Bruce Chen – Programming for highest honour

26 May 2021

Condell’s House Year 12 student, Bruce Chen has been selected for New Zealand’s International Olympiad Informatics team to compete on a virtual world stage next month.

The event is being hosted by Singapore, with the four-strong Kiwi contingent competing virtually at the University of Canterbury from 19–25 June because of the Covid-related travel restrictions.

Bruce, 16, was first “inspired to get involved in informatics by older students” when he arrived at College in Year 9.

“I could see that informatics was very cool, and this offered me the opportunity to challenge myself in the computer science environment at my own pace, with unlimited options to learn and extend my skills without any restraints,” he says.

“The upcoming international competition offers a global perspective and the chance to meet other people who feel the same way. I can also make important international connections. Being able to compete at such a high level is very prestigious.”

The highly competitive programmer has been preparing for the international contest for the past few years, and hopes to claim a medal next month.

“I have attended the national informatics camps for several years – along with a virtual camp in Australia – and been trained by a range of experts, including University of Canterbury professors and past competitors,” he says.

Bruce, who hopes to be a software engineer and study at a top university overseas, has also found time to prepare for his LTCL exam in piano this year, having won the senior section of the Sedley Wells music competition last year. In his rare spare hours, he continues to play the violin, build websites and play hockey for College.

Bruce has already notched up several big achievements during his time at College, including being a finalist in the 2019 BrightSparks competition for his College Clock timekeeping project, and a member of the winning team at the 2020 Canterbury Secondary Schools’ Programming competition.

The New Zealand Olympiad in Informatics encourages students to develop their computer science and programming skills while offering an opportunity for secondary students to share their passion.

Bruce Chen