Friday 8 October 2010

Competitions in computer science for schools

Spending 3 intensive days at the University of Freiburg as member of the jury at the finals of the German computer science competition (Bundeswettbewerb Informatik) I learned once more how vast our field is … especially at the theoretical end. The tasks on the first day were related to stream processing algorithms and on the second day to games on graphs. But don't be fooled theoreticians have a very different understanding what a good game is ;-)

The 28 people (pupils and high school students - who have not yet started studying) at the finals are the "best" from over 1000 participants and had successfully passed two rounds before. There level of CS knowledge was massively impressive. Many of them would have passed the BSc exams - in Math and theoretical computer science - without much further preparation! The event showed that computer science has a great potential to attract young people.

Here are links to German competions:
  • Informatik Biber (the general CS completion for students from class 5-13, last year some 80.000 pupils took part)
  • Bundeswettbewerb Informatik (the more difficult completion, last year bit more that 1000 pupils took part)
Around the event there were some interesting demos (to impress the prospective students), including Toyota Robina and an autonomous mini-airship.