Faculty of Computer Science First Year Student Wins Gold at International Olympiad in Informatics
Semyon Savkin, a graduate of Moscow School No. 57 and student of HSE University’s Bachelor's Programme in Applied Mathematics and Information, has won gold in the International Olympiad in Informatics individual all-around among school students from 87 countries. In the unofficial team race, Russia shares second place with USA and Iran.
This year’s host country is Singapore, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it couldn’t invite the participants. So, the finals were hold online for the first time ever. The Russian team, which included students from Moscow, St. Petersburg and the Republic of Tatarstan, completed their assignments at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.
‘I think that the online format of the Olympiad was rather a disadvantage, because the results achieved by the participants on problems with open tests could depend on the performance of their computers, which may differ. In addition, the competition started at the same time everywhere, and participants from different time zones had to take the Olympiad at night. Fortunately for us, the finals started at an ideal time at 2pm,’ said Semyon Savkin.
Semyon notes that, despite his vast experience of participating in other competitions (e.g., all-Russian competitions, Russian Open School Student Olympiad, IATI, RMI and EJOI), it was his first time at the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), and he immediately won gold in the individual all-around. As a student, Semyon believes that extensive training has been helpful.
‘During the lockdown, I participated in two training sessions – in Moscow, preparation for the All-Russian competition (it was organized before we knew the competition was cancelled), and in the Summer Olympiad School, which included preparatory stages for selection to the IOI,’ says Semyon, adding: ‘The selection was organized in two stages: about 100 participants were invited to the first stage, and 29 of them proceeded to the second one (it turned out to be very difficult). There, following the results of APIO and four more rounds, the list of the Russia team for the IOI was determined. To prepare for the finals, I did assignments from the training sessions in Japan, the Chinese national competition in informatics, BOI and CEOI, as well as IOI assignments from previous years’.
Thanks to their hard work, the Russian team demonstrated excellent results in the finals, winning a total of three gold and one silver medals.
Today, the IOI winner is getting used to life at HSE University. Semyon has been a student of the Faculty of Computer Science for a month.
I opted for the programme in Applied Mathematics and Information due to the high number of specializations offered, the wide range of optional courses, feedback from my friends who already study here, and the opportunity to take on a pilot profile. I haven’t decided yet what I want to do in the future
Furthermore, Semyon admits that he likes the teaching at the faculty. In addition, he believes that an advantage of studying at HSE University is that there are resources with information on each course, as well as records of all lectures and workshops.
Evgeny Sokolov, Academic Supervisor, Applied Mathematics and Information Science
This year’s enrolment in our programme has been one of the most massive, and Olympiad winners have added to this. We enrol students from the leading All-Russian competitions, as well as from several specialized Olympiads, which, we believe, are at the same level as the All-Russian one. It is not uncommon that several of our students have awards from various Olympiads, and this level of motivation and involvement, of course, makes us very happy.
It is still hard to say anything about this unique freshmen enrolment, since not enough time has passed. However, we have already faced one of our first challenges: today, we are organizing lectures and workshops in a ‘blended’ format, so that they can be attended both on-site and online, since not all students have managed to come to Moscow. We are experimenting a lot, and I’m very grateful to the students for their assistance and understanding if difficulties arise.
For instance, the other day, we launched a survey among first-year students about their first month of studies. It is rewarding that many learners note their interest in pursuing academic careers, and some of them have found out about the faculty’s laboratories and the internship opportunities there. Freshmen also say that the study process has already gained pace and requires a lot of effort. This is also good. Moreover, I believe (and I always say this to the students) that students grow thanks to the difficulties and challenges, which they regularly face here.