ADAPT Centre Hosts First Virtual Problem Solving Competition

23 March 2021

The pandemic has changed the way we do a lot of things and today, talented problem-solvers from all over Ireland will tackle the world’s toughest puzzles in logic, language and linguistics from the comfort of their own homes.  This is the first time since it was launched 13 years ago that the national final of the ADAPT All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad (AILO) will be run virtually.  Run by ADAPT, a world-leading SFI research centre for AI driven content technology, the contest challenges secondary school students to apply logic and reasoning skills to solve complex puzzles in unfamiliar languages.

The national finalists qualified after coming through the online preliminary round of AILO at the end of January. Students from forty-eight schools across fifteen counties on the island of Ireland qualified for the national final. The students will compete remotely from home, with Zoom invigilation. Four winners of the national final will have the opportunity to represent Ireland at the International Linguistics Olympiad, from 19-23 July, which is likely to be held remotely in participating countries around the world.

The All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad (AILO) challenges students to use their lateral thinking skills to solve puzzles in languages from all over the globe. Students must analyse the data they are given to work out the ‘rules’ of this new language. These transferable skills are very important in other subjects such as Maths, Coding and learning new languages.

In 2020, AILO was awarded the prestigious European Language Label (ELL) for the “very successful transition to online AILO”. This year AILO moved fully online and continue to engage with students at home.  ADAPT tutors ran 25 free online workshops for students and the preliminary round ran online from home. Speaking about the preliminary round, AILO teacher Olivia Moore of Methodist College Belfast, said:, “For our AILO candidates this year, for 2.5 hours on a Monday morning in January, the world seemed almost normal!”

The results of the National Final of the All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad will be released next week. Sample puzzles from the Olympiad can be downloaded at