IT has helped propel hi-tech gurus towards their first million, created company chiefs and more than a few lecturers.
The 49th BT Young Scientist & Technology exhibition will be the largest ever, with 1,197 students in 550 projects taking part in this year's finals.
More than 45,000 people – including some companies viewing the upcoming talent and their inventions – are expected to file past all the exhibitions from today until Saturday. Since the first competition in 1965, it is estimated almost 850,000 have visited the exhibition.
Along with the BT Young Scientist of the Year trophy and a cheque for €5,000, the overall winner gets the chance to represent Ireland at European level.
Last year's winners, Eric Doyle and Mark Kelly, from Synge Street CBS, Dublin, went on to take first prize in physics in the European Union Contest for Young Scientists, with their project examining how planets and satellites move in space.
It has taken 20 tonnes of aluminium, 6,000 sqm of carpet, thousands of lightbulbs, 5km of cable, 160kw electricity and 135 workers to prepare the hall and stands.
Tickets are €6 for students, €12 for adults and family passes cost €25.