The Indian Computing Olympiad 2021 Registrations Are Now Open!

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The Indian Association for Research in Computing Science (IARCS), the body that conducts the prestigious Indian Computing Olympiad (ICO), has announced the registrations for 2021. The date for the first round, i.e., the Zonal Informatics Olympiad (ZIO-2021) is 19th December 2020. The last date for registration is December 7, 2020. 

IARCS has also announced that this year, the Zonal Computing Olympiad (ZCO) will not take place. This decision has been taken considering the current prevalent pandemic situation in the country. This makes it evident that to begin their ICO 2021 journey, participating in ZIO-2021 is the only option for school students this year.

Read the details given below to get an in-depth insight on the latest updates and know more about ICO:

What is the Indian Computing Olympiad?

Indian Computing Olympiad or ICO is a nationwide competition organized annually by the IARCS. ICO is the only Indian examination that is recognized worldwide for participation in the esteemed International Olympiad for Informatics (IOI) for Indian students and is used to select a squad of four students who represent India annually at this event. This year, all 4 Indian students who won ICO 2020 and represented India at IOI 2020 (held virtually) won medals for the nation. Two of the students got silver medals, and the other two won the bronze medal. You can read more about this news here – IOI 2020 Winners – India.

Structure of the ICO Examination

Every year to win the ICO, school students have to clear a few initial rounds of test & training. The quest to represent India in IOI starts with ICO’s first round that is called the Zonal round. As soon as the registrations are completed, a student gets the option to either appear for the ZCO (Zonal Computing Olympiad) or the ZIO (Zonal Informatics Olympiad). Students clearing any one of these rounds get shortlisted for the INOI (Indian National Olympiad in Informatics). From INOI, the shortlisted candidates go to the IOI Training Camp, and from there the best four represent India at the IOI. 

Structure of ICO 2021

This year for ICO 2021: 

  • ZIO 2021 will be the only initial zonal round of ICO 2021. ZIO is a written exam and will be held on December 19, 2020. No programming knowledge is required for ZIO.
  • From ZIO, shortlisted students will go to the INOI, which is a programming contest.
  • Around 30 students selected from INOI will go to the IOI Training Camp. 
  • Final 4 students will be selected for IOI 2021 which will be hosted at the National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore.

Who are all eligible?

ICO is open for all school students across India, irrespective of the school board. Any student registered in a school up to class 12 during the academic year 2020-21 is eligible. If you have completed class 12 or plan to redo your class 12 exam for improvement, you are not eligible.

CodeChef and ICO

CodeChef is the official partner of IARCS. CodeChef is credited to have trained and mentored the IOI winners from India from the last 11 years of its existence. CodeChef (official partner to IARCS) will be providing a learning program to school students (Class 6 and above) to help prepare them for ICO. The learning program will include weekly sessions conducted by volunteers covering the relevant topics. These sessions will be free of charge. Only students who have registered for ICO 2021 can participate in this training. To enroll for the CodeChef ICO 2021 Learning Program, please encourage students/parents to fill this form at the earliest. Students can also ask questions on and get help from the community. To encourage students to win the gold medal at IOI, CodeChef has also launched the Go for Gold initiative.

You can go through the following link to get complete information on the preparation resources – ICO Resources. To get in touch with CodeChef’s IOI & School’s team, write to

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