Ireland’s smartest young programmers win a trip to compete at the Olympics of Programming

ioicamp2After several selection rounds of the All-Ireland Programming Olympiad (http://aipo.computing.dcu.ie/) four young men from around Ireland are off to pit their wits against the best in the world in a very 21st century competition, the International Olympiad in Informatics (http://www.ioi2014.org/). And the remarkable thing is all of them are still in secondary school!

Competing against over 300 students from 86 other countries in the beautiful and exotic city of Taipei in Taiwan, Team Ireland consists of:

  • Richard Tynan (19yrs) from Cistercian College, Roscrea
  • Áron Hoffman (17yrs) from Luttrellstown Community College, Dublin
  • Conor Griffin (18yrs) from Ardscoil Ris, Limerick
  • Daniel Mulcahy (17rs) from Gonzaga College, Dublin

Team Ireland was selected after an intense programming bootcamp hosted by DCU in June where they training and practiced the art of competitive programming under the same conditions that they will face in Taipei. The level of difficult of the programming problems these students face is quite astounding. This is CoderDojo for the big boys.

ioicamp2Gary Conway from School of Computing, DCU, who co-ordinates the AIPO explained, “These young students are self-educated in a variety of programming languages to a very high level, studying programming techniques which would only be introduced to 3rd year computing students in any university. They are showcase skills not only in informatics and programming but also in time management and stress control.”  

But these students already have a winning mentality. Both Richard Tynan and Daniel Mulcahy both won 1st Prize in the Technology Category awards at this year's BT Young Scientist Competition. Áron Hoffman came first in the national AIPO finals 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.

Richard Tynan said “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 had existed. I was fortunate to receive of an offer to study computer science in Cambridge University in the UK 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 along with the School of Computing, DCU have been sponsoring the event each year.  According to Tadhg O’Shea from Fidelity, “These students have precisely the type of skills that big software companies are looking for in software engineers. They are solving the types of programming problems required in the Financial Sector with the majority of investments on worldwide stock markets done by complex computer programs. In fact, programming competitions are now becoming an integral part of the software industries interview process, allowing us to identify the best talent. We are delighted to be involved in this event and we are keen to continue to encourage this type of enthusiasm for youth programming throughout Ireland”.  

DCU, School of Computing along with Fidelity Investments, would like to wish all those students heading to the IOI the very best of luck.  We look forward to updating everyone on their progress at the International event in Taiwan.

Team Ireland progress at the IOI in Taipei can be followed on their Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/DCU.AIPO and Twitter @DCU_AIPO