Ireland’s brightest young problem-solvers and computational thinkers descended on Dublin City University (DCU) at the weekend to compete in the All Ireland Programming Olympiad (AIPO), Ireland’s very own Olympics for young, gifted programmers.

More than 40 primary and second-level students used their self-taught skills to develop algorithms to plot the most productive travel itinerary for salesman, programmes to steer an autonomous vehicle in mapping a city or simply fixing pieces of code more akin to final year university exams.

John Ryan (St Joseph’s College, Borrisoleigh), Teofil Camarasu (Dundalk Grammar School) and Eoin Davey (Summerhill College Sligo) carried off the top senior prize with all three receiving perfect scores of 450.

The Olympiad (AIPO) aims to identify the country’s most naturally gifted young programmers and open their minds to the range of career paths in the field of technology. For instance, Only 15 years old and a Transition Year student, joint winner John Ryan already holds down a job as Content Manager at DoSpace, a network of co-working spaces in Dublin, Galway and London. He has already received a string of accolades including awards from the BT Young Scientist Competition for his Arrive Alive road safety app.

This is the fifth year Fidelity Investments has sponsored the event and with their continued support, participation has grown by double digit figures year on year. Speaking at the Olympiad Finals, Tadhg O’Shea, Vice President of Software Engineering at Fidelity Investments said

“Many of the top technology jobs of the future will be in the areas of cloud, big data, cybersecurity and end-user experience. Against the backdrop of an increasingly technology-driven world, demand for skilled IT professionals will increase exponentially in these areas. The AIPO plays a vital role in showcasing and nurturing the amazing programming talent of our young people, who will be the technologists of the future.”

Fidelity Investments offers an exciting six-month training and development programme, called Leap for new IT graduates. It’s a customised learning experience designed to enable graduates to kick-start their career, accelerate their learning and development and build a long-term career with Fidelity Investments.

Previous AIPO winners have enrolled on the Portfolio-Entry Undergraduate degree Computational Problem Solving and Software Development (CPSSD); twins, Conor and Darragh Griffin, both graduates of the AIPO and currently enrolled on the CPSSD programme helped mentor contestants on the day. The twins have formed part of the best-placed Irish team in a UK & Ireland Intercollegiate Programming Competition for the last two years.

DCU’s Gary Conway who manages the AIPO, said,

“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.”

John will now join the other 8 top-placed programmers together at an intense three-day training camp in DCU to compete for a place on Team Ireland to represent the country in the International Olympiad in Informatics in Russia later this year.

The full list of winners is as follows:

AIPO 2016 Senior Category:
Joint 1st – Teofil Camarasu (Dundalk Grammar School), John Ryan (St Joseph’s College, Tipperary) and Eoin Davey (Summerhill College, Sligo)

AIPO 2016 Junior Category:
1st – Caolan Fleming (St Mary’s CBS, Laois)
2nd – Joseph Greevy (St Michael’s College, Dublin 4)
3rd – Shane Buckley (St Mary’s College, Dublin 6

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