Gold and bronze for UCT students

15 May 2006

UCT students have a proud tradition of collecting impressive computer and informatics olympiad titles. This year is no exception.

Computer science student Timothy Stranex did UCT proud by winning bronze at the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) in Nowy Sacz, Poland. He won his place on the South African team by winning the SA Computer Olympiad in 2004 while still a pupil at Crawford College North Coast in KwaZulu-Natal.

This year the annual competition gathered a broad range of 276 participants from 73 countries. Stranex, a gifted computer programmer and student of Japanese, sat through the two-day competition, completing three problems each day, with five hours to write computer programmes to solve them.

The UCT team leader was Donald Cook (computer science) and the deputy leader stalwart Bruce Merry, now a postgraduate student.

Peter Waker, manager of the South African team of four, said Stranex, with his bronze medal, placed the country "right up there" with Southern Hemisphere countries like Argentina and Australia, also bronze medal winners.

UCT students also acquitted themselves superbly in the Standard Bank IT Challenge, involving the country's top universities. UCT's team of Harry Wiggins, Marco Gallotta, Shen Tian and Ashley Reid solved five of the six problems (tailed by Wits with four solutions and Rhodes third with three) at the finals in Johannesburg, a gruelling six-hour competition.

The event has been running for two years and UCT has taken the title both times. The foursome received laptops and a donation of R100 000 for the computer science department. This has been put into a fund to train students to participate in future competitions, ensuring the UCT flag flies high.

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