News about Dyalog

Sep 4, 2014

2014 APL Programming Contest Winners

The APL Programming Contest this year had an impressive 710 registrations, so competition was fierce. In addition to the three top prizes, a number of consolation prizes have been awarded.

It gives us great pleasure to present the Grand Prize winner – Emil Bremer Orloff. Emil is a 24-year-old student at Aarhus University in Denmark. He is currently in the fourth year of studies for a Master of Computer Science degree.

Emil says, “During my studies I have specialized in cryptography and programming languages.

My first encounter with APL was in 2011, when my university department shared a link to the Student Competition. I started to look into APL, and found the language very interesting. Unfortunately I didn't have time to actually learn APL, which is the reason I didn't take part in the competition that year. The following two years were also quite busy for me and I didn't get around to looking further into APL. This year, returning home from a holiday, I had a week free from work and study and decided to use it to dive into APL. The work done during that week is what has now earned me a first prize."

You will have the opportunity to meet Emil at Dyalog '14 in Eastbourne, where he will present the solution that earned him the Grand Prize.


The winner of the second prize is Seán Kelleher from University College Cork, Ireland.

Sean comments "The experience of learning APL was certainly a tough one, but I made a conscious effort from the start to learn it 'the right way', by staying away from the traditional flow control operations as much as possible and immersing myself directly into the way of array-oriented thinking. I think one of the most challenging parts of learning APL is that to do many meaningful things without traditional flow control you need to know almost all of the language's primitive functions and operators, of which there are many. Though this is a major hurdle when learning the language, it is also a strength! APL's primitives are much more powerful than those found in most other languages, as can be appreciated by the prominence of the phrase 'APL one-liner'."


The winner of the third prize is Chao Xu of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, U.S.A.

Chao Xu is a second year Computer Science PhD student, and it's the second time that he wins a 3rd Prize having also won this honour in 2013.

Chao says "My interest lies in computational topology and combinatorial optimisation. I heard about this contest back in 2011 from a friend, and was intrigued by a language that uses non-ASCII symbols. Comparing to last year's submission, this year I tried to solve all the problems instead of just focusing on a single task. I feel APL could be helpful with doing experiments in my research, because there is a trend of using more matrices to solve combinatorial problems. APL allows simple description of such algorithms."


Honourable mention is given to:

  • Jan-Pieter Jacobs of the Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium
  • Christopher Zhang of the State University of New York at Binghamton, U.S.A.


For the first time this year, a prize is also awarded to a non-student entrant – Iryna Pashenkovska, who works for SimCorp in Ukraine.

Iryna is 22 years old and graduated this year from National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv, Ukraine, with a Masters degree in Applied Mathematics.

Iryna comments "I obtained the basic knowledge of the APL language on Dyalog APL courses in SimCorp Ukraine during February and March 2014. The course teacher was an experienced SimCorp employee. Thanks to the courses, I understood that programming in Dyalog APL is not only simple and flexible, but also very interesting and fun! After the courses I got a Developer Student Helper position in SimCorp at the end of May. So I now have about 3 months of experience with APL. I downloaded an Educational Licence of Dyalog in order to use it during the SimCorp courses. Subsequently I received an invitation to participate in the APL Problem Solving Competition so that's how I found out about the contest."

You will have the opportunity to meet Iryna at Dyalog '14 in Eastbourne, where she will present the solution that earned her this prize.


Thank You and Congratulations

This is the sixth consecutive year that Dyalog Ltd – together with sponsors APL Italiana, Fiserv and SimCorp – has 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 and for hosting the 2014 contest.

Congratulations to all the winners. Keep an eye out for the APL programming contest for 2015!