Monday, November 20th, 2023

08:30 - 09:00: Registration and welcome at Aula Terracini, Palazzo Nuovo

09:00 - 10:30: Using computer science competitions in classroom, at Aula Terracini, Palazzo Nuovo

10:30 - 11:00: Coffee break, at Mela & Grano

11:00 - 12:30: Educational tools for computer science across Europe, at Aula Terracini, Palazzo Nuovo

12:30 - 14:30: Lunch break, at Mela & Grano

14:30 - 15:30: Online programming judges for a global reach, at Aula Terracini, Palazzo Nuovo

15:30 - 16:00: Coffee break, at Mela & Grano

16:00 - 18:00: Parallel sessions at Aula Terracini, Palazzo Nuovo and Aula 1.13, Via S. Ottavio 54

Parallel session at Aula Terracini, Palazzo Nuovo: contest organization (in English)

Parallel session at Aula 1.13 in Via S. Ottavio 54: lab session for teachers (in Italian)

Nota: per il laboratorio è consigliabile avere un tablet o portatile almeno ogni 2 persone.

19:30: Social dinner, at Trattoria Piemontese (cost: 33€, reservation needed)

Lab abstracts (for teachers, in Italian)

Mattia Monga, University of Milan. Il Bebras: una risorsa didattica per insegnare l’informatica come disciplina scientifica.

Il Bebras dell'Informatica è un concorso a squadre non competitivo, organizzato contemporaneamente in oltre 50 Paesi del mondo, che mira ad avvicinare bambine/i e ragazze/i al mondo dell'informatica. I quesiti Bebras propongono piccoli giochi ispirati a problemi reali di natura informatica, che possono essere usati in classe attraverso una piattaforma online; oltre ai testi dei quesiti, sulla piattaforma sono disponibili le soluzioni, la loro spiegazione, e commenti che esplicitano i temi informatici ai quali i quesiti si ispirano. 

Durante il laboratorio verranno presentati alcuni esempi di quesiti Bebras e si illustreranno inoltre i materiali e gli strumenti didattici che il Bebras mette a disposizione di alunni e docenti. Le/i partecipanti al laboratorio avranno occasione di mettersi in gioco con i quesiti Bebras e di confrontarsi con colleghe/i sugli spunti che i quesiti Bebras offrono per avvicinarsi all’informatica e favorire lo sviluppo del pensiero computazionale.

Dario Ostuni, University of Verona. Come sono strutturati i problemi delle olimpiadi informatiche e come risolverli.

Le Olimpiadi di Informatica sono una competizione individuale di programmazione competitiva per studenti delle scuole superiori. Consiste di una serie di gare scolastiche, territoriali, nazionali e internazionali, il cui culmine è la partecipazione alla annuale International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI). I problemi delle gare sono di natura algoritmica e devono essere risolti scrivendo un programma. La correttezza della soluzione viene determinata automaticamente eseguendo il programma su un insieme di casi di test. Generalmente, nella valutazione della correttezza, conta anche il tempo di esecuzione del programma e il suo consumo di memoria.

Il laboratorio verterà sulla presentazione e risoluzione di alcuni problemi delle gare delle Olimpiadi di Informatica. Insieme, cerchermo di trovare soluzioni efficienti e di capire i meccanismi che stanno dietro la ricerca della soluzione di questi problemi.

Talk abstracts

Giorgio Audrito, University of Turin; Dario Petrillo, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. Integrating judges with different targets in a single learning path.

For the Italian Olympiads in Informatics, a learning path is built on different platforms, born from varying requirements on task type, number of participants and scoring. To provide a cohesive experience, we built Algobadge, which glues it all together, providing participants with a meaningful path towards proficiency. 

The idea is simple: we provide a tree of topics, starting from the basics and exploring more the deeper you go. For each topic, training materials and a set of tasks are provided, with topics unlocking when the student reaches a high enough score in the prerequisites.

In this talk, we will go over our three main platforms:

While doing that, we will also touch on some of the internal tooling we built to make the process of organizing the various events as smooth as possible.

Katharina Bade, Algonautin GmbH, Germany. Rethinking CMS for a Broader Target Group.

While CMS and similar systems are formidable for users with outstanding motivation and commitment, the tasks often remain abstract and the limited feedback (particularly in wrong-answer situations) requires a high level of frustration tolerance. 

Algonautin is a group of longtime coaches of the German IOI training. We are building a novel system that offers all the advantages of CMS, but has a low entrance bar (no prior programming experience required) and appeals to a broad audience (all pupils and students interested in computer science). Our improvements include:

By combining above features, our platform makes it intuitive to localize errors, thus allowing users to focus on algorithmic concepts instead of debugging code. While it can be used for competitions, it's main purpose is for practice, e.g. to support classroom teaching. It can be tested on

Vasyl Biletskyy, Lviv National University, Ukraine. Algotester, the modern Ukrainian online judge platform.

Algotester is a Ukrainian modern online judge platform for competitive programming with educational content available to the public. The main activities are:

1. Traditional IOI and ICPC competitions. For example, hosting of regional IOI stages as well as student contests of local universities. The archive on the website contains over 1000 unique algorithmic problems available 24/7 for everyone to practice.

2. Unusual and optimization contests. Such as few-week-long marathons with one optimization problem to solve or interesting and practical Playful Contests.

3. Preparation for competitions. Including selection and training of local IOI teams and student ICPC teams. Among our international achievements, there are Silver and Bronze IOI medals as well as Gold and Bronze ICPC medals at World Finals.

4. Educational content. Our video lectures in Ukrainian connected with corresponding archive problems allow both beginners and experienced programmers to learn and practice algorithms remotely.

Valentina Dagienė, Vilnius University, Lithuania. A Synergistic Partnership between Bebras Challenge and Virtual Learning Environment ViLLE.

Gamification and contests play an essential role for learners as sources of inspiration, motivation, innovation, and attraction. When students begin learning the fundamental concepts of Computer Science (CS), they quickly find a platform to demonstrate their skills, share interests, and compare their work with others. Over the years, while organizing informatics competitions for school students, we have observed that students find the contest experience engaging and exciting as a learning opportunity. Contests also serve as valuable networking events.

Interest in contests largely depends on the nature of the tasks and the environments they offer. Tasks that incorporate attraction, invention, tricks, and surprises tend to be more desirable for the participants. Therefore, generating and designing captivating tasks becomes a critical aspect of fostering students' involvement in the competition movement.

Bebras (Lithuanian word for Beaver) is an international initiative with the goal of promoting Informatics and Computational Thinking among school students of all ages, as well as teachers. Presently, the Bebras network comprises 76 countries. The challenge involves sets of short questions or tasks designed for various age groups. These tasks do not require prior knowledge of computing, but they are clearly related to CS concepts.

The virtual learning environment ViLLE is developed by the University of Turku, Finland, with the main objective of utilizing learning analytics to help and motivate each student in reaching and even exceeding their learning goals.ViLLE is an exercise-based digital learning environment that offers automatically assessed exercises with immediate feedback for students. Alongside the year-round learning materials, ViLLE features a built-in assessment tool that has been previously utilized for assessing students' mathematical skills. In 2021, the assessment tool was adapted to the Bebras Challenge for the first time, resulting in a research collaboration known as BeLLE. The primary aim is to gain insights into students' knowledge in CS and computational thinking to provide information for curriculum development and other educational planning and research.

The BeLLE network currently unites Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Finland, Ireland, Hungary, Lithuania, Spain, Turkey, and United Kingdom, and more countries are joining this year.

Mile Jovanov, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, North Macedonia. Overview of the educational tools developed by the Macedonian IOI team.

Macedonia has a tradition of organizing programming contests for high-school students as long as the tradition of IOI. A quantitative jump in the number of participants was noticed since the organizer, the Computer Society of Macedonia (CSM), started using the online learning and contest management system MENDO, firstly for the organization and carrying out of the national contests, and for the promotion of the contests, programming and algorithmic thinking. CSM tries to provide a portal for the students that will offer complete learning materials and tools, and that will motivate them and allow them to learn programming and prepare for the competitions.

MENDO system was built to integrate different systems used from Macedonian competitions before its existence, and later extended and improved with new, original features for collaboration and personalization. Other tools that benefit the organization of the national contests, selection of the students and following the students’ work like were also developed.

Research and development of tools for semiautomatic student source code assessment for a given programming task, based on representation of the program codes as vectors, and a new model for smart automatic generation of code tracing questions is another effort of our team. The model for automatic generation of code tracing questions uses a suitable source code metric to measure the code complexity, and to enable generation of questions containing code snippets of consistent complexity. The tool CodeCPP is a newly developed Moodle plugin, which is an implementation of the proposed model.

In this talk, an overview of the tools will be given with an emphasis on their usability in the "school programming ecosystem".

Damien Leroy, France-IOI, France. Overview of the educational tools developed by France-IOI.

France-IOI, the organization behind the French Olympiad in Informatics, is at the forefront of developing open-source tools and platforms for teaching programming and algorithmics to young students. With a reach extending to over 1 million students across 100+ countries, the impact of their tools on youth programming is significant.

This talk will provide an overview of some recent web applications developed by France-IOI, offering potential interest to educational organizations:

Mattia Monga, University of Milan, Italy. How different age groups solved the same Bebras task.

We investigated how pupils from 4th to 13th grade tackled an interactive problem-solving task recently proposed in the Bebras Challenge.  We analyzed the data produced by 18486 participating teams while interacting with the local Bebras platform. The quantitative data were supplemented by interviews conducted after the challenge, in which students were asked to solve the question while thinking aloud. Regardless of their age, all the participants found a good challenge in the task and they spent a lot of time interacting with it. Almost all teams attempted a naive approach to the solution, misled by the superficial characteristics of the problem, and many insisted on attempting the naive approach without ever abandoning it; this behavior clearly decreases with increasing age.

Fredrik Niemelä, Waco, Texas (US). The Kattis problem package format.

LAST MINUTE UPDATE: This talk has been cancelled.

László Nikházy, Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary. Software tools and materials developed for talent education camps and online courses in Hungary.

Recently we launched a series of talent education camps and online courses in the field of algorithmic programming in Hungary. In our country, there is a strong tradition of talent development camps in mathematics, and we would especially like to draw inspiration from the camps organized by The Joy of Thinking Foundation under the name of Lajos Pósa, as they employ a unique discovery-based methodology. A few years ago, there were hardly any programming talent development groups or camps in the country, and we have aimed to fill this void since 2020. So far, we have received very positive feedback. Currently, we have three camp groups, each consisting of 20-30 middle and high school students who are the most talented in their age group. Additionally, we teach more than 400 students through online classes from all over the country. We have developed a system called AI Arena for team competitions organized during the camps, where bots coded by students can compete with each other in simple strategic games. We are currently working on a web application for our online classes, which teaches programming and algorithms through interactive tasks using a discovery-based approach. We present our curriculum, which is built from competitive programming tasks on multiple publicly available websites. Furthermore, we will discuss all the free platforms we use for both the camps and online workshops.

Eljakim Schrijvers, Cuttle, Netherlands. Competitive Programming is fun.

A presentation about competitive programming, explaining why this is fun for students, what the atmosphere is like, but also showing a (simple) algorithmic problem and various ways of solving it, while explaining why one solution is better than the other.

Eljakim Schrijvers, Cuttle, Netherlands. Analytics of contests.

It is not that hard to run contests with many many students.

However, running proper analytics on competitions in order to improve over the years may take a while to work on. Analyzing the results in a lot more detail than just finding the winner is important to know what is happening and what your strengths and weaknesses are.

In this talk we will show the various automated analytics and analysis that the Cuttle platform can do automatically, including question analysis, statistical analysis and reporting to the participants.