Top future programmers shine at 2022 Programming Olympiad awards
The South African Computer Olympiad (SACO) and the Institute of information Technology Professionals (IITPSA) have announced the winners for the 2022 national Programming Olympiad, a challenge for high school learners who can use a computer programming language.
The South African Computer Olympiad, an initiative of the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA), presented the Programming Olympiad with the support of the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA), South Africa’s recognised Internet industry representative body.
The South African Computer Olympiads aim to identify, encourage and reward computer aptitude, and promote computer studies. The Olympiads reach thousands of local youths each year, through the Talent Search, Programming Olympiad and Applications Olympiad.
The Programming Olympiad sees learners participating in three competitive rounds, with top performers from around the country taking part. In the First Round, the participants aim to solve a number of problems using the programming language of their choice. However, for the Second Round and Final Round, the languages are more restricted. The Programming Olympiad finals were held at the UCT Upper Campus Computer Sciences Lab, in Cape Town on 8 and 9 October, and the Finals Awards Lunch was held on 10 October 2022.
A number of repeat stars shone at the finals of this year’s Programming Olympiad, having excelled in previous Computing Olympiads and represented South Africa at this year’s International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) in Indonesia, where 88 countries participated.
Benjamin Kleyn, a Grade 12 learner from Parel Vallei High in the Western Cape, was this year’s gold medal winner in the Programming Olympiad finals. In 2021, Benjamin received an honourable mention in the national Programming Olympiad finals, and was selected as a member of team South Africa at the IOI 2022.
Minkyum Kim, a Grade 11 learner from Reddam House Durbanville in the Western Cape, won a silver medal in this year’s Programming Olympiad finals. In 2021, Minkyum won the gold medal and Standard Bank Trophy in the Programming Olympiad finals, and he was also selected to represent South Africa at the 2022 IOI, where he was awarded a bronze medal.
Silver was awarded to Emmanuel Rassou, a Grade 12 learner from SA College School in the Western Cape. Emmanuel was the 2021 Western Cape provincial Programming Olympiad winner; he was awarded a bronze medal in the 2021 Programming Olympiad finals, and was selected as a member of the South African team for IOI 2022.
This year’s Programming Olympiad bronze medallists were Tengjun Liu, a Grade 12 learner at the American International School of Cape Town; Fei Xiang Peng (also known as Darren Peng), a Grade 12 learner at St John’s College in Gauteng; and Youkyum Kim, a Grade 9 learner at Reddam House Durbanville in the Western Cape.
In this year’s Programming Olympiad, honourable mentions were awarded to:
- Kenna Geleta, a Grade 12 learner from Ferdinand Postma High School in North West Province. Kenna was the North West provincial winner in the 2021 Programming Olympiad, received an honourable mention in the 2021 national Programming Olympiad finals, and was also a 2022 SA IOI team member.
- Muhammed Shah Khan, a Grade 11 learner at the UJ Metropolitan Academy in Gauteng.
- Alex Sinclair Smith, a Grade 12 learner from Westerford High in the Western Cape. In 2021, Alex was a runner-up in the national Programming Olympiad finals.
IITPSA President Admire Gwanzura congratulated this year’s winners, noting: “It is encouraging to see how many young people find the experience and exposure they gain from the Olympiads worth coming back for. Some of our young achievers appear to be carving out career paths for themselves before they have even finished school. We hope to see more South African learners participating in the South African Olympiads in the future, so that they too can start getting to grips with IT skills and possibly begin establishing themselves in the market as emerging IT professionals worth investing in.”