The Castor Computing Contest: a first step towards computer science
The Castor Computing Contest, created in Lithuania in 2004, is organized every year in 50 countries. The French edition, launched in 2011, is organized by the France-ioi association in partnership with Inria and ENS Paris-Saclay. Last year, there were about 670,000 participants.
The different countries share ideas for topics, but then each country makes its own selection of topics. A specificity of the French edition is to propose very interactive topics, and adapted to all levels.
Topics for all tastes, and for all levels
The contest will include 12 interactive challenges, each one declined in 4 versions of increasing difficulty. The program includes introductory elements to the basics of information coding, algorithms, graphs, databases, programming, and logic.
The competition will take place over four weeks, between November 6 and December 4. Students can participate alone or in pairs, on a tablet or computer, for 45 minutes in the computer lab. Detailed corrections will be offered shortly after the closing, and teachers will be able to print diplomas for participants.
Inria's scientific mediation team supports the Castor informatique competition every year. The fun introduction to computer science that it represents for young people gives them an interest in science, which they can then nurture through other scientific mediation activities, in particular meetings with Inria researchers. This is a first step towards encouraging vocations.
Corinne Touati, researcher and head of scientific mediation at Inria
Over 700,000 participants expected this year
Registrations are already open and can be made throughout the contest. Each teacher can register on the Computer Beaver website to have one or more classes participate. Children or parents can encourage teachers to participate.
In the meantime, all the topics from past contests are available online for free, along with solutions and explanations. Children, parents, teachers, don't hesitate to go and play on the Castor challenges now!
To go further: the Algoréa contest
More focused on programming, the Algoréa contest is considered the next step of the Castor informatique contest. Open from January, it is intended to accompany students as they learn programming and algorithms, in Blockly, Scratch or Python languages.