For the first time in the 26 year history of the South African Computer Olympiad, two participants have tied for the first place.
Gwylim Ashley of Knysna and Kosie Van Der Merwe of Brackenfell had identical scores and were both awarded gold trophies at a function attended by academics, educationalists and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille.
The Standard Bank/CSSA Computer Olympiad is an annual competition to identify, encourage and reward programming skills among high school learners. The competition attracted more than 33 000 entries for the First Round this year, and 2 770 for the Second Round. Fourteen learners were invited to take part in the Final Round which took place at the University of Cape Town on 26 and 27 September.
Peter Waker, manager of the Standard Bank Computer Olympiad, says the results were surprising. “Never in the 26 year history of the Olympiad have we had results that were this close. Not only did the top two participants both score 88% out of 600, but number three was only one point below them – and this in a competition where the average score is 56%.”
Gwylim Ashley, who attends Oakhill School in Knysna, and Kosie Van Der Merwe, a learner at Brackenfell High, both received R30 000.00 each and their schools received R4 000.00 each. The two learners will have to share the Standard Bank Trophy, which is a floating trophy.
The silver trophy, and R27 000.00 in prize money, was carried off by Graham Manuell, a grade 12 learner at De La Salle Holy Cross College in Gauteng.
This year all participants in the Olympiad used Python, the language used by Mark Shuttleworth to write the computer program that made him a multi-billionaire. Shuttleworth wants to encourage other young South Africans to have the same opportunities he had and therefore donates R100 000.00 prize money annually for Computer Olympiad finalists who use Python.