Informatics olympian aspires to exert a positive impact on humans

Rares Darius Buhai, 19, a student at the "Liviu Rebreanu" National High School in Bistrita, Romania, became this week -- for the 4th year in a row -- a gold medalist at the 2015 International Olimpiad competition in Informatics, held from 22 July through 2 August in Kzakhstan.

Rares tied for second place, among 322 contestants from 83 countries, and in the 26 years since this annual competition began, no other contestant from Romania has surpassed or even matched Rares's performance.

"I've followed with great interest and sympathy Rares's development during middle school [and] high school... [H]e is not just any student who likes science," declared Professor Constantin Galatan. "He has now joined the elite algoritmiticians."

As Rares explained to an AFP global news-agency correspondent, in advance of this year's competition: "I already know that I will study in the US. I was accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and Harvard. I still do not know where I will go... but 100% am decided to study in the US. I was accepted for results thus far [so] this year it does not matter."

But Rares won gold this year anyway. :-)

"To deal with problems involving very large amounts of data, it is necessary to have not only programmers, but also creative coders, who can dream up what it is that the programmers need to tell the computer to do," explains a Wikipedia description of the International Informatics Olympiad contest. "The hard part isn't the programming, but the mathematics underneath it,"

"I still have not settled on the area in which I will work, but whether I will focus on research or programming I want to do everything I can to have a positive impact on the lives of humans around me," Rares had said to a Transylvania news-reporter two years ago.

02 AUG 2015

UPDATE (for my colleagues and friends who have MIT connections):

Within hours last August of this teenager's newest gold medal win in this summer's International Informatics Olimpiad competition, news media outlets in Europe were reporting that he'd chosen to attend MIT over Stanford and Harvard.

15 SEP 2015