Posted: 20/02/19

Talented problem solvers from across Ireland tested their minds against the world’s toughest puzzles in logic, language and linguistics during the qualifying round of the ADAPT All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad recently. Run by ADAPT, a SFI research centre, the contest challenges secondary school students to apply logic and reasoning skills to solve complex puzzles in unfamiliar languages.

A record 4,000 students competed in the qualifying round of the competition with each hoping to secure a spot as one the top 100 decoders to qualify for the national final of the Olympiad, which will be hosted by Dublin City University on 20th March 2019. Four winners of the national final will have the opportunity to represent Ireland at the International Linguistics Olympiad in Yongin South Korea from 29 July to the 2 August this year.  

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. The workshops provide strategies for analysing data, for example with tables, graphs and writing clear rules to explain answers. These transferable skills are very important in other subjects such as Maths, Coding and learning new languages. 

AILO helps students to develop a powerful blend of problem-solving expertise and language competency, which are vital skills in today’s global economy. In 2018, the learning outcomes for students taking part in AILO were aligned to the Junior Certificates (JC) Key Skills / Statements of Learning (SoL) and the OECD PISA (2012/2015) collaborative and creative problem-solving competencies, highlighting how the competition supports the curriculum in Ireland. The contest also aims to inspire students to pursue the exciting range of careers combining computing, linguistics and languages.

AILO is run by the ADAPT Centre, an 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, and Technological University Dublin as well as industry leaders in global digital content.  ADAPT is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The results of the qualifying round of the All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad will be released within the next week. Sample puzzles from Olympiad can be downloaded at https://ailo.adaptcentre.ie/sample-puzzles/

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