More than 300 of the most gifted high school students from 81 countries around the world will put their computing and problem-solving skills to the test against the very best next week when Canada hosts for the first time an elite programming competition – the 22nd International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI). The 82 teams (as host country, Canada is allowed two) representing countries ranging from Albania to Vietnam will spend a week earning the bragging rights that go with bringing home bronze, silver or the coveted gold medals. The full program, which runs from August 14 to 21, also includes a number of sessions to further develop their abilities or to sample and enjoy Canada.
“The students participating really are amongst the next generation of geniuses,” said Troy Vasiga, chair of the 2010 IOI organizing committee. “One consequence of the world being digitized is that everything is information. These students are going to be the people that write computer programs that help solve significant problems in disease, health-care, transportation, energy and other disciplines – in many cases problems we haven’t even yet anticipated.”
An opening ceremony, open to the public, will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday at the Waterloo Recreation Complex. The event will feature such guest speakers as David Yach, chief technology officer of software at Research In Motion, and Arturo Cepeda, president of the IOI. The actual competition takes place on Monday and Wednesday, when participants spend five hours each day solving a total of eight tasks. Those tasks, which are translated into each team’s official language the night before, challenge such computing skills as problem analysis, design of algorithms and data structures, programming and testing.
Three sample tasks are available online and one of them is called Guess. “In our sample version,” explains Gord Cormack, chair of the IOI 2010 host scientific committee, “contestants must write a computer program to assume the role of a child playing the popular guessing game, ‘I’m thinking of a number between one and ten, can you guess it?’ The object is to identify the number with as few guesses as possible.”
In between the opening and closing ceremonies, when they are not practicing or competing, team members, leaders and guests will enjoy a range of fun and/or learning activities. Final results of the 2010 IOI, including gold, silver and bronze medal winners, will be announced at closing ceremonies on Friday, from 5 to 9 p.m. at Bingeman’s in Kitchener. Visitors will experience a few of the sights, sounds and culture of Canada. Planned activities include tours of Waterloo, both the university and the region, as well as visits to Canada’s Wonderland and Niagara Falls.
On Sunday, Monday and Wednesday evenings, Waterloo faculty members and graduate students with Waterloo’s David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science will give a total of 10 presentations on a range of topics, including one entitled How to See: the Neuroscience of Vision and another on A Short Introduction to Mind Reading. Four will be in English, with the remaining in Arabic, French, German, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish.
“Students from over 80 countries will shortly be arriving in Waterloo for the 22nd annual International Olympiad in Informatics,” said Richard Forster, executive director of the IOI. “Having seen the preparations that have been put in to the contest by the hosts, I am confident that these students will enjoy a successful event and take away happy memories of Waterloo and Canada.”
Most teams include up to four participants, plus two leaders, though interest in Japan is great enough that the team is traveling with its own documentary crew. Team members are competitively selected, in some cases early enough to allow a year’s training. Leading Canadian contenders, including two who won silver medals at the 2009 IOI held in Bulgaria, attended a training camp last May in Waterloo to sharpen their skills and enter a six-hour contest. The top eight students in that contest form Canada’s two teams at the 2010 IOI. As host, Canada will enter one official (first) team of four competitors and an unofficial (second) team of four competitors. Eight Canadians were selected out of a pool of 21 leading contenders who qualified after writing the Canadian Computing Competition, run by the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing at the University of Waterloo.
EA Sports has also named Los Angeles Galaxy star Landon Donovan as a cover athlete for EA Sports™ upcoming title FIFA Soccer 11. The 28-year-old American soccer hero will join Real Madrid’s Kaka and Arsenal’s Carlos Vela on the front cover of FIFA Soccer 11 in the United States and Canada when it is available in retail stores September 28. This is Donovan’s third FIFA cover, as he was also featured on the North American FIFA Soccer 2003 and FIFA Soccer 07 covers. This is the first appearance for Kaka and Vela.
“Landon is the most recognizable, popular and accomplished soccer player in the United States and he was at his best with the world watching during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™,” said Matt Bilbey, Vice President of Soccer, EA Sports. “After his FIFA World Cup™ performance and the season he had with the Galaxy last year we felt he belonged back on the cover of FIFA Soccer 11.”
A reminder to hockey fans about a contest that will see EA Sports™ give one lucky fan and their family an opportunity to meet the NHL® Slapshot cover athlete, Wayne Gretzky. Dubbed The Wayne Gretzky Challenge (no purchase necessary), the contest will ask hockey fans to submit either a video or photo submission that showcases their passion for the sport of hockey for a chance to meet the Great One at the NHL Slapshot launch event in September.
Participants will be asked to submit their videos and photos through the contest tab on EA Sports’ NHL Facebook page. The top 10 finalists, as chosen by the EA Sports NHL Slapshot team, will have their submissions hosted on the EA Sports NHL Facebook page, with public votes determining the eventual winner.
August 8 – Contest submissions open
August 19 – Contest submissions close
August 23 – 10 Finalists revealed
August 23 – Fan voting begins
August 26 – Winner announced
NHL Slapshot introduces a revolutionary hockey stick accessory that allows players to shoot, pass and body check just like the pros. In addition to having his likeness on the front of all packaging, Gretzky will be available as a playable character in the game when NHL Slapshot is available in retail stores on September 7, 2010.
Uh oh – I see more bear insanity in my future – 505 Games and Artificial Mind & Movement have announced that new DLC for the recently released Naughty Bear game is now available via Xbox LIVE® Arcade and the PlayStation®Network in North America. Players can download the code update as well as the all-new free Level 8 episode for challenging and never-before-seen gameplay.
In the free DLC episode, Naughty Bear receives a surprise invite to a suspicious cake tasting party where he is to be the guest of honour. Players must help Naughty decipher the real motive behind the invitation before things get out of hand on the Island of Perfection. Also included in the expanded in-game content are additional costumes, hats, weapons and four new challenges in an originally themed environment.
Upon downloading Level 8, gamers will meet the X-Bears, a gang of superhero bears led by Danger Bear. Adored by their fellow bears on the Island of Perfection, the X-Bears possess super powers and are always ready for battle. Players will also meet Bubbles, Danger Bear’s ultimate die-hard fan, who is identified by his sidekick mask and the Danger Bear hat he wears. Though Bubbles has no superpowers of his own, he solidifies his dedication to Danger Bear and the X-Bears by employing an Uzi in the fight against Naughty.
Vancouver indie developer Captain Games has released its latest iPhone title. Available now in the App Store is So Long, Oregon – an educational but fun game about American history. The premise of the game is to drive a wagon across the American west, then veer south in search of the legendary ancient lost city of gold known as El Dorado. So Long, Oregon uses OpenFeint to allow for greater competition among players as they vie for the highest scores and most achievements. Players are challenged to hone their wagon driving skills along the Oregon Trail or in three other driving tests as well as battle disease and other timely obstacles. So Long, Oregon is priced at $1.99 USD, and if you buy it now, you will get a free playable Ford Escort for in-game use.
Ontario’s XMG Studio has launched its new space age iPhone game, Cannon Cadets. This physics based application will have you rocketing your way through its visually stunning and equally challenging levels as you fight to free fellow cadets, all in the name of fun.
As Cannon Cadets hero Rocketboy, you will battle the evil lab monkey Gordo by launching yourself and your team of cadets through crazy structures at his evil robot army. Determined to rid the galaxy of fun, they have locked up your fellow cadets and it is your duty to release them from the clutches of their robot guardians.
Saving your fellow cadets won’t be as simple launching yourself into the robot stronghold. You must strategically project yourself into structures ranging from simple to complex constructions that include rolls, slides and hinges. Each new level is sure to provide challenges to children and adults alike as you fight to destroy the robots and release your friends. Cannon Cadets is currently available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, with an iPad version to follow soon.
“Cannon Cadets is all about fun. The characters are fun, the music is fun and the game, is really, a lot of fun,” said Ray Sharma, Founder, XMG Studio. “We loved the genre of game where you fling projectiles at a structure and try to collapse it. We combined that fun gameplay mechanic with our unique story and added our own twist of chain reactions and moving targets and we think gamers are going to really enjoy playing Cannon Cadets.”
Features of Cannon Cadets include:
– 80 beautifully illustrated mind twisting levels on four unique planets
– 4 playable characters (RocketBoy, RocketGirl, Pop, and Granati)
– Hidden Bonus Levels
– Amazing game physics including hinged and moving objects, as well as complex chain reaction style challenges
Ubisoft has released the first Dev Diary video for Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood. Check out what the dev team has to say about the next chapter of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, when the secret war between Templar and Assassin continues.
Edmonton distribution company FlicStick announced today the tentative release date of October 1st, 2010 for its in-house-developed patent pending “FlicStick Movie System”.
The FlicStick is made for both XBOX 360 and PS3 gamers, enabling them to simply and easily fetch quality movies and watch them via their console’s USB port. Initial broadcasting of movie content will include trailers and Indy films, but the company will become actively engaged in discussions with larger movie content suppliers as the product gains traction in the market.
Gamers are expanding their console uses and want quality movies. Current movie download services can be difficult, complicated, slow, and may require longer-term subscriptions or commitments to use their services. Retail content renters often have poor inventory and are time consuming. These factors make watching content complicated, restricted and slow. The FlicStick simplifies the entire process with a Live Movie Guide, faster downloads and the ability to channel high quality content to watch on the XBOX and Playstation 3. The Live Movie Guide automatically displays the newest available titles. Once the movie has been selected and temporarily preserved, the user then puts the FlicStick into their console to watch.
In another step towards expanding the digital reach and impact of its award-winning educational children’s content, TVO is proud to announce an exciting new distribution initiative with the launch of BlackBerry® Podcasts, which allows BlackBerry® smartphone users to easily discover, acquire and enjoy podcasts. In an exclusive arrangement, four new TVOKids video podcast channels focusing on the hard-to-teach subjects of math and science will be made available on BlackBerry Podcasts:
Featuring popular TVOKids hosts and characters like Gisèle, Enviro Girl, Lotta Numbers and Jay the Blue Jay, TVO’s four exclusive Math and Science video podcast channels will be presented within the Education category of BlackBerry Podcasts beginning Wednesday, August 11. Like all TVO-produced children’s content, the TVOKids podcasts are designed with educators to support the Ontario school curriculum and empower parents to join in the fun while helping prepare their children for classroom learning.
“Increasingly, people are discovering that ‘going mobile’ with TVO is the perfect anytime/anywhere solution for keeping young minds active and engaged outside of the classroom,” says Chief Executive Officer Lisa de Wilde. “And with our educational content now available for BlackBerry smartphones, we’re creating unique ‘pass-back’ learning opportunities between parents and their children. I’m incredibly proud that we’re collaborating with an outstanding industry leader like RIM, an organization that shares our vision for making science and math fun and engaging for kids.”
“BlackBerry Podcasts offers an enriched and streamlined multimedia experience and we are pleased to work with TVO to bring their compelling and exclusive educational content to customers with the launch of this exciting new service,” said Alistair Mitchell, Vice President, Multimedia Integration.
A member of the BlackBerry® Alliance program, TVO’s future plans include developing select educational web games from tvokids.com for use on BlackBerry® smartphones.
Kobo has partnered up with the Fairmont Hotel chain to offer Fairmont Gold guests access to Kobo eReaders featuring a library of new and bestselling Random House books. The Kobo eReaders are now available at select properties in the US and Canada for guests staying on Fairmont Gold, a private, dedicated area offering guests the experience of an exclusive oasis with personalized service and enhanced amenities. The eReaders are loaded with a variety of fiction and non-fiction eBooks by authors including Bret Easton Ellis, Sophie Kinsella and Alexander McCall Smith. Upon returning the Kobo eReader, guests will receive a special offer for $2 off select Random House titles.
“Travelers are a great fit for the Kobo offering and a group that is eager to engage in eReading,” said Michael Serbinis, CEO of Kobo. “We know that travelers do not want to carry heavy books in their luggage, and vacations provide the perfect time to relax and catch up on reading. This partnership allows Kobo to expand our reach and offer our service to an important segment of our customer base.”
The opportunity to trial a Kobo eReader is a benefit of Fairmont President’s Club (FPC), the brand’s guest loyalty program. Free to join, Fairmont President’s Club provides guests with special benefits and privileges designed to reflect individual travel preferences and offer an enhanced level of service. Personalized travel profiles afford members customized stay experiences, while in-hotel benefits include private check-in, complimentary room upgrades, and high-speed and wireless Internet access. Guests can enroll at time of booking or online.
Brad Martin, President and CEO, Random House of Canada commented, “Random House is excited to partner with Kobo and Fairmont Hotels to give travelers the opportunity and convenience to read books by some of our bestselling and award-winning authors on Kobo eReaders. I’m sure guests will really enjoy this great reading experience.”
In addition to the Random House library, Fairmont guests can easily access Kobo’s eBook store to browse and purchase from Kobo’s collection of over two million titles, thousands of which are available for free. Kobo also offers free eReading apps for today’s most popular devices, such as iPhone, Blackberry®, Android, and the latest tablets, including iPad. Kobo‘s eReading service is being used by customers in more than 200 countries. A customer’s Kobo library is bookmarked from one device to the next for a continuous reading experience. The Kobo eReader is available for $149 at Borders in the US and at Indigo Books & Music and Walmart stores in Canada.
Brian Richardson, VP Marketing and Communications, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts says, “Offering benefits that are valued and distinctive allows us to provide our most loyal guests with something unique – either during the stay or when they return home. The Kobo eReader is a great way for guests to enjoy entertainment while staying with Fairmont and a great partner for us.”
The Kobo eReader is available at the following Fairmont Hotels & Resorts: The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Fairmont Pacific Rim, Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, The Fairmont Royal York, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, Fairmont Château Laurier, Fairmont Turnberry Isle, The Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston, and The Plaza, A Fairmont Managed Hotel. Additionally, in hotels where Fairmont Gold is not available, guests can request Kobo eReaders through Royal Service.