Four fantastic Irish decoders Bulgaria-bound for the International Linguistics Olympiad 2015

Team Ireland members to put their code-breaking skills to the test on the international stage

17th July 2015, Dublin, Ireland: Four of Ireland’s leading problem solvers are preparing to test their language decoding skills against the world’s best at the International Linguistics Olympiad in in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, next week. The secondary school students, from Dublin and Donegal, are sharpening up their code-breaking skills at a team training camp hosted by the ADAPT Centre at Dublin City University (DCU) on 17th and 18th July, ahead of departing for Bulgaria on 19th July.

The Irish team members won the chance to represent their country by finishing ahead of 4,000 participants in this year’s ADAPT All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad. Shmuel Barron of Sutton Park School (Dublin), who claimed the title of overall winner at the All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad National Final in DCU in March 2015, will be joined by teammates Luke Gardiner of Gonzaga College (Dublin), Ethan Hamman of Newpark Comprehensive (Dublin) and Niamh Lynch of Loreto College Letterkenny (Donegal), who placed second, third and fourth respectively.

Running from 20th to 24th July, the International Linguistics Olympiad will see more than 170 second-level students from 28 countries strive to solve some of the world’s toughest problems in logic, language and linguistics.

Contestants will face challenging puzzles in unfamiliar languages, including many lesser-spoken and endangered languages from across the globe. Knowledge of a second language is not required, as students test their reasoning skills, logic, and of course, patience, throughout the rounds.

Team member, Niamh Lynch eagerly anticipates a puzzle-packed week of decoding:

I am very honoured to have the opportunity to represent Ireland at IOL and I’m so excited for the trip.

Dubliner Luke Gardiner, who also represented Ireland in the 2015 Olympiad, is aware of the challenges that he and members of the Irish team will face:

“Having been fortunate enough to have participated in last year’s International Linguistics Olympiad, I know that the trip to Bulgaria will be great fun. The competition will be challenging but I am really looking forward to it, especially the team round where we will all be working together as a team.”

Team Leader and National Co-ordinator of AILO, Dr. Cara Greene of the ADAPT Centre is also looking forward to the competition:

“Luke, Ethan, Niamh and Shmuel are four of our brightest young problem-solvers and I am delighted that they will be representing Ireland at the International Olympiad. We are looking forward to competing against 44 teams from 28 countries from all over the world.”

The four finalists are all set and ready to solve, having already received tuition from experts at the Science Foundation Ireland funded ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology, a €110 million academia-industry research centre developing advanced technology to adapt and personalise digital content and services to the needs of global users.



The All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad
Launched in 2009 and run by the ADAPT Centre, the All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad (AILO) is a contest in which secondary school students develop their own strategies for solving problems in fascinating languages from around the globe. Students must use their ingenuity to solve puzzles as deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics, decoding numerical spy codes, and interpreting ancient Mayan poetry. No prior knowledge of linguistics or a second language is required, as even the hardest problems require only logical ability, patient work, and a willingness to think around corners. AILO introduces students to linguistics (i.e. the study of human language) and to the application of logic to problems of language understanding and translation. The goal is to develop students’ problem-solving skills and to inspire them to consider the fascinating range of careers at the intersection of computing, linguistics and language. More than 10,000 students have participated in the Olympiad to date, with many former participants now studying computing and linguistics and tutoring current participants.

The International Linguistics Olympiad
The International Linguistics Olympiad is one of 12 International Science Olympiads for secondary school students, and has been held annually since 2003. Each year, teams of young linguists from some 30 countries gather and test their minds against complex puzzles in language and linguistics. The weeklong Olympiad comprises individual and team contests, and students enjoy an active programme of social and cultural events. The 2015 edition of the contest will take place in Bulgaria from 20th to 24th July 2015.

ADAPT Centre
ADAPT is the global centre for digital content technology. Supported by Science Foundation Ireland, ADAPT combines the expertise of 120 researchers at four universities (Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University, Dublin City University, University College Dublin and Dublin Institute of Technology) with that of its industry partners to produce ground-breaking digital content innovations. The Centre’s research and technologies help companies to deliver the right content, to the right customer at the right time, in the right language, in the right format and on the device of their choice.

Dr. Cara Greene
National Coordinator, All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad
Research Outreach Coordinator
ADAPT Centre
Tel: +353 1 700 6704

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