The Indian Computing Olympiad(ICO) -Syllabus, Pattern, and Preparation Tips



The Indian Computing Olympiad (ICO), which began in 2002, is a yearly programming contest conducted by the Indian Association For Research In Computing Science (IARCS). The coding contest’s purpose is to find high school students from India who excel at computer programming and algorithms. The top four rank holders across India are selected to represent the country in the International Olympiad in Informatics. Started by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO) in 1989, the IOI(International Olympiad in Informatics) is one of the most reputed coding competitions in the world.

Eligibility Criteria for the Indian Computing Olympiad

The candidate applying for the Indian Computing Olympiad(ICO) must be studying in a school in India affiliated to any board(CBSE, ICSE, etc). The Indian Computing Olympiad eligibility criteria is that any student at any grade level can apply till they graduate out of school (pass the class 12th board examinations). Note that even if one takes a year of gap after school or is enrolled in a college already, you will not be eligible to take up this exam.

Registration Process

The Indian Computing Olympiad(ICO) is separated into two subsequent rounds in order to screen the best minds in the field of algorithms and computer programming. The first round is the Zonal Computing Olympiad(ZCO). ZIO, the Zonal Informatics Olympiad is also another alternative to the Zonal Computing Olympiad. If one qualifies for one of these exams, he or she will be eligible for applying in the second round, i.e. the Indian National Olympiad in Informatics.

The Zonal Informatics Olympiad will be held on the 5th of December, 2021 whilst the Zonal Computing Olympiad will be held on the 19th of December, 2021. The registration for the ZIO will be open from the 20th of October to the 24th of November 2021 and the registration for ZCO will be open from the 3rd of November to the 8th of December, 2021. The Indian Computing Olympiad registration link is available on the IARCS official website.

Prerequisites for the Indian Computing Olympiad

The prerequisites for the Indian Computing Olympiad are stated below:

  • The applicant must not have finished 12th grade and be enrolled in an Indian school, regardless of the board the school is affiliated to.
  • The candidate must either qualify the ZCO or the ZIO as well as the INOI with flying colours.
  • Like Java, C, and Python are no longer official languages at IOI, candidates must be fluent in C++.

Syllabus for the Exam

There are a lot of concepts that a candidate needs to be well-versed with in order to qualify for this exam. The Indian Computing Olympiad syllabus is mentioned below. Note that this is not the entirety of the syllabus for the exam.

Fundamental Topics:

  • Efficiency of Algorithms
  • Searching
  • Sorting
  • Heaps
  • Graph Algorithms
  • Dynamic Programming
  • Computing the Shortest path
  • DAC or Directed Acyclic Graphs

Advanced Topics:

  • Network Flow
  • Advanced Algorithms on Graphs
  • Dynamic Programming on Binary Trees

Note that these are not all the topics that cover the syllabus of the exam. To find out all the topics that fall under the syllabus of this exam, you can visit the official training material page of IARCS.

The Pattern of the Exam

The question paper is worth 80 points and is divided into four 20-point questions. There are three Test Cases for each issue. One will receive 20 points for each problem if he or she successfully answers each of the three-Test Cases. If one solves each Test Case successfully, 5 points will be awarded to the candidate for each Test Case.

Previously asked questions in the Indian Computing Olympiad

In order for you to understand what you might expect from the exam, we have linked the previous Indian computing olympiad question papers of the first round (ZIO) from the past 5 years below. Click on any year to view the question paper:

Here are a few additional problems on Advanced Algorithms that you can have a look at:

You can refer to CodeStudio for more questions similar to the Informatics Olympiad questions.

Tips for Preparation

To know how to prepare for the Indian Computing Olympiad, you can use the following tips mentioned below:

International Olympiad for Informatics(IOI)

The International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) is a yearly programming or coding competition for school students and is a part of the International Science Olympiads. It is the 2nd largest science olympiad in terms of the number of nations participating, preceded by the International Mathematical Olympiad. The competition lasts for 2 days in total and consists of computer programming/coding and problem-solving using algorithms.


How can I participate in the Indian Computing Olympiad?

You can participate in the Indian Computing Olympiad by qualifying for the Zonal Computing Olympiad or the Zonal Informatics Olympiad after which you will be eligible to sit for the Indian National Olympiad in Informatics

Can I participate in IOI?

You can only participate in IOI if and only if you are one of the four selected from the candidates in the INOI training camp.

Which language is used in IOI?

The only language used in the IOI(International Olympiad for Informatics) is C++.

What is ICO coding?

The Indian Computing Olympiad is a nationwide Computer Science Olympiad conducted by IARCS in order to screen the best minds in the field of computing and programming.

How long does the INOI training camp last?

The INOI training camp lasts for a period of 10 days.

Key Takeaway

The International Olympiad in Informatics 2022 will be held in Indonesia, and the candidates participating will be offered an opportunity to bag awards, direct admissions to prestigious colleges like IIIT Hyderabad for example, and even scholarships. So if you are a coding and programming enthusiast, do not waste a single second and begin training for the Indian Computing Olympiad in 2022, and secure the opportunity to represent your country in the International Olympiad in Informatics.

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