While the IOI team is busy during the week of the IOI, this series of blogs is being written by team leader, Joshua Lau.
This morning, contestants participated in the Practice Session, which offers an opportunity to test the competition system and environment, as opposed to their own abilities. Students tested mundane things such as the support for C++ language features and feedback given by the system, to the more practical, such as timing how long it takes to receive a printout, how long it takes to be escorted to / from the bathroom, and evaluating the tastiness of the snacks that can be ordered through the competition system. To their amusement, they were empowered with buttons which sent messages such as #paper, #cake, #banana, #toilet, depending on the resource requested.
Following this, we proceeded to the check-in desk, where permitted supplies (including personal Koala mascots, spot them in the pictures!) are checked and stored, so they are available to contestants during the competition days. Notably, many contestants (including all of ours), bring their own personal keyboards, with which their muscle memory is intimately familiar – they do a lot of typing. Ryan’s keyboard was considered almost too loud during check-in, but thankfully for him, the Technical Committees found that it was acceptable on the contest hall.
The opening ceremony was held in the afternoon, with our students braving the heat, extreme winds, and a dust storm to proudly don their Australian blazers and ties. Unfortunately, our traditional chant of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi, oi, oi!” was somewhat muted this year, due to a miscommunication in timing between the leaders and students, who typically holler the former and latter parts, respectively. You can see this moment here. The introduction of teams from 87 countries was followed by a taster of the various forms of traditional Azerbaijani music, including modernised and “fusion” forms, enjoyed by all from our delegation!
A few final words of encouragement from Kevin and I, and off to quarantine we were whisked, to view and vote on the problems for the first competition day, during which we are unable to contact the students directly, or indirectly.