NZOI January Camp 2024

The NZOI January Camp for 2024 has just ended and all the students have made their way back from camp!

This year we continued the smaller camp format as it had worked really well last year. In total, 28 students attended - flying in from all around New Zealand. Twenty two students were in the Algorithms and Experienced groups and six girls from the PC4G program were in the Intro to C++ group.

Phoebe and Jasmine tutored the Intro to C++ group throughout the week. The camp teaches C++ as it is now the only language available at the IOI (since Java was removed in 2021!). During that time, the Algorithms group received lectures from UC lecturers Prof. Tim Bell (now a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit), Dr. Richard Lobb and Dr Neil Leslie as well as some of the past camp attendees who came back as tutors. A wide range of topics was covered - from graph theory to segment trees. The Experienced group explored more advanced topics and tasks such as centroid decomposition and the infamous “Dwarfs” problem. They were taught by Dr. Rajko Nenadov from the University of Auckland as well as the tutors.

Outside of the lab, the students went on an excursion to the McDuffs Scottish Mini Golf, participated in a quiz night organized by Joseph, had a Codebreaker contest and took part in an Estimathon organised by our sponsor Jane Street.

As part of our selection process, the students sat two contests during camp. These contests were three and four hours long respectively and were set by the tutors. These contest results, as well as results from the upcoming AIIO and FARIO contests will be used in the selection of the New Zealand team for IOI 2024 in Alexandria, Egypt. After the second contest the students took part in a fun activity where they were tasked with writing a C++ program that could best play the game “Snake”.

Overall, this camp went really well. A special thanks goes to everyone who made it possible - the students, the parents, the lecturers, the other tutors (Jasmine, Phoebe, Jonathon, Iván, Zalan, Nicholas, Joseph, Janindu, and Rajko) and especially to Margot and Suzanne who organised and ran the camp.


Camp Photo

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 2025.

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IOI 2023: Outstanding Results

The 2023 New Zealand team kept scoreboard watchers entertained for 5 hours on the second competition night, as they took turns getting marks that pushed them into bronze medal contention, and then falling back as they were leap frogged by other contestants. It was the most exciting and nail-biting viewing since NZ first competed (back in 2006!). There were 21 places between our entire team (out of over 350 contestants), with Anatol, GuanHan and Phoebe gaining bronze medals and Jonathon gaining an Honorable Mention. In an IOI an HM means a score that would have got a medal of one of the two days. We are enormously proud of the entire team.

Team photo with medals Team photo with IOI President

Bottom photo from left: Deputy Team Leader Zalan Varga, Jonathon Sun, IOI President Ben Burton, GuanHan Li, Phoebe Yufei Zhang, and Anatol Coen. (Absent: Team Leader Suzanne Scott)

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IOI 2023: Ópusztaszer

Can you tell what they are spelling?

Excursion to Ópusztaszer

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IOI 2023: Arrival in Szeged

Attending in-person for the first time in 4 years, the New Zealand delegation to IOI 2023 have arrived in Szeged, Hungary.

26/8: Auckland Airport. Team members and leaders prior to departure.

Departing in Auckland

28/8: The team arrives in Budapest, standing over the Danube river.

Arriving in Budapest

29/8: The IOI practice contest.

Practice Hall

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EGOI Presentation

The backpacks and Phoebe’s gold medal arrived in mid August. The team gathered again for a celebratory dinner on August 15, and Dr. Yu-Cheng Tu from Auckland University presented Phoebe with her gold medal.

Phoebe with a Gold Medal

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Amazing result for New Zealand

When the “final whistle blew”, Phoebe was placed 3rd overall and gained one of the 17 gold medals awarded. New Zealand’s first international Informatics gold! Ena, Jasmine and Belle also performed creditably, placing 126, 141 and 143 respectively.

The girls competed in EGOI 2023, at AUT on Monday and Wednesday evenings, 7pm until midnight on July 17 and 19. New Zealand was one of 4 teams competing remotely, along with Tunisia, Ecuador and Bolivia. There were 52 countries represented with 189 competitors.

The scoreboard was visible to the leaders outside the contest room, and the proctors (Yan Li and Ivan Gaspardy) came out to check from time to time. Zalan Varga was deputy and gained some valuable insights for his role in Hungary in August.

Left to Right: Zalan Varga (Deputy Leader), Belle Yin, Ena Yin, Jasmine Liu, Phoebe Zhang, Margot Phillipps (Leader)

Left to Right: Zalan Varga (Deputy Leader), Belle Yin, Ena Yin, Jasmine Liu, Phoebe Zhang, Margot Phillipps (Leader)

Check out the gallery for more photos.

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EGOI 2023 Team Announcement

The team to represent New Zealand at the European Girls Olympiad in Informatics 2023 has been chosen. All the girls are from Auckland. Jasmine is at ACG Parnell College, Belle and Ena attend St Cuthbert’s and Phoebe attends Rangitoto College.

The event was intended to be only on-site, but as this prohibited some teams from attending (costs), the event organisers generously decided to also allow on-line participation.

The team will sit the 2 contests at AUT on July 17 and July 19.

Jasmine Liu Belle Yin Ena Yin Phoebe Zhang
Jasmine Liu Belle Yin Ena Yin Phoebe Zhang
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New Zealand's Team for IOI 2023

The team consists of Anatol Coen (Mt Albert Grammar), GuanHan Li (Sunnynook Primary), Jonathon Sun (Rangitoto College) and Phoebe Zhang (Rangitoto College). The reserve is Arshia Lotfi (Macleans College).

IOI 2023 is to be held in Szeged, Hungary from 28th of August to 4th of September. The team will be led by Suzanne Scott and Zalan Varga.

They have been training hard and spent the April school holidays joining in with the Australian Informatics April camp run by AMT. The first half was conducted virtually and then 3 of the team travelled to Sydney for further onsite training. That trip was led by Bruce Chen.


Anatol Coen GuanHan Li Jonathon Sun Phoebe Zhang
Anatol Coen GuanHan Li Jonathon Sun Phoebe (Yufei) Zhang


Suzanne Scott Zalan Varga
Suzanne Scott Zalan Varga
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NZOI January Camp 2023

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.

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IOI 2022 results

IOI 2022 was a hybrid contest, hosted both onsite and online by Indonesia from August 7 to 15. About ⅔ of countries attended onsite but New Zealand competed online.

The NZ team consisted of:
Nicholas Grace, Burnside High, Christchurch (First Year University)
Bruce Chen, Christ’s College, Christchurch (Year 13)
Zalan Varga, Rangitoto College, Auckland (Year 13)
Phoebe Zhang, Rangitoto College, Auckland (Year 12)

The leaders were Suzanne Scott and Eric Song. Canterbury University again hosted the contest; a huge thanks to Tim Bell and Steven Sykes for organising and setting up the labs with the requisite software. Unfortunately, Nicholas had to compete from home due to Covid-19, so there was a scramble to get a laptop to him and ensure the online video proctoring was in place. Many thanks to our 3 proctors: Lydia Looi and Michelle Hseih from Canterbury University, and Andrea Gallop, a teacher from Papanui High School. Michelle went above and beyond to ensure the video recordings of Nicholas competing were faultless.

The contests and practice session were at a much more acceptable time this year, running from 6pm to 11pm. Nicholas gained a bronze medal, which was very impressive given he was unwell. Zalan lifted his ranking by over 60 places, and Bruce by 40 compared with their 2021 rankings. Phoebe, as the first timer, also performed creditably.

Team, Left to Right: Phoebe, Zalan, Bruce (Absent: Nicholas)
Team, Left to Right: Phoebe, Zalan, Bruce (Absent: Nicholas)

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