On 4th August 2017, the efforts made by international students in the 15th International Linguistics Olympiad (IOL 2017) were celebrated at the competition’s Closing Ceremony at Dublin City University. Throughout this week-long contest, world-leading students worked both individually and in teams to decipher linguistic codes and put their problem-solving skills to the test. The event was hosted by the ADAPT Centre, and ran from the 31st July to 4th August. During this week 43 teams consisting of 172 students who previously achieved gold medals in their respective national competitions competed for the global prize.
Ireland was represented at this year’s Olympiad by two teams made up of 8 of the country’s brightest problem solvers. These students, aged 15 to 18, travelled to DCU from all corners of the island. Their previous achievements in the All-Ireland Linguistics Olympiad guaranteed these students a place in this prestigious competition. Irish contestants were as follows: Philip Krause from Ashton, Blackrock Co Cork, Eimear Kyle from St Finian’s College Mullingar Co Westmeath, Marco Stango from Newtown School Co Waterford, Tom McAlinden from Aquinas Grammar Belfast, Padraig Sheehy from Gonzaga College Co Dublin, Tristan l’Anson-Sparks from Methodist College Belfast, Cian O’Hara from Holy Family Community School Rathcoole Co Dublin, and Daniel Quigley from Belfast Royal Academy Belfast.
Winners of the individual and team contests were announced at the Closing Ceremony, held in The Helix at DCU. Taiwan’s team TaiTWO were awarded the gold medal for the team competition, with Poland’s Team Ą achieving the silver medal, and Team Slovenia receiving bronze. View the full list of IOL 2017 results
The IOL challenges students to apply logic, computational thinking and problem-solving skills to solve some of the world’s most complex problems in linguistics and language. This year’s contestants were challenged with such tasks as decoding emoji scripts presented to them in Indonesian. The IOL was a key element of ADAPT and SFI’s Problem Solving Initiative, which will culminate in a problem-solving festival open to all members of the public. This festival will be held in Trinity College Dublin on 30th September, and will involve mind-bending puzzles suitable for all ages.
Registration for the next season of the All-Ireland Linguistics Olympiad will open in September 2017 at www.adaptcentre.ie/ailo. Successful contestants in next year’s AILO will get the chance to compete in the next IOL, which will be held during the summer months in Prague, Czech Republic in 2018.
The Problem-Solving Initiative will foster the next generation of problem solvers for Ireland
Search is on for Ireland’s top young problem solver
On 7th November 2017 Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, launched a major nationwide initiative aimed at fostering the next generation of skilled problem solvers for Ireland. The Problem-Solving Initiative (PSI) will encourage Irish youngsters to hone their lateral-thinking skills, and will create enthusiasm within the Irish public for problem-solving by engaging people directly with mind-bending puzzles and challenges. It will also promote career pathways in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) for those who enjoy solving problems. The two-year initiative is delivered by the ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology, led out of Trinity College Dublin, and funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).
Speaking about the initiative, ADAPT Director Professor Vincent Wade said: “Creative problem-solving and lateral thinking is at the heart of STEM. The PSI will empower the youth of Ireland to hone these transferable skills, which are a critical requirement for the future leaders in STEM fields. It will also raise public awareness of the importance of problem-solving skills across science, the economy and society.”
The programme of events will include expansion of the ADAPT Centre’s highly-successful All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad (AILO). AILO challenges secondary school students to develop their own problem-solving strategies to decode the world’s toughest puzzles in language, logic and linguistics. The contest, which has attracted 14,000 participants to date, aims to discover Ireland’s top young problem solver. Schools can register now at www.adaptcentre.ie/ailo
Welcoming the Problem Solving Initiative, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, said: “I would like to congratulate Team Ireland on their recent success at the 2016 International Linguistics Olympiad, and would encourage all schools to take part in this wonderful Problem Solving Initiative run by the ADAPT Research Centre. I am keen to raise people’s awareness of the importance of problem solving skills across science, the economy and society as a whole and I would also like to invite people of all ages to try out the various brain teasers to hone their problem solving skills; skills that are at the very heart of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths advancement in our world.”
Minster of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan said: “The Problem Solving Initiative builds on the success of ADAPT’s AILO Competition which encourages secondary school students to perfect their analytical skills. Problem solving skills are crucial not only for STEM related careers but across society. The Problem Solving Initiative provides the opportunity to develop analytical skills in a fun engaging way. I strongly encourage everyone to put their skills to the test and challenge your friends and colleagues to try the brain teasers.”
Other key elements of the Problem-Solving Initiative include:
Problem-solving workshops at public festival events during Science Week, 13th to 20th November 2016.
The impact of the initiative is already reflected in the strong performance of Team Ireland at the International Linguistics Olympiad 2016 in Mysore, India in July 2016. Claire O’Connor (17) from St. Louis High School, Rathmines beat 180 contestants from 30 countries to secure a bronze medal. Dónal Farren (17) of St Eunan’s College, Letterkenny and Pádraig Sheehy (16) of Gonzaga College, Ranelagh won Honourable Mention awards.
Speaking about her experience student Claire O’Connor said: “Since taking part in AILO and IOL I’ve learned that keeping an open mind and trusting your instincts prevents you from ruling out valuable ideas that may seem implausible at first. I now know not to always keep my focus linear when faced with problems“.
Secondary school students are encouraged to sign up for the All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad 2017 now at www.adaptcentre.ie/ailo
View the Photo Gallery from the Launch:
Find out more by viewing the Problem-Solving Initiative Video: