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Bronze Medal success for AIPO Irish Delegation at IOI 2014

By gconway - Posted on 23 July 2014

AIPO-IOI2014-1The Irish AIPO Team clinched it's first medal in five years at the prestigious International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) with Richard Tynan being awarded a Bronze medal after two days of fiercely competitive programming among 311 high school students from around the world.

The All-Ireland Programming Olympiad team were selected after an intense 3 day training camp held here in the School of Computing. Richard, along with Daniel Mulcahy, Áron Hoffman, Conor Griffin and team leaders, Gary Conway and Ximo Planells flew to hot and humid Taiwan last week for a week of advanced algorithmic problem solving, cultural trips and A/C chasing.

AIPO-IOI2014-2Against the backdrop of the 3rd tallest building in the world, the bamboo shaped Taipei 101, the students had to decipher and code three solutions over a five hour period each day. With the help of the live scoreboard, team leaders had a nerve-racking time waiting for students to score points on the various sub-tasks of each problem by whatever strategy they can, be it by brute force or a more elegant optimized solution ensuring the solution passes the stringent time and memory execution limits. For example, Conor Griffin, briefly became famous being one of the first students to get points in the Rail System problem, catapulting him into second place overall! Not to be outdone, Richard, cracked the Wall problem on the first day with 14 minutes to go, scoring a perfect 100 points, much to the delight of the Irish team leaders glued to the scoreboard outside the contest hall. Managing to scramble another 46 points in the last 14 minutes, this pushed Richard tantalizingly close to to a silver medal position (top 25%). Unfortunately the second day problems didn’t suit Richard as well as the first, but he still managed to score enough points to stay in the Bronze medal category (top 50%). All the problem statements can be found here.

Full Results:

AIPO-IOI2014-3Richard said "I'm delighted to receive an IOI medal. This is my third year and last year attending the IOI and I was determined to get a medal. I've been building to this over the last three years and had a great first day of the competition, which cruelly put me in sight of a silver medal but unfortunately the second day problems were much harder. I'm going to miss coming the IOI now that I'm starting college. It's been a wonderful experience visiting Taiwan and making new friends from around the world". Richard has been invited to read Computer Science at Cambridge in the UK next year.

But the week wasn't all about serious coding. With visits to see the Giant Panda at Taipei Zoo, the eight centuries of Chinese treasures housed at the National Palace Museum and Lihpaoland Water Park the students could relax and forget about binary tree algorithms for a day or two. The AIPO is now famous among the IOI community largely due to the antics of the Irish team over the week. The team began known as the 'sticker guys', making it their mission to get AIPO stickers on every delegation's placard over the week, with the coveted USA team placard finally 'stickered' on the departure day.

AIPO-IOI2014-4Experiencing an IOI inspires students to push their programming skills when they go back home to ensure they make the team next year. Conor Griffin is enrolling in the CPSSD here in the School of Computing starting next year along with his brother, Darragh, but the Áron and Daniel are determined to return to the 2015 IOI in Kazakhstan and claim their own medals. Gary Conway who lead the Irish delegation says "This is our first medal in five years and a great achievement for Richard. To put it in perspective, the UK, Spain and Hungary also only got one bronze medal, so when you compare populations, Ireland is definitely punching above its weight."

Let's hope this is the start of an upward curve of a yearly medal haul at IOIs for Ireland. The AIPO Irish delegation would like to thank Fidelity Investments and DCU for their generous support of this outreach project.

More photos can be seen on the IOI 2014 photo gallery or on our Facebook page,

Full Irish Results below:

Name School IOI Day 1 IOI Day 2 IOI Total Medal
Richard Tynan Cistercian College, Roscrea 172 85 257 Bronze
Daniel Mulcahy Gonzaga College, Dublin 53 90 143  
Conor Griffin Ardscoil Ris, Limerick 38 87 125  
Áron Hoffmann Luttrellstown Community College, Dublin 16 28 44