Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation launched the 2019/20 season of the All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad (AILO) in Ballybay Community College today. Run by ADAPT SFI Research Centre for Digital Media Technology, the contest challenges secondary school students to apply logic and reasoning skills to solve complex puzzles in unfamiliar languages.
The launch today saw the first in a series of 30 free problem-solving workshops by ADAPT researchers in counties all over the island, North and South.
Introducing the workshops, Professor Vincent Wade, Director of ADAPT said: “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”.
Speaking at the event, Minister Humphreys said: “This contest is helping the Government to prepare our economy now for tomorrow’s world in line with the Future Jobs Ireland strategy. It helps students to develop key transferable skills, including problem-solving and language competency, which are essential to today’s global workforce. These skills are transferable, and are particularly relevant to subjects like maths, coding and languages, where we are working to increase the number of graduates.”
Páidí Walsh, a sixth-year student in Ballybay Community College and an international finalist in 2019, helped run the workshop today in school for his fellow students along with Dr Cara Greene of ADAPT. Páidí was a member of the Irish team competing at the International Linguistics Olympiad (IOL) in South Korea in July with three other students from Cork, Antrim and Dublin. He said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in AILO and it has afforded me an excellent opportunity to hone my problem solving skills and to gain an insight into the subject of linguistics. I was privileged to be able to represent Ireland in South Korea”.
Minister Humphreys added: “Páidí did us incredibly proud on the international stage competing against the top 220 linguistic problem-solvers from 36 countries. He is a testament to the talent we have here in Ireland and I wish him every success in the 2019/2020 competition.”
AILO is run by the ADAPT SFI Research Centre that is revolutionising how digital content is adapted, personalised and delivered for the needs of global users. ADAPT brings together more than 200 researchers at Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University, University College Dublin, Technological University Dublin, Maynooth University, Cork IT, and Athlone IT as well as industry leaders in global digital content.
The Preliminary Round of AILO will take place online for the first time under teacher supervision in schools all over the country at the end of January. The National Final will take place in March in Dublin with four students going on to represent Ireland at the IOL in Latvia in July 2020.
All secondary school students on the island are eligible to take part in AILO and registration is open until the 24th January 2020 at https://www.adaptcentre.ie/ailo. Schools are encouraged to register as soon as possible to get information on attending a free workshop in their local area, try new online puzzles and to receive sample puzzles.
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