Nineteen year old Luke Gardiner from Gonazaga College, Dublin, clinched a bronze medal at the International Linguistics Olympiad in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria on Friday.
The international problem-solving contest, which ran from 20th to 24th July, challenges students to test lateral thinking skills by decoding some of the world’s toughest problems in logic, language and linguistics. Gardiner beat off competition from 180 students from 29 countries to bring home a bronze medal.
The top four teenagers from the national All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad, run by the Science Foundation Ireland ADAPT Centre, attended a two-day problem-solving training camp at Dublin City University prior to their departure for Bulgaria.
Gardiner was joined on the team by Shmuel Barron (17) of Sutton Park School, Dublin, Ethan Hamman (18) of Newpark Comprehensive, Dublin, and Niamh Lynch (18) of Loreto College Letterkenny, Donegal.
Dr. Cara Greene of the ADAPT Centre, who led the Irish delegation, said: “I am very proud and excited that Luke Gardiner has won a bronze medal in the International Linguistics Olympiad. This is Ireland’s first medal in seven years competing in the contest. The standard of competition is incredibly high and nations with a long tradition in the Linguistics Olympiad tend to sweep the medals. This makes Luke’s performance very noteworthy. In fact, all four members of the Irish team performed exceptionally well.“
The students decoded numerals in the Nahuatl language of the Aztec Empire; deciphered Soundex, a phonetic algorithm for indexing names by sound; interpreted ancient Somali poetry; and decrypted sentences from the Wambali language of Australia (spoken by only 89 people worldwide). Knowledge of a second language is not required, as the puzzles are designed to test contestants’ reasoning skills, logic and patience.
Gardiner is planning to study Mathematics at university next year. He will join a long line of All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad past participants who are now putting their problem solving ability to good use in STEM-related careers.
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. www.adaptcentre.ie/ailo
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 took place in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria from 20th to 24th July 2015. www.ioling.org
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. www.adaptcentre.ie
The CareersPortal Team