Erin congratulated herself for insisting on leaving early. Finding the campus hadn’t been complicated but after a walk from the bus stop that seemed endless to her, wanting to go as short as possible, they found themselves stranded on the wrong side of a locked door before a student does not tell them how to go around and find the public entrance to IRISA(1).

As if to test their nerves, the secure door swiveled slowly at the command of the hostess, who waited smiling for them behind the picture window.

- “We’re coming for the contest,” said Phyl hastily, “where is it?”

- Hello, you’ve come to the right place, but first I need to verify your identities.

“Well, you’re not kidding about security,” Erin said, showing her her ID card.

- Yes, usually it’s because of vigipirate but for the competition, they ask me to check that everyone is on the list and that no one is missing. You can follow the signs to the lobby, she told them, handing them back their papers.

Luckily the lobby was two steps away. Erin had been impressed with the size of the building and worried that she would have to find her way there. Reassured, she approached the buffet that had been set up for the contest and wanted to pour herself a cup of coffee.

“What I mostly see is that we’re really well received,” said Phyl, heading for the croissants.

They didn’t really have time to enjoy the buffet when a man in a black suit invited the participants to enter and take a seat in the amphitheater behind him.

Light from a video projector illuminated the room. On the screen, “Welcome” was displayed soberly.

Erin let Phyl look for a further seat. For her part, she greatly preferred the back of the amphitheater and found herself a quieter place from which she could observe the rest of the world. Some, looking stressed, compensated by regularly tapping their pens on the table. Others, like this boy, took the opportunity to flirt with their neighbor …

The man took his place on the platform and after thanking them for coming, he reminded them that ENISA was organizing this competition in order to detect students with high potential, and that these students would have the opportunity to integrate the Academy, a brand new high-level school, where they would be trained in the latest technologies.

It was a numerus clausus competition, with two hundred and fifty places for France.

It took place simultaneously in all the examination centers in Europe, and would consist of three theoretical tests in the morning and a practical test in the afternoon.

After this speech, they were distributed envelopes with the subject, not to open before the signal start.

​ 1.Institute for Research in Computer Science and Random Systems. ↩