Jun 17, 2021

USA Computing Olympiad

  • Crimson Education
  • Remote (Worldwide)


The USACO supports computing education in the USA and worldwide by identifying, motivating, and training high-school computing students at all levels. We provide:

  • Hundreds of hours of free on-line training resources that students can use to improve their programming and computational problem-solving skills.
  • On-line programming contests (roughly six per year) for students at all levels.
  • An intensive summer training camp, to which the top students in the USA are invited to further improve their skills and learn advanced material.
  • The opportunity for the top four students in the USA to represent their country at the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), the most prestigious international algorithmic programming competition at the high-school level.

The International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), the most prestigious international computing contest at the high school level, was launched in 1989 by the the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), designed in the spirit of several other prominent international high-school olympiads. In 1992, Dr. Don Piele, professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin Parkside, heard about the IOI, and founded the USACO in order to bring a team from the USA to the event. The first USA team attending the 1992 IOI was formed from top individuals in the International Computer Problem-Solving Contest, a popular programming contest Don had organized since 1981. From 1993 onward, USACO finalists have been selected via a national competition, and invited to a rigorous academic summer training camp to further improve their skills. The training camp was held at the University of Wisconsin Parkside for many years; it was held at Colorado College from 2005-2007, and then moved to Clemson University in 2010.

For its first two decades, the USACO was directed by Don along with Head Coach Dr. Rob Kolstad and a dedicated volunteer staff, many of whom are former USA team members from past IOIs. Over the years, Rob built out the on-line infrastructure of the USACO to allow us to run monthly competitions at multiple levels of difficulty each year, in addition to the final US Open competition. Together with legendary coach Hal Burch, Rob also established the USACO training pages, which have helped teach algorithmic problem-solving to tens of thousands of students from around 90 countries worldwide. After Don and Rob's retirement from running USACO, the organization is currently headed up by Dr. Brian Dean, a computer science professor at Clemson University who has been a member of the USACO staff for more than two decades.

USA teams attending the IOI have shown steady and consistent improvement in their performance over the years, and the USA now regularly places among the top countries attending the IOI. The following is a list of all of our past IOI team members and the medals they earned at IOI. Please click below to see more information about the finalists and team for a particular year.

Type of Opportunity

Extracurricular Activity

Application Deadline

Spring 2022

Age Range

Grade 9-12