Israeli teenagers took home medals, including the gold, from a prestigious computer science competition held this year in Australia.

Israeli teenagers participating in the International Olympiad in Informatics, a yearly computer science competition, took home multiple medals from this years event held in Australia. Daniel Hadas, age 18, from Ayalon High School in Holon won the gold medal. Tom Kalvaria, 17, of Kfar Hayarok High School in Ramat Hasharon and Ohad Klein, 17, from Amit Yeshiva in Kfar Ganim won silver medals, and Ron Ryvchin, 18, from the Samaria ORT School in Binyamina, won a bronze medal.

According to its official website, the International Olympiad in Informatics “is one of the most recognized computer science competitions in the world. The contestants have to show basic IT skills as problem analysis, design of algorithms and data structures, programming and testing. The winners of the IOI belong to the best young computer scientists in the world.”

Education Minister Shai Piron congratulated the young Israelis, emphasizing, “This is an impressive and exciting accomplishment; this is a great proof of the skills among Israeli youth. I have no doubt that with our talent in science; the state of Israel will continue to lead the world in quality of scientific research, entrepreneurship and innovation.” Ofer Rimon, head of science and technology in the Ministry of Education, claimed that Israel in recent times has placed great emphasis on training youngsters to excel in the field of computer science and to have the necessary skills to thrive in this competition.

According to Rimon, in the International Olympiad in Informatics, “The students are presented with problems in the field and are asked to find a solution. They are measured based on the method of thinking they present, the manner in which they build the solution and reach it, and all this within a limited time frame. In this situation, one of the difficulties is working under time pressure. We must understand that the larger the country, the more it has a comparative advantage. For small countries it is very difficult to succeed and the fact that Israel ranks among the first ten countries is a very serious achievement.” Israel ranks eighth place in this international competition that had 80 participating countries, with the top three countries being China, Russia and South Korea.

Speaking upon his victory, gold medalist Hadas said: “It’s a great feeling. I can’t say I expected a gold medal. I was lucky and am very happy with the achievement.” His silver medal winning teammate Kalvaria added, “We worked very hard in preparing for this competition. On the first day it seemed for a moment that we would not succeed, but on the second day we took ourselves in hand, we struggled and managed to get to a very respectable place.”

By Rachel Avraham, staff writer for United with Israel