Tech & Innovation

Olympic bronze success in programming for Irish teenager

By Business & Finance
21 July 2014
Richard Tynam, DCU

Richard Tynan (19) from Cistercian College, Roscrea, clinched a bronze medal at the prestigious International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) in Taipei, Taiwan last week.

The IOI is the pinnacle of computer programming at the high school level; over 311 students from 82 countries attended this year’s event to solve six highly complex algorithmic problems over two days. Many of the students that attended are self-taught in programming techniques that are generally only introduced to third year computer science university students.

Gary Conway who led the Irish delegation said: “This is Ireland’s first medal in five years and a great achievement for Richard. To put it in perspective, the UK, Spain and Hungary also only received one bronze medal, so when you compare these populations, Ireland is definitely punching above its weight.”

With the support of Fidelity Investments and DCU, the top eight teenagers from the national All Ireland Programming Olympiad (AIPO) were invited to a three-day training camp on DCU campus. The students were tutored in advanced competitive programming techniques enabling them to decipher and code a solution to International Olympiad problems. The top four students from this group – Richard Tynan, Conor Griffin (18yrs from Ardscoil Ris, Limerick), Áron Hoffman (17yrs from Luttrellstown Community College, Dublin) and Daniel Mulcahy (17yrs from Gonzaga College, Dublin) were selected to represent Ireland on the trip of a lifetime to Taipei, Taiwan.

After clinching his medal, Tynan said: “I’m delighted to receive an IOI medal. This is my third and final year attending the IOI and I was determined to win a medal. I’m going to miss coming to the IOI now that I’m starting college. It’s been a wonderful experience visiting Taiwan and making new friends from around the world.” He has been invited to read Computer Science at Cambridge in the United Kingdom next year.

Experiencing an IOI inspires student to push their programming skills further when they return home in order to ensure they make the team next year. Conor Griffin is enrolling in DCU in September while Áron and Daniel are determined to return to the 2015 IOI in Kazakhstan.