International Logic Olympiad

The International Logic Olympiad

Michael Genesereth
Computer Science Department
Stanford University

Hermione Granger got it right when, facing the potion-master's test in Harry Potter, she said: "This isn't magic - it's logic - a puzzle. A lot of the greatest wizards haven't got an ounce of logic; they'd be stuck here forever." - Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone.

In the real world, we are better off. We use Logic in just about everything we do.


We use Logic in our professional lives - in proving mathematical theorems, in debugging computer programs, in medical diagnosis, and in legal reasoning.

And we use Logic in our personal lives - in playing games, solving puzzles, and doing school assignments, not just in Math, but also in History and English and other subjects.

"Whether I am on a soccer field or at a robotics competition, I face a lot of situations where logic is necessary to make decisions."
"I have always loved puzzles and logic and like to solve challenging problems."
"Math classes aren't the only classes that require logic; In AP United States History I am often called upon to recognize patterns and cycles spanning over four centuries, while in English classes I need to write persuasive essays by reasoning through source material and supporting my theses."

The ancient Greeks thought Logic sufficiently important that it was one of the three subjects in the Greek Trivium, along with Grammar and Rhetoric. Oddly, Logic occupies a relatively small place in the modern school curriculum. We have courses in the sciences and various branches of mathematics, but very few schools offer courses in Logic.


Given the importance of the subject, this is surprising. Calculus is important to physics. And it is widely taught at the high school level. Logic is important in all of these disciplines. And it is essential in topics like computer science. Yet it is rarely offered as a standalone course, making it more difficult for students to succeed at the college level and get better jobs.

Calculus is the mathematics of Physics.
Logic is the mathematics of Computer Science.

The International Logic Olympiad was established to deal with this situation. The Olympiad is a world-wide competition for secondary school students. It consists of a several rounds of online tests in the Spring followed by a final in-person competition held in the Summer on the Stanford University campus.

Online Quizzes In-person Final Competition

The quizzes and the final competition test the participants' understanding of Logic in a variety of ways - through questions about basic concepts (such as logical consistency and logical entailment), through the use logical reasoning techniques such as logic grids and logical proofs, and through logic puzzles of various sorts. For those who need to brush up, the Olympiad provides educational materials to help prepare participants for the competition.

If you are a high school student, prove that you are a logical wizard. Sign up for the Olympiad (at Take the tests in the Spring. Visit the Stanford University Campus in the Summer. Demonstrate that you can outsmart the illogical wizards of Harry Potter.