November 5, 2003–Wolfram Research has organized a Mathematica programming challenge for contestants of the 15th International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI 2003), which was held in late August in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Wolfram Research was also a supporter of the event itself, donating one copy of Mathematica for Students 5 to every IOI participant. Approximately three hundred high school students from 77 countries competed in all.
This year marked the first time that the event, which challenges participants to solve complex computer programming problems, was held in the United States. After several days of a warm-up preliminary and exercises, contestants were given five hours to solve three problems, with medals going to the highest scorers for the best solutions. Students from the Republic of Korea, Bulgaria, and Austria took the top three spots, while a U.S. student had the sixth highest score. A total of 132 medals were awarded.
“We were very appreciative of Wolfram Research’s support of IOI this year,” said organizer Don Piele, a professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin–Parkside and himself a long-time Mathematica user. “These kids are the best and brightest at their level, and we wanted to be able to give them something that we thought they would really enjoy using and that would help further their development.” Wolfram Research representatives Anya Somova Foreman and Brendan Elli attended the event to talk to the students about Mathematica and to deliver the software.
To provide the students with a chance to experiment with their new software, Wolfram Research worked with Piele to organize a Mathematica programming challenge for the IOI contestants. The students will be given two weeks to complete the competition, which begins today and involves a special class of prime numbers. The student(s) with the best solution will receive a free copy of The Mathematical Explorer, another Wolfram Research software product, which lets students walk in the computational footsteps of history’s greatest mathematicians and discover the answers to many of their most perplexing questions.
Wolfram Research is an ongoing supporter of local, national, and international events such as IOI 2003. The company has provided stipend, scholarship, and operational support to students and math and science competitions of all levels and was a major supporter of the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) in 2001 when it too visited the United States.