A north Cork teenager, this week, is heading to Russia with dreams of Olympic gold of a different kind.

Kieran Horgan is the youngest of a four-member Irish team taking part in the International Olympiad in Informatics, a schools competition for young programmers held every summer.

The 15-year-old student of Davis College in Mallow was selected in June at a national event in Dublin City University.

The Mallow Davis College student joins three others — Eoin Davey from Summerhill College Sligo, Teofil Camarasu from Dundalk Grammar School in Louth, and John Ryan, St Joseph’s College, Thurles — to vie for top honours with more than 80 teams from around the world, gathering on Friday.

The competition takes place throughout next week at Kazan University in the capital city of the Republic of Tatarstan in southern Russia.

The event is all about problem-solving and computational thinking.

The Irish team is up against programming super-powers like China, the United States and host nation Russia.

“Ireland will pit their wits against the best young minds in the world. We are sending our top programming students to this competition, after making the selection from a very high-quality field,” said Gary Conway, programme manager of the All-Ireland Programming Olympiad.

Following the national event at DCU’s school of computing in February, the four-member team was selected at a boot-camp over three days at the end of June.

It will be Kieran’s first time competing at the international Olympiad, in which contestants are given three tasks to complete in five hours on each of two competition days.

Strict rules mean they are not allowed contact with others familiar with the tasks or their delegation leaders from the time they are given their tasks the evening before they must complete it.

Tadhg O’Shea, vice-president of software engineering at AIPO event sponsors Fidelity Investments, said the programme is a great way to support young students develop their technical skills and encourage them to consider a future IT career.


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