Joint Second in Computational Thinking Competition at Oxford

Thomas Kan (B) was among the top 50 high achievers in the first round of the UK BEBRAS Computational Thinking Challenge, and travelled to Oxford University over the weekend to take part in the final round at the Department of Computer Science.

The BEBRAS Challenge is a problem-solving contest designed to get students excited about computing and computational thinking, and is supported by Google.

Almost 200 Oundle pupils took part in the first round of the challenge in November. About 70 pupils who scored in the top 10% nationally then qualified for the second competition round. 

Of the more than 70,000 pupils nationally who took part in the intermediate group competition, Third Form pupil Thomas Kan placed in the top 50, and was invited to participate in the final round at Oxford.

The final round involved further problems in computational thinking using techniques that included the ability to break down complex tasks into simpler components, algorithm design, pattern recognition, pattern generalisation and abstraction.

Thomas Kan and two other pupils each scored the same top mark, however one of the pupils pressed the end button before the other two, and placed first.

Thomas was awarded a hugely impressive joint second.

After completing the challenge, all of the finalists attended lectures on artificial intelligence and cellular automata as well as a lunch and prize-giving ceremony at Hertford College.

Along with the others who scored in the top 10%, Thomas has been invited to participate in the online TCS Oxford Computing Challenge in March, a competition designed to help talented pupils develop their skills further and produce programmed solutions to computational thinking problems.