Logical-minded students looking for a challenge should look towards NACLO, the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad. Known as NACLO, this is a contest for North American high school students who compete to solve challenging logic puzzles designed to teach students about both the diversity and consistencies across languages.
The first round of NACLO is called the Open Round and is intended to be very beginner-friendly, specifically designed so that all testers can at least solve part of a problem. These questions are based completely on logic: polyglots don’t necessarily enjoy unfair advantages since questions require participants to rely on and present logical “solutions” to translation, matching, and “fill in the blank” type questions.
Approximately 10% of the contestants participating in the Open Round are selected to write the second round of NACLO called the Invitational Round. This examination consists of harder problems with a greater focus on clearly explaining and organizing solutions.
The top 4 students competing in the Invitational Round are called again, and join the Canadian team at the International Linguistics Olympiad. The IOL is much more meticulous and their problems tend to have less of a focus on computation linguistics.
Two students from Marc Garneau, Simon Huang and Jordan Ho represented Team Canada at the International Olympiad on Linguistics last year and in 2010. According to Simon, “most problems [are] extremely fun and interesting, especially when compared to problems from other math and science contests.”
NACLO will be held at Marc Garneau this year on January 31. If interested in participating, students should contact Jordan Ho to sign up. For more information on this contest, and past problems, go to http://www.naclo.cs.cmu.edu/