Indian Computing Olympiad, 2019



Started in 2002, the Indian Computing Olympiad (ICO) is a nationwide programming competition held annually by Indian Association For Research In Computing Science (IARCS). The goal of the competition is to identify school students with outstanding skills in algorithms and computer programming.

This competition is used to select the team of four students to represent India at the International Olympiad for Informatics (IOI). IOI is one of the twelve international Science Olympiads held annually. Other prominent Science Olympiads include Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Astronomy.

It is a three-stage competition.

Registration details

  • Why register? 
    Algorithms are the driving force of the information age that we live in. Participating in the Indian Computing Olympiad will expose the students to the exciting world of algorithms and programming.
  • Eligibility
    Any school student who enjoy solving problems and has interest in programming
  • Prerequisites
    Requires school level mathematics and some basic understanding of algorithms.
  • Registration
    You can find all the details about registration here,
  • Registration Fees
    INR 400
  • Last date to register
    For ZIO - 4 November 2018
    For ZCO - 20 November 2018 (extended)

Details about the stages

The three stages of ICO are as follows:

  • Zonal round
    • This round has two parallel exams, namely Zonal Informatics Olympiad(ZIO) and Zonal Computing Olympiad(ZCO).
    • You can qualify for the second round through either exam. You can choose to write both exams, but you must register separately for each exam.
    • Exam format of ZIO-2019 (Logical Puzzles Exam)
      • This is a regular examination that tests analytical and computational reasoning.
      • It will be administered in cooperation with TCS ION, a division of Tata Consultancy Services.
      • The nature of the question paper will be the same as in previous years.
      • Previous years' questions:
    • Exam format of ZCO-2019 (Programming Exam)
      • This is a programming exam with an emphasis on algorithms.
      • It will be administered in cooperation with CodeChef.
      • Programming languages permitted - C, C++, Java and Python.
      • The exam format will be similar to previous years.
      • Previous years' questions:
  • Indian National Olympiad in Informatics (INOI)
    • In this round, about 250-300 students qualify from the Zonal round.
    • This is again an algorithmic programming exam at a more advanced level than ZCO.
    • Programming languages permitted - C++ and Java. C and Python will not be available.
    • Previous years' questions:
  • IOI Training Camp (TC)
    • Top 25-30 students from the second stage are selected for the residential training camp.
    • Here they are provided advanced training and from them, four students are selected to represent India at for IOI.

Note: All these exams are individual events.


The syllabus for the first 2 stages is the list of Basic Topics in the Online Study Material.


Many National and International institutions have special admission procedures for Olympiad students. Find more details here:

Participation in Olympiad: An Inspiration for a Career in Computer Science

The unique experience of the Olympiad inspires young students to continue their fascinating journey with computer science. Most of the past Olympiad students have chosen academic careers in computer science at reputed universities and research institutions in India and abroad.

Indian Performance at International Olympiad in Informatics

Indian students have been participating at the IOI since 2002. India has won 1 gold medal, 13 silver medals, and 32 bronze medals. More details here:

Go for Gold Award

Directi and CodeChef have extended their Go For Gold program, which was created to see an Indian college student win gold at the ICPC world finals to the Indian Middle/High School students. More on the ICPC Go For Gold program can be read here.

Under our IOI Go For Gold initiative we want to see a Indian middle/high school student win gold medal at International Olympiads in Informatics.

The coveted Go For Gold award remains unclaimed for consecutive 4 years since 2015. The prize money at stake for the year 2019 is INR 1,312,438. You can read all about our Go For Gold for schools program and awards to be won here.

We wish to see more and more students taking up computer programming while they are in school and to bring glory to their school, parents, and the whole nation.

#GoForGold #CodeChef