Limerick pupil's web language wins science competition


A 16-year-old boy from Castletroy College in Limerick has won this year's Esat BT Young Scientist competition for designing a new computer programming language.

Patrick Collison's winning project, entitled "CROMA: a new dialect of LISP", was selected from almost 500 projects submitted by more than 1,000 students.

The project designed a new programming language, CROMA, which is an enhancement of another language LISP, originally developed 50 years ago.

CROMA allows web applications to be designed intuitively and quickly. Using the language a simple log-in and user management system, which requires upwards of 150 lines in a language such as Perl or PHP, only takes 20 lines of CROMA.

Patrick's victory was announced by the President, Mrs McAleese, at an awards ceremony held in the RDS, Dublin, this evening. He received a cheque for €3,000, a Waterford Crystal trophy and the opportunity to represent Ireland at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists taking place in Moscow in September.

Ms Angela Keegan of Esat BT and Chairperson of the judging panel said: "After 41 years the judges are still impressed each year by the scientific knowledge of these students."

"Our 2005 winner has original work that is imaginative and significant."

The Best Group category was won by Francis Wasser and Michael Mulhall from Christian Brothers Synge Street, Dublin 8 for their chemical, physical and mathematical project in the senior section entitled "Numerical solutions of Hamilton's equations". They received a prize of €1,500.

The award for individual runner-up went to Kevin O'Reilly from Christian Brothers Grammar (Abbey) School, Newry, Co Down, for his project entitled "The feeding behaviour of freshwater shrimp (Gammarus)". He was awarded €750.

The runner-up group project was from Claire Conaghan, Aine Mulcahy and Sean Liston from Desmond College, Newcastlewest, Co Limerick. They were awarded €750 for their project entitled "Intelligent Cats Eyes".

Some 1,049 students competed in the competition this week in 480 projects from 30 counties in Ireland.