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USA Computing Olympiad

June 2010

USACOThis June, Dr. Brian Dean and the Clemson School of Computing hosted the final round of the 17th USA Computing Olympiad.  At the USACO summer training camp, the top fifteen high-school computer science students in the country competed for four spots to represent the United States in the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), the most prestigious world-wide computational problem-solving contest for pre-college students. This year's finalists are Neal Wu, senior from Baton Rouge Magnet HS, LA; Brian Hamrick, senior from Thomas Jefferson HS for Science and Technology, VA; Michael Cohen, senior from Montgomery Blair HS, MD and Wenyu Cao, junior from Phillips Academy in Andover, MA.  The IOI will be held in Canada in August.

The finalists attending the USACO summer training camp were selected from among approximately 1000 students based on the results of six Internet-based programming competitions. They will take part in competitions, educational lectures & seminars as well as local recreational activities. Many of the problems to be solved by these bright high-school students are sufficiently advanced that they would easily challenge graduate students in computer science.
Dr. Dean is currently an Associate Director for Education with USACO. He competed at the IOI as a student in 1994 and has been active in the organization since 1997. Through his recent NSF CAREER Award, Dr. Dean is currently involved in expanding the on-line infrastructure of USACO to support younger students.
On a lighter note, most USACO problems involve cows, for example optimally building fences, stacking bales of hay, and constantly outsmarting their nemesis, Farmer John. This tradition started in 1994 when the training was held in rural Wisconsin, where cows outnumber people. This year, due to the location of the IOI, it is anticipated that the cows will be joined by the occasional moose.

To learn more, visit the USACO Web site at