WALTER – FIRST IN IRELAND – AGAIN.
Following a sweeping success last year, by coming first in Ireland in the Wisconsin International Computer Problem Solving Competition, WALTER O’BRIEN, “Rosshaven” Tingarran. Callan, now aged 17 years, has again succeeded in retaining first place in Ireland again this year, as Team Leader at Senior level.
Entering alone, for the first time last year, Walter’s opponent was none other than Andrew Farrell, the maths whiz kid, who entered Trinity College three years previously at l3 years of age. Andrew had therefore, the added advantage of three years backing by both Trinity College staff and latest hi-tech facilities.
Walter was, as it were, the underdog going into the competition, Andrew using the speed of the turbo C language and an I.B.M. compatible computer, while Walter was using the slower Basic language on a small home Computer. Walter who has never had a computer lesson in his life, is totally self-taught, still achieved exceptional results by beating Andrew 3 to 1.
This year, the competition's already high standard, was raised yet again and it required a team of three students working together on one computer, to complete the grueling task within the confined ties allowed.
Niall Murphy, who is an outstanding multi-linguist, also John Lambe from Dublin, an exceptional mathematician
Just four days before the competition, which took place on 25th April, the team met in Dublin for the first time. They were invited by Dr. Sean Close, Dublin, to use the facilities at St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, for the day, to enable them to discuss strategies, languages, machines, etc…to be used for the event.
Friday, the team met for the last time, final details ironed out, and early Saturday morning, they all met in St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, for the Competition. The 1992 set of Computer Problems were laid before them and it was heads down and teamwork all the way. Andrew Farrell who had entered the competition again this year, on seeing the higher standard required this year, withdrew immediately and declined to enter.
Under their Team Leader Walter, both Niall and John produced amazing results, within the specified time, and Dr. Close congratulated them on coming first in Ireland. The same team are now determined to return next April and perform a hat trick with three firsts in a row in this rigorous event.
The team are also hopeful, that with time on their side for the coming April, they will be able to add World Ranking to their achievements. Bearing in mind that less than half a dozen countries in the world had an entry for World Ranking in 1991, it would indeed be an outstanding achievement.
The Director of Software Engineering, from a Dublin College, travelled down to see Walter’s work last year and immediately invited him to his College, to sit an Assessment Test, with 20 and 30 year olds. Walter was congratulated by the same College a week later for having passed the Test at all levels with flying colours.
Professor John Byrne, Head of Computer Studies, O’Reilly Institute, Trinity College, invited Walter to visit him last year and wished to see Walter’s work and projects. Professor Byrne was most impressed and lunching later with Walter, stressed that he should be kept in touch with Walter’s future research and findings.
Following Walter’s dedication and commitment to new areas of Computer Science, Professor Henry Becker, Willshire, England when visiting Ireland last year, called especially to see Walter’s work and immediately offered him a job with his large Airport & Banking Computerised Security Company in England for the coming Summer. Walter will be commencing work with the company this year on June 15th. He has been invited to stay as a guest with Professor Becker’s family for this period.
To add to his great year, he has, early this year, completed the computerized illustrations for the Physics section of the new Science Book for Secondary Schools, being published shortly for the Department of Education.
His interest and research in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Speech Recognition by Computers, led to an invitation, last Monday to the Japanese Research Laboratory by Dr. P. Cunningham, who is Chief Researcher, spear-heading the research team in that area. Dr. Cunningham spent the morning discussing various aspects and avenues opening up in these fields.
He was brought on a conducted tour of the latest hi-tech facilities used by Dr. Cunningham, as the Japanese Research Institute is the world’s leading Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence and 5th Generation Computers. Dr. Cunningham has invited Walter to the Conference on Artificial Intelligence, being held next September, and also offered him an opportunity to join their researchers if he so desires.
Much of 1993 will hold great promises, judging by present planning arrangements that are in the pipe-lines.