News about Dyalog

Sep 1, 2022

Meet The 2022 APL Problem Solving Competition Winners


The 14th annual APL Problem Solving Competition winners were announced on 22 August 2021. Read about the experiences of the main prize winners and find out a bit more about them in their own words below.

Phase I of this year's contest had the familiar format of 10 one-line solutions, with 10 prizes being awarded to the submissions judged to make the best use of APL. Phase II was split into problem sets, with a single grand prize winner, second place, third place, and non-student winner, as well as five participation prizes. The questions for each phase can be downloaded so that you can see what they tackled.


The Grand Prize Winner is Tzu-Ching Lee of National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan. Tzu-Ching receives a cash prize of $2,500 USD and a delegate package registration for Dyalog '22 in Olhão, Portugal.

Tzu-Ching Lee

"I'm a master student studying quantum algorithms at National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu, Taiwan. I have some experience with C++ and have tried Python and Haskell for fun.

"I discovered the glyphs of APL several years ago on Wikipedia, but I thought they were some ancient texts. It was not until last year did I get to know about the language from Conor Hoekstra's videos (and subsequently about the contest from his podcast). Then I started to play with it on Around April this year, I joined the contest to practice APL and as a side project.

"During the competition I've learned lots of new things (the usage of rank operator, how to define an operator, rules of train building, and so on) from several websites and videos, and all of them were very helpful.

"What I love about APL is its conciseness. With a set of good composition combinators and the function train, function composition can be specified easily and clearly. Moreover, compared with programming languages in other paradigms, it provides an unique view on problem solving, and it requires much less effort to try out different approaches."


Rory Kemp

The second place winner is Rory Kemp, who attends Edinburgh Academy in the UK. Rory receives a cash prize of $1,250 USD.

"I discovered APL a few years ago and have been learning it ever since. It has quickly become my programming language of choice for mathematics and other data analysis and helped me a lot with a statistics course I took this year.

"I have always enjoyed learning new languages, especially ones with a unique approach to programming. APL and the array paradigm has been by far the most different, forcing you to think in a completely new way, but has been very rewarding and has greatly influenced the way I now approach problems. Despite being a niche language there is a large and helpful community, which is useful as a beginner for feedback and advice.

"APL is also both enjoyable and addictive, a dangerous combination for when you have other work to do! I hope to keep using it and other array languages in the future."


Dzintars Klušs



The third place winner is Dzintars Klušs who attends Rīgas Tehniskā Universitāte (Riga Technical University) in Latvia. Dzintars receives a cash prize of $750 USD.


"I found out about APL on a code golfing site, where it fit in quite well due to its terseness, but APL turned out to be a very nice programming language on its own. Since then, array languages have become my go-to calculator (being a lot more powerful while not increasing the time to a result), also serving for prototyping/scripting where feasible. Currently I primarily use BQN, an APL-like language, whose development I participate in."


Michael Higginson

The Winning Professional Entrant is Michael Higginson. Michael receives a delegate package registration for Dyalog '22 in Olhão, Portugal.

"Immediately after receiving my Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the University of Toronto, I joined a small company founded and populated by a number of ex-IPSA employees. I had a great time there and stayed for over 20 years.

"For most of those years, I didn't know anything about APL, except that it was "different", that it used a non-standard character set, and that it was held in some reverence by my mentors and colleagues. But around 2013 I started working with the q programming language and, after a few battles with it, experienced a profound "mental click" that irrevocably changed not just how I think about programming, but most other areas that I turn my mind to as well.

"I was curious about other languages in the family and looking for a new challenge, so decided to use the Dyalog contest as an excuse to learn APL. What a great experience!"


Tzu-Ching and Michael will both be presenting their winning work at Dyalog '22 in October.

This is the 14th consecutive year that we – together with sponsors InvestCloud and SimCorp – have run the International APL Problem Solving Competition. We would like to thank the sponsors for making it possible to continue to run this annual programming challenge.

Register now to be notified when the next competition launches in spring 2022.

Congratulations to all the winners.