Some of the brightest, young problem-solvers and computational thinkers from around Ireland gathered at Dublin City University (DCU) last Saturday for the Finals of the All-Ireland Programming Olympiad (AIPO).
Students from 15 different counties around Ireland packed out one of DCU's computer labs to compete against each other over a 5 hour computer programming challenge. This is the fourth year Fidelity Investments has sponsored the event and with their continued support participation has grown by double digit figures year on year.
“We continue to see increased interest in this great event. Fidelity Investments takes great pride in encouraging young students to develop their technical skills and consider IT as a career”, said Tadhg O’Shea, vice president of software engineering at Fidelity Investments.
On the day, both junior (under 15yrs old) and senior (15-18yrs old) participants were given four problems to decipher and translate into working code before they would score any points on the live scoreboard.
Anxious parents and siblings watched the large screen scoreboard in the foyer of the School of Computing to see how participants fared against their peers. Past AIPO contestants, who are now students on the Computational Problem Solving and software Development (CPSSD) programme in DCU, assisted on the day. Conor Griffin, said “It's a lot more intimidating than the preliminary round when you have the comfort of your bedroom and six weeks to complete the problems. But the experience really stands to you for the finals the following year”.
Gary Conway, who manages the AIPO, says “These are the sort of skills the ICT sector are in need of - quick thinking, problem-solving software engineers that can work under pressure. To see these skills in such young students is really amazing and encouraging for Ireland's future.
Our youngest competitor, first timer Yulia Soldatkina, came close to a medal position and she is only 13!” As the previous AIPO competitors will tell you, like any sport, AIPO is all about hard work, determination and lots of practice.
One student who knows this well is Áron Hoffmann from Luttrellstown Community College, Clonsilla. Aron is the newly crowned 2015 AIPO senior winner, who retains the top title from 2014. He will once again be among the short list of the top eight senior students who are now invited to an intense three day training camp hosted by DCU in June, where four students will be selected to represent Ireland at this year's International Olympiad in Informatics in the beautiful city of Almaty, Kazakhstan in July.
Cian McDonnell age 14 took the gold in the junior section. Cian is from Dooradoyle, Co. Limerick and is a first timer to the AIPO. Cian will be one to watch in future years!
Final Results of the day:
AIPO 2015 Senior Category:
• 1st - Áron Hoffmann
• 2nd - Daniel Mulcahy
• 3rd - Cian Ruane
AIPO 2015 Junior Results:
• 1st - Cian McDonnell
• 2nd - Caolan Fleming
• 3rd (Joint) - Stephen Cushen / Harvey Conniffe
For more information on the annual All-Ireland Programming Olympiad click here.
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The CareersPortal Team