Robert Spencer, a student from Westerford High in Rondebosch, has won a bronze medal at the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) held in Brisbane.

Spencer is one of four South African students who competed against the top programmers from 80 other countries in the IOI
“Getting into the South African team is not easy,” explains team leader Peter Waker. “More than 4 000 entered the first round of the 2012 South African Programming Olympiad; 15 were selected for the Finals, the top six were invited for extra training and eventually four of them were chosen to represent South Africa at the 2013 International Olympiad in Informatics. The First Round to select the team that will go to the International Olympiad in Informatics in Taiwan next year will be on Friday 26 July.”

Schools that have not entered yet can still do so at
The only one of this year’s team who will have a chance of competing again next year is Shaylan Lalloo who was in grade 11 at Pearson High in Port Elizabeth when he won his place in the IOI team. Shaylan will scarcely be back in South Africa when he has to leave again to take part in the international Mathematics Olympiad in Columbia.
The other two members who made up the team were Paul le Roux from Parel Vallei High in Somerset West and Janneman Gericke from De Kuilen High in Kuilsriver.

The competition was extremely difficult this year and was marred by technical problems. Sean Wentszel, the team’s deputy leader and himself a past IOI medal winner explains: “Not only are the problems becoming more difficult; the competition is also much tougher. Some countries have special classes or even special schools for competitors.”
Of the first four places at the IOI three were taken by learners from China. Nikolay Kalinin from Russia took the number three position.