Linguistics Olympiad Begins Nationwide Search for Top Problem Solver

Posted on: 10 February 2014

A nationwide search for Ireland’s top young problem solvers has begun following the launch of the All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad 2014. More than 2,700 secondary school students will test their minds against the world’s toughest puzzles in language, logic and linguistics during qualifying rounds of the contest in their schools. The top 100 performers will progress to the national final, which will be held at Trinity College Dublin on March 25th. The prize for the top four sleuths is the opportunity to represent Ireland at the International Linguistics Olympiad in Beijing in July 2014.

The All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad (AILO) aims to inspire the next generation of multilingual technology graduates, who possess a powerful blend of language competency and problem-solving expertise. The contest is run by the Science Foundation Ireland-funded CNGL Centre for Global Intelligent Content, which is co-hosted by Trinity and Dublin City University.

AILO challenges students to engage in ‘code-breaking’ to unlock information in unfamiliar languages – be it decrypting Swedish Metro maps, deciphering ancient Oriental scripts, or interpreting Aboriginal poetry. No prior knowledge of a second language is required; even the hardest problems require only reasoning skills, logic and patience.

Speaking at an event to mark the launch of the 2014 season at Trinity, Mr Wu Lijun, Counsellor, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Dublin, praised the contest’s role in sharpening students’ problem-solving skills. He said: “Over 90 per cent of employers state that the capacity to think critically, communicate clearly and solve complex problems is vital in the 21st-century global workforce. The All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad is an important vehicle to teach these skills in an engaging manner. China is honoured to be hosting the 2014 International Linguistics Olympiad in July. We look forward to seeing Team Ireland pit their wits against code-breakers from more than 30 countries.”

Professor in Computer Science at Trinity, and Director of AILO organisers CNGL, Vincent Wade, said: “Ireland is currently experiencing significant demand for multilingual technology graduates across diverse industries, including the multi-billion euro digital content sector. Since its launch in 2007, the All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad has been inspiring students to pursue third level studies combining computing and languages. We look forward to inspiring many new students this year.”

Finalists will be tutored by experts from CNGL, a €58 million academia-industry research centre that adapts and personalises digital content, products and services to the needs of global customers.

For media queries contact: 

Thomas Deane, Press Officer for the Faculty of Engineering, Mathematics and Science, Trinity College Dublin at or Tel: +353 1 896 4685