Tech & Innovation

Irish students head to the 2014 International Olympiad in Informatics

By Business & Finance
27 June 2014
International Olympiad in Informatics

Ireland’s best teenage computer programmers represent Ireland in Taiwan at the international finals.

After several rigorous selection rounds, four young students in secondary school have been selected to represent Ireland as it competes against other top young programmers from around the world during the 2014 International Olympiad in Informatics.

Team Ireland, consisting of Richard Tynan (19) from Cistercian College, Roscrea; Áron Hoffman (17) from Luttrellstown Community College, Dublin; Conor Griffin (18) from Ardscoil Ris, Limerick; and Daniel Mulcahy (17) from Gonzaga College, Dublin will travel to Taipei in Taiwan on Friday 11th July and compete against over 300 students from 86 other countries.

These talented individuals were selected after an intense programming bootcamp hosted by DCU, where they trained and practiced the art of competitive programming under similar conditions to those they will face in Taipei.

Gary Conway from School of Computing, DCU, who co-ordinates the AIPO explained, “These young students are self-educated in a variety of programming languages at a very high level. They are learning and using programming techniques which would normally be introduced to 3rd year computing students at the university level. The students have showed remarkable skills, not only in informatics and programming, but also in time management and stress control.”

Some of these students who participated in the programming bootcamp have already seen great success in what they do and both Richard Tynan and Daniel Mulcahy won 1st prize in the Technology Category at this year’s BT Young Scientist Competition. Áron Hoffman came first in the national All-Ireland Programming Olympiad (AIPO) final competition and Conor Griffin has secured a place on the new portfolio entry advanced programming undergraduate degree, Computational Problem Solving and Software Development (CPSSD) in DCU.

“Competing in AIPO over the past few years has made me a faster, more accurate and more knowledgeable coder, teaching me about areas of computer science that I didn’t even know existed, Richard Tynan explained. I was fortunate to receive an offer to study computer science in Cambridge University in the United Kingdom next year, with one of the interviewers even saying my AIPO and IOI experience was ‘one the most impressive things in my application’.”

Fidelity Investments and the School of Computing, DCU have sponsored the event each year. According to Travis Carpico, president of Fidelity Investments, “These students have precisely the type of skills that big companies are looking for in software engineers. They are solving the types of programming problems required in the financial sector as the majority of investments on worldwide stock markets are done using complex computer programs. In fact, programming competitions are now becoming an integral part of the software industry’s interview process, allowing us to identify top talent. We are delighted to be involved in this event and look forward to continuing to encourage and foster the enthusiasm for technology and computer education throughout Ireland.”