This year finally saw our annual training camp return to Christchurch as a residential camp, running from Jan 8th to 15th. With the last residential camp being held in January 2020, we were excited to bring back the face to face experience that the past few years had lacked. We stayed at the Arcady Halls of Residence and walked to the University of Canterbury Computer Science labs each day.

It started with an eye-watering RAT test (!) and just got better and better from there. (Thankfully, there were no Covid infections to blight the week.) There were 22 live-in students spread across the Algorithms and Experienced groups, and 5 girls from the PC4G program, learning C++, led by Suzanne and Thomas.

The slightly smaller camp (compared to previous years) worked really well. The students were amazingly disciplined but also clearly had fun and enjoyed the experience. The Algorithms group had lectures by Prof. Tim Bell, Dr. Richard Lobb and Dr. Neil Leslie (Data Structures and Searching and Sorting Algorithms, DP and Graphs respectively), while the Experienced group had lectures from our tutors on topics such as Lowest Common Ancestor, Computational Geometry, Range DP, Segment Trees, and more. Thanks to Bruce, Eric, Janindu, Joseph, Nicholas and Zalan for taking those sessions as well as tutoring the Algorithms group. Students seemed very happy with the level of support available.

Two contests were held during the week and these will count towards final team selection for the IOI. The students are now training for the upcoming AIIO and FARIO contests, after which the team will be selected to travel to the IOI’23 in Szeged, Hungary.

As well as Informatics, students had a round of mini golf on a very blowy afternoon, a quiz night, a Code Breaker evening, and sat a Bebras Challenge and designed a Bebras question. To finish camp, the students brought out their creative sides in a Music activity, which also happened to involve a little C++…

For many of the tutors it was their first time attending camp as staff. And because of Covid, maybe their first residential camp ever. Despite that they undertook contest setting, activities, lectures, tutoring, keeping an eye on individual students etc. like professionals.

My personal thanks to everyone involved – students (and their parents!), our staff, hostel staff and Canterbury University staff. It was a truly positive return to what camp should be!


camp photo As always, check out the gallery for more photos.

If you’re a student who didn’t go to camp, but who thinks this sounds fun, then participate in NZIC! It’s a free online competition, run throughout the year, with some problems approachable to newcomers and some hard ones to work towards. NZIC participants will be contacted towards the end of the year about selection for January Camp 2024.