Belarus teen wins Informatics Olympiad at UW

By Sarah Anderson, Record staff

WATERLOO - The results are in following a week of competition and commingling at the 22nd International Olympiad in Informatics hosted at the University of Waterloo.

More than 300 high school students from around the world - all leading minds in information science - represented their countries at the contest. And Gennady Korotkevich from Belarus came out on top in the competition that not only tests the minds of the students, but brings them together to interact on an international level.

Canadian Yu Cheng came sixth.

Korotkevich has been coming to the competition - which is staged in different nations - for the past five years, and won the event last year when it was held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Though he enjoys sightseeing and meeting people from around the world, he find the competition the best part.

"The problems are always very difficult," he said smiling.

He has one more year of high school - which means another year of eligibility for the competition, too - and he hasn't yet decided what he wants to do after that, aside from knowing he'll go to university.

Cheng, from Port Coquitlam, B.C., has competed for the past three years and, having just graduated, this was his last shot.

Like Korotkevich, Cheng's favourite part is the competition itself. It comprises only two days of the seven-day gathering, which also includes travel and social aspects such as the banquet held Friday night to announce the winners.

This competition was Korotkevich's favourite of the three, because he said not only was it well organized in terms of managing the huge number of participants, but the questions were more creative and required more thinking.

In the past, he said many questions required that you already knew certain algorithms or program structures, and if you didn't know them, there was nothing you could do.

This year, he said the questions were better suited to design and creation.

"If you could take time to think about it you could come to a logical solution : or create an algorithm for yourself," he said.

For example, one question required contestants to build "the hardest maze to solve" in a corn field.

"The best you can do is make one that's hard enough to score higher points," he said.

"There's no fixed solution, so you always want to find something better."

The competition is a good segue for Cheng, who is headed to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this fall to study math, computer science and hopefully some software engineering.

This year's top 10 winners are:

1 Gennady Korotkevich, Belarus

2 Rumen Hristov, Bulgaria

3 Adrian Jaskolka, Poland

4 Wenyu Cao, United States

5 Michael Cohen, United States

6 Yu Cheng, Canada

7 Tsotne Tabidze, Georgia

8 David Klaska, Czech Republic

9 Shogo Murai, Japan

10 Qiwei Feng, China


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