- The first IOI was held in Bulgaria in 1989. It was proposed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and is one of five academic Olympiads for high school students throughout the world.
- The goals of the IOI are to bring together, challenge, and give recognition to young students from around the world who are the most talented in informatics (computer science), and to foster friendship among these students from diverse cultures.
The International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) is one of the most recognized computer science competitions in the world. The competition tasks are of algorithmic nature; however, the contestants have to show such 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.
The IOI is one of the International Science Olympiads. The primary goal of the IOI is to stimulate interest in informatics (computing science) and information technology. Another important goal is to bring together exceptionally talented students from various countries and to have them share scientific and cultural experiences.
The IOI is organized annually in and by one of the participating countries. Each participating country typically sends a delegation of four students and two accompanying adults. Many countries organize a national olympiad in informatics to select the students they send to the IOI.
Students compete on an individual basis, with up to four students competing from each participating country (with around 81 countries in 2004). The students compete individually and try to maximize their score by solving a set of informatics problems during two competition days. The problems have been algorithmic programming problems to be solved on a personal computer. Cultural and recreational events are organized on the remaining days.