and create more awareness among the students and teachers on the finer points of programming, which is not merely writing a piece of code, but involves useful algorithmic techniques and problem-solving skills. This aims to equip our students with knowledge beyond that of a mere IT application user, in line with our national goal of creating an IT-savvy nation.
We are pleased that the Ministry of Education, in recognition of this objective, has taken the initiative to organize a zonal competition for the secondary schools to further cast the net to attract, encourage and groom more students, particular the junior ones, to broaden this aspect of IT knowledge. The zonal competition is held as part of the National Software Competition (NSC), called the NSC Individual Programming event.
The first NSC Individual Programming contest was held last year on 1 July 2000 at four contest centres. This year, it will be held on 30 June 2001.
We hope that this new contest will open up more opportunity for aspiring secondary school students to prove their algorithmic problem solving skills through programming. To align the NOI better with competitions of similar nature but pitched at different levels of difficulty, the NOI policies have recently been revised and are available at the Eligibility and Prizes link.
NOI consists of a four-and-a-half-hour session in which each contestant is required to individually solve and program a solution to each of the five to seven programming tasks. The solutions are judged according to their correctness (i.e., whether they produce the correct answers) as well as their speed of execution (i.e., producing the answers within a time limit). The actual time spent on programming will not be taken into account in the evaluation.
Each contestant works on a PC and is given a choice of programming language (Pascal, C, or C++) to use.