International journal of science Nature defines Bioinformatics as an interdisciplinary field that creates and applies computational methods to analyse biological data.

In order to inspire Bioinformaticians and Biologists and to attract more Computer Scientists to the field, Bioinformatics Institute in 2017 launched Bioinformatics Contest – annual online programming competition focused exclusively on bioinformatics problem solving.

In February 2018 Bioinformatics Institute in cooperation with ITMO University, Rosalind and Stepik held the Contest for the second time. Around 3000 people from more than 100 countries all over the world participated in the Contest. 409 of them advanced to the Finals.

Here are the winners of the Bioinformatics Contest 2018:

  • 1st place: Kirill Tsukanov, 5882.35 points (Russia)
  • 2nd place: James Matthew Holt, 5642.76 points (USA)
  • 3rd place: Gennady Korotkevich, 5160.58 points (Belarus)
  • 4th place: Víctor López Ferrando, 4964.48 points (Spain)
  • 5th place: Roman Cheplyaka, 4875.94 points (UK)

6th-20th places: Ruoyun Hui, Jeffrey Ho, Rayan Chikhi, Jessica Chung, Michael Roberts, Andrey Lando, Roberto Rosati, Michal Punčochář, Petr Popov, Winslow Johnson, Arno Velds, luis Paulin, Yoshiaki Yasumizu, David Eccles, Akiyama Osamu.

The finals standings are available on:

The Contest was organized in two online rounds – the Qualification Round and the Finals. In both rounds participants were to solve bioinformatics problems by using programming skills and analyzing data sets. Participants were required to solve certain number of qualification problems to advance to the Final Round.

The Qualification Round lasted for a week and consisted of three problems (with 11 sub-problems). The Finals consisted of five challenging problems (with 21 sub-problems) and lasted for 24 hours on February 24, 2018.

This year the Contest team focused on making the problems even more relevant to specialists who work in the field of Biology and Bioinformatics. So, the problems were dedicated to working with plasmid recombination process, analysis of phylogenetic networks, searching for tandem repeats, breeding and several others. All the problems remain available by the following link:

The problem sets were developed by the team from ITMO University – the only 7-time winner of the world's top programming competition and an alma mater to the most of the top ranked competitive programmers). In 2018 the developers team consisted of: Vitalii Aksenov, Alexey Sergushichev, Artem Vasiliev, Vitalii Demyanyuk, Nikita Alexeev, Ilya Zban, Grigory Shovkoplyas, Maria Atamanova from the ITMO University, and Alexandr Tkachenko from Bioinformatics Institute & St. Petersburg State University. The organizers also want to thank Alexander Predeus and David Eccles for contributing to the problem ideas.

We genuinely hope that the Contest inspired you to continue bioinformatics research and to pursue a career in this field which remains so highly demanded nowadays!

"Let me just start by saying this competition was really fun and had a lot of cool, challenging problems. Overall, I found this to be a really awesome experience and I highly recommend anyone seeing this to go check out the problems even though the competition is over now. Looking forward to hopefully continuing this competition in the coming years!

[We ommited technical discussion of problems, the full review can be found on the competion review section:]"

James Matthew Holt