SECOND CODING GOLD for Cape Town learner
Only three learners in 34 years of the annual SA Programming Olympiad have earned the gold medal twice. At the Awards Dinner during the school holidays Taariq Mowzer became the third. In grade 11 at Fairbairn College in Cape Town, Mowzer (17) competed against nine other finalists from three provinces to claim the prestigious Standard Bank trophy, first awarded in 2005.
Tian Cilliers (Stellenbosch High) and Emile Tredoux (Parklands College) each won a silver medals, while the three bronze medals went to Liam Foxcroft (Bishops), Ralph McDougall (Curro Durbanville) and Andi Qu (St John’s College, Johannesburg). Qu (15), the youngest finalist commented “I think it’s great that high school students get an opportunity to be exposed to difficult problems like these”.
To celebrate 15 years of Standard Bank support for the Olympiad, the finals moved from Cape Town to the Bank’s Global Leadership Centre in Johannesburg for the 10-hour weekend coding contest. On Monday the finalists took a guided tour of three of the Bank’s computer facilities including mobile banking. Tian Cilliers commented “We learned a lot about the specific technologies and workflow methods used to improve efficiency and provide the best experience to the user.”
The first round of the Programming Olympiad attracted 2,036 participants to the 1-hour contest at schools in August. Of the participants invited to the second round, 539 took part online in the 90-minute contest. The programs of the top performers were checked to see that they provided the correct output. Ten learners took part in the finals – one from Gauteng, two from KwaZulu-Natal and seven from the Western Cape.
According to Michael Cameron, manager of the Standard Bank Programming Olympiad, “Olympiads help to identify and develop talent in schools so that youngsters who wouldn’t otherwise have chosen a career in IT are encouraged to do so.”
Nicole Borges, Head of CIB Technology at Standard Bank, ended the Awards evening with the challenge to the ten finalists “Technology will do great things for our communities, country and the world and you will be at the heart of it. Go out and not only advance us in the Fourth Industrial Revolution but help us Future-proof Africa!”
High resolution photographs available on request