The idea of initiating international Olympiads in informatics for school students was proposed to the 24th General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris by the Bulgarian delegate Professor Sendov in October 1987. This plan was included in the Fifth Main Program of The UNESCO for the biennium 1988-1989 (Section 05 215). In May 1989, UNESCO initiated and sponsored the first International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI).
The IOI is one of five international science Olympiads . The primary goal of the IOI is to stimulate interest in informatics (computing science) and information technology. Another important goal is to bring together exceptionally talented pupils from various countries and to have them share scientific and cultural experiences.
The IOI is organized annually by one of the participating countries. Each participating country typically sends a delegation of four pupils and two accompanying adults to participate in the contest. During the test, the contestants compete individually and try to maximize their scores by solving a set of informatics problems during two competition days, each of five hours. The problems have been algorithmic programming problems to be solved on a personal computer. Cultural and recreational events are organized on the remaining days.