Cork’s brother and sister team up to win for Ireland at ‘Olympics of Computer Programming’


Two exceptionally talented Leeside siblings were among the Irish teams that made major waves in an international competition for the world’s best young computer programmers.

Suneet (18) and Ayushi Mahajan (15) from Douglas in the city were part of an overall team competing for Ireland at the International Computing Olympiad (IOT).

Ayushi was part of the team that performed strongly at the 1st European Girls’ Computing Olympiad with Bandon’s daughter Katerin Birk.

More than 80 countries participated in this year’s Olympiad, which has consistently identified the most talented children in computer science and programming in the world. Just being on international teams marks the kids who can look forward to a great future with the world’s biggest tech companies.

Suneet of Douglas Community School won a silver medal, one of two medals the Irish team won (there was a bronze medal for Oisin Davey of Summer Hill College in Sligo). The Irish squad also included Katerin Birk from Bandon.

The Irish team were due to travel to compete in Singapore, along with hundreds of other young programmers from around the world, but the ongoing pandemic has seen them take part in a series of virtual competitions.

Suneet, from the Douglas Community School, said: “I am personally delighted with my result at the International Computer Science Olympiad this year. “

“Last year I ended up just short of the bronze medal so I was determined to build on that experience and not come home empty-handed this time around.

“I managed to surprise myself after Day 1, where I thought I could have scored higher and expected a lower ranking, when I found myself in the Silver Medal lineup. Consolidate a medal position silver.”

“Although both of my appearances in the international competition were online rather than in person in Singapore, just being able to participate in such a competition was like a trip in itself, and I got to meet people from all over the place. . the country accordingly.

“Competing in AIPO and IOI allowed me to discover subjects in mathematics and computer science that would have been completely foreign to me otherwise, and I am truly grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me to learn. and to improve my skills thanks to these competitions ”.

There was a very important Cork element in the Irish team which was trained and mentored by a team from the School of Computer Science and Information Technology, University College Cork, led by Dr Sabin Tabirca.

Team leaders included Bogdan Marcu, PhD student, and Colm Hickey, BSc Computer Science 2019 graduate who is currently working at Google.

UCC Acting President Prof John O’Halloran said: “On behalf of the entire university, I would like to congratulate the successful competitors and Dr Tabirca on their medals won.

“As a programming Olympics, the International Computing Olympiad sets the world standard, and it’s a testament to the caliber of teaching at the School of Computing and Information Technology. UCC that the young people under our leadership should stand out in such a competitive field.

“Dr. Tabirca has a lifelong commitment to mentoring and supporting students and we are grateful for his commitment and leadership at this global programming event.”

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