Why are we so passionate about computer science? – contestants of the CEOI 2022 share their thoughts about challenges and future of informatics

With teams arriving and competition days approaching, some of the contestants of the Central European Olympiad in Informatics 2022 in Varaždin, Croatia, shared how they feel about the competition and how they were preparing for it, what they found exciting and difficult in the types of tasks in the competition, their point of view on computer science and its future, but also if they plan to stay in this field.

Massimiliano Foschi, Italy, 19 years old

For Massimiliano, having a wide range of problems to solve makes this type of tasks exciting, which made it easier for him to prepare for the competition. He sometimes practiced for a whole afternoon, depending on his free time, and liked practicing with a team because he was able to ask and discuss something he did not understand. While working alone, he dealt with the difficulties by doing research and practice until he got it right which, like he said, also has its benefits. Although he is planning to study Mathematics, he is open to taking classes related to Informatics. For him, Computer Science is the future of the world, only if we learn how to use it to solve problems, not cause them.

“We have a lot of problems in our society that we need to solve.”

Adam Červenka, Czech Republic, 17 years old

Seeing algorithm working is the best part of the process for Adam, as he then feels proud of himself as well as of the team. Sometimes it takes him a long time to find a solution, but he sees that as the best way to practice as he learns a lot on the way. He mostly practiced by himself, using the Internet, but says he had great support from his school where he attended seminars and meetings. Adam is extremely excited to be Varaždin in the first place and sees the CEOI as an opportunity to learn something new, especially from other contestants interested in this topic. Studying Mathematical Informatics will give Adam a chance to produce algorithms that will help people in their everyday life, which, he says, is the best we could use computers for; making everything easier and faster.

“Computers make life for people easier, and I want to be a part of that.”

Matej Vojvodić, Croatia, 19 years old

When it comes to tasks and finding solutions, this 19-year-old contestant finds the challenge behind it the most exciting. He likes putting his mind to the test and seeing how long he can stay focused on the problem which usually takes more than an hour to solve. He was preparing for the competition on his own, and it took him approximately 200 hours. Feeling excited to finally compete in person after competing online due to the pandemic, Matej aims for a medal again, but his primary goal is to have fun. He is planning to study Mathematics in college, whil he thinks that science fields like Math and Informatics are closely related. That is why he sees himself working in both fields. Despite being excited to see how computer science will develop and grow, Matej is afraid that people are not educated enough to use the benefits of computers in good purposes.

“People need to learn how to think, rather than learn how to code.”

Thomas Wachter, Austria, 18 years old

Although the most difficult thing for him is to manage time and tasks, Thomas is often surprised with solutions he comes up with. Finding unexpected solutions makes programming fascinating. This 18-year-old contestant from Austria feels like this competition will give him a chance to talk about computer science and future of it with people with the same or different point of view, which in his opinion, is more valuable than winning. He is planning to study something related to computer science but also wants to try to make the area more interesting for others since that is, according to Thomas, the only way to make it more efficient.

“We humans are not perfect, but we are trying to make everything perfect and efficient, so we invented computers which are.”

Matija Likar, Slovenia, 18 years old

If you ask Matija, visual parts of informatics are what makes it beautiful and challenging at the same time. Turning data into a visual interpretation is what he likes best. According to Matija, humans are capable of everything, even though that means using computers and benefits from them for wrong purposes which scares him the most when asked about future of the field. He is excited about meeting new people at this competition, but thinks bringing home a medal would be amazing as it would prove that challenging work paid off. Matija is planning to study natural language processing in college.

“It all makes sense if we use it right, otherwise it can only cause harm.”

Written by Ana Strelec

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