Selection for IOL is through Malaysian Computational Linguistics Olympiad (MyCLO).
MyCLO is the competition used in Malaysia to shortlist contestants. Winners will be invited to a training camp and APLO, then evaluated further to choose the four representatives to the IOL.
The first IOL was held on 2003 in Bulgaria. The Olympiad tests on computational linguistics, which can usually be solved by recognizing patterns. Linguistics knowledge is not necessary but is very helpful in solving the problems.
There are usually one to two math-related problems each year, for example by mapping arabic numbers to numbers in their language. Proficiency in Mathematics (such as knowing how numbers can change base) will be useful in solving these types of problems.
This Olympiad differs from most other Olympiads. There are individual and team contests. Each country sends up to two teams of four (Malaysia has been sending two teams until now). Each participant will participate in both individual and team contests. Medals are given separately for individual and team awards.
The individual contest consists of five problems to be solved in six hours, bearing 20 points each for a total of 100 points.
The team contest consists of one big problem to be solved in three to four hours. Team members are assigned a room each and they can communicate with each other.
Knowing a bunch of languages may help, but do not rely on it. There are 7000 languages in the world, and the Problem Committee will almost always choose from a language that they know contestants do not know. In fact, one year before Malaysia participated, the team problem was on Indonesian, since among the participating country none speak a similar language to Indonesian.
The contest relies most on analytic and deduction skills, so knowing about language will help: phonetics, morphology, semantics, syntax, sociolinguistics, etc.
You can view past problems here.
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