Friday, September 21, 2007

New SACO Forums

Us organisers of the SACO have been very busy discussing ways to expand our training program beyond the top six. Up until now we have taken the six medalists, trained them and selected four from the squad to form the IOI team. A lot about what I'm about to discuss is still a work in progress and may well change. I'm also leaving out plenty details to prevent this from backfiring.

As a first step, we now have a new forum board which we hope will gather together a community of SACO participants, be they future, past or present. We will use this as a means to expand our knowledge from the current squad of six, out to anyone who's eager to learn more.

Although we're still working on polishing up the forums, you can start registering here:

It's open to anyone, but the people we're looking to attract are those wanting to learn more about computer science than what's offered at school. If your school doesn't teach programming, come join! If you're too young to start learning programming, but you want to learn to program early, come join! If you find what you learn in computer classes at school too easy, please come join! If you're a school teacher and are involved in the SACO or want to get involved (by this I mean getting your students participating), please join!

We're working towards an event pretty much like the UCT Maths Circle, where top school students get invited to one of two groups. There will be a Programming Circle where Python will be taught to those either learning to program or wanting to further their programming skills. Then there will be an Algorithm Circle for those who are ready to learn about all the algorithm goodness. Want to learn about search techniques, graph theory, dynamic programming and much more?

This year we ran the SACO as an online contest open to everyone. We got such positive feedback and we've realised that it doesn't require much additional effort. We are therefore strongly considering making all our training camps and future SACO's available to everyone online. Hopefully this will attract some locals as well and better prepare them for the SACO, eventually giving us a better IOI team.

There's plenty more we're discussing, but that should keep your mouths watering if you're interested in getting involved. :-P

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