Ireland’s leading teenage programmers to compete in Taiwan

26 Jun 2014

(Left to right) Áron Hoffman (17), Luttrellstown Community College, Dublin; Daniel Mulcahy (17), Gonzaga College, Dublin; Richard Tynan (19), Cistercian College, Roscrea; and Conor Griffin (18), Ardscoil Rís, Limerick

After several rigorous selection rounds of the All Ireland Programming Olympiad (AIPO), four young secondary students have been selected to represent Ireland for the 2014 International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) in Taiwan.

Taking place on 11 July in the island’s capital Taipei, the Irish team is made up of Richard Tynan (19), Áron Hoffman (17), Conor Griffin (18) and Daniel Mulcahy (17), who will be competing against 300 students from 86 countries.

All four of these young programmers have each achieved considerable success to date with regards to programming. Both Tynan and Mulcahy achieved first prize in the Technology Category awards at this year’s BT Young Scientist Competition; Hoffman came first in this year’s AIPO, and Griffin secured a place on the new portfolio entry advanced programming undergraduate degree for Computational Problem Solving and Software Development (CPSSD) in Dublin City University (DCU).

In preparation for the tournament, the four Irish challengers were selected to go to Taipei after an intense programming bootcamp hosted by DCU, where they trained and practised the art of competitive programming under conditions similar to those they will face in Taiwan.

Speaking about the whole experience, Tynan has said it has already done wonders for his future education. “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 existed.

“I was fortunate to receive an offer to study computer science in Cambridge University in the United Kingdom next year, with one of the interviewers even saying my AIPO and IOI experience was ‘one of the most impressive things’ in my application.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic