We doff our hat to three students for their great performance at the 33rd International Olympiad in Informatics from June 19 to 25.
This is the science of processing data for storage and retrieval, a branch of computer science where the focus is on the human interaction portion of how participants use technology.
Informatics, the study of the behavior and structure of any system that generates, stores, processes, and then presents information, is basically the science of information that takes into consideration the interaction between the information systems and the user, as well as the construction of the interfaces between the two, such as the user interface.
The students are Vincent dela Cruz, Raphael Dylan Dalida, and Frederick Ivan Tan, who outwitted hundreds of contestants from more than 80 countries.
The Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute said in a press statement this year’s IOI, hosted online due to the pandemic by Singapore, featured a metal glove of programming challenges that tested the competitors’ coding skills and creativity, with problems involving everything from a dungeons game to a mutating DNA.
“The IOI is a proving ground for some of the brightest upcoming minds who are in the best position to solve the world’s problems. Apart from coding skills, contestants also need to think on their feet and find solutions to anything that’s thrown at them,” said Marte Soliza, president of the National Olympiad in Informatics-Philippines (NOI.PH).
NOI.PH put together and organized the Philippine contingent in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI).
Dela Cruz, a 12th grader at the Valenzuela City School of Mathematics and Science, scored the highest from the Philippine contingent at 92nd place out of 351 competitors. Meanwhile, Dalida came in at 119th place, and Tan finished at 136th place. Dalida and Tan are 10th and 11th graders respectively at the Philippine Science High School-Main Campus.
The fourth member of the Philippine team, Saint Jude Catholic School 12th grader Steven Reyes, finished at a respectable 216th place.
The Philippine team leader, Vernon Gutierrez, was ecstatic over the victory despite the “difficulties presented by the pandemic.”
“This wouldn’t be possible without the help of the volunteers in our organization, NOI.PH, and the continuous support of DOST-SEI,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez and Soliza hope that the Philippines continues on this winning streak and look forward to bringing in more participants as well as trainers and volunteers.
But while we applaud the performance of the Filipino students, what really is informatics?
This is the study of computational systems, especially those for data storage and retrieval, synonymous, according to ACM Europe and Informatics Europe, with computer science and computing as a profession, in which the central notion is the transformation of information.
This is really something that we can take pride in.
The term informatics, according to experts, was first coined by a German computer scientist named Karl Steinbuch in 1957 through his published paper titled “Informatics: Automatic Information Processing.”
Informatics was then used interchangeably with computer science as its German word “Informatik” is usually translated to English as computer or computing science.
There is still no universal meaning for informatics as different organizations, educational or otherwise, have their own meaning for it.
But all of these different ways of defining informatics still adhere to the same core that it is about the study and application of information and information technology in everyday processes.
While we congratulate the students and their mentors as well as schools for this outstanding performance, educators and those in education must look at the greater picture at the need to improve and maintain basic education so that coming home with medals would be part of the norm, the median as it were, and not the out-and-out peculiarity in academic performance.
For instance, while the global assessment Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2019 disclosed that the Philippines lags behind 57 other countries in Math and Science achievements, the study also reported that less than 50 percent of Grade 4 learners only were receiving instructions with “high clarity.”
This is the all-embracing scenario where our academics and others interested in our track record should have their minds on. (ai/mtvn)