The Singapore National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI) is modelled after the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), the ultimate international competition in computing (Informatics is the European term for computer science). NOI emphasises creativity in problem solving on the one hand, and programming skill and expertise on the other.
On a wider scope, we hope that the competition will spur interest within the school community, and create more awareness among the students and teachers on the finer points of programming, which is not merely writing a piece of code, but involves useful algorithmic techniques and problem-solving skills. This aims to equip our students with knowledge beyond that of a mere IT application user, in line with our national goal of creating an IT-savvy nation.
The 1st NOI is hosted by School of Computing (SoC) of National University of Singapore (NUS) back in year 1998. SoC has annually hosts NOI from then on. This year (2016) is the 19th NOI and for the first time in history, Singapore NOI is opened to limited foreign contestants.
NOI consists of a five-hours session in which each contestant is required to individually solve and program a solution to each of the four to five programming tasks (with subtasks of varying difficulties). The solutions are judged according to their correctness (i.e. whether they produce the correct answers) as well as the resources used (i.e. producing the answers within a time, memory, and/or other special limits). The actual time spent on programming will not be taken into account in the evaluation.
Each contestant works on a PC and is given a choice of programming language (Pascal, C, or C++) to use.
The top NOI students who are eligible for IOI at year n will be invited to join NUS module: CS3233 - Competitive Programming and other intensive training programmes at the Center of Competitive Programming in South East Asia. The best eligible 4 at year n will be sent to represent Singapore at IOI'n.
The International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) first started in 1989, sponsored by UNESCO, adding on yet another scientific discipline to the list of olympiads (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, etc) aimed to bring young science students from all over the world together primarily to raise the level of awareness and proficiency of the discipline and at the same time, to promote international friendship through interactions and exposure to culture of other countries.
The detailed chronological list of past IOI events can be found in the IOI official database. As of IOI 2015, the IOI International Committee has determined the hosts for the next five years: Kazan, Russian Federation in 2016; Tehran, Iran in 2017; Tokyo, Japan in 2018; Baku, Azerbaijan in 2019; and Singapore in 2020.
The competition consists of 2 rounds over 2 days, each round requiring the contestants, working individually, to solve three tasks with subtasks (mainly algorithmic in nature) within 5 hours. The latest details of the topics covered in the IOI can be found in the IOI syllabus.
Each country is permitted to send at most 4 contestants. To be eligible for IOI at year n, a contestant must be a student who was enrolled at a school for secondary education, in the country they are representing, during the period September to December in the year before IOI'n, and is not older than twenty years on the 1st of July of the year of IOI'n. The full details of IOI rules and regulations can be found here. Specific to Singapore, a contestant has to be either a Singapore Citizen (SC) or Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) to be eligible.
Singapore participated in IOI since its 4th installment (1992). From then on, Singapore been sending its best 4 contestants annually. The detailed results of Singapore delegations can be seen in the IOI official database. As of IOI 2016, Singapore teams have collected a total of 9 gold medals, 29 silver medals, and 35 bronze medals, placing Singapore at rank 21 out of ~100 countries who have participated at least once in IOI. In 2016, one of the Singapore IOI alumni compiled the list of the current whereabouts of the entire Singapore IOI team members since 1992-2015.
Singapore IOI medalists are eligible for various special admissions to NUS with scholarships and special programmes. The details about this incentive can be found at NUS SoC website.
The NOI committee would like to thank the Ministry of Education, in particular, the Sciences Branch of the Curriculum Planning and Development Division (CPDD), for their support and assistance in the programme.