School of Computer Science and Statistics Newsletter

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2016/17 SCHOOL OF

Computer Science and Statistics

WELCOME Welcome to our latest Newsletter, highlighting some of the School’s achievements and activities throughout 2016-17.

The School enjoys keeping connected with our alumni community and we would love to hear your news for our next newsletter. Please send contributions to:

Professor Jeremy Jones

Finally, I’m stepping down as Head of School after six years and I wish Professor Carol O’Sullivan every success as the new Head of School.

Head of School (2012 – 2017)

The School’s new four-stranded M.Sc. in Computer Science was launched in September 2017. The four strands, which map directly onto the research strengths of the School, are Graphics and Vision Technologies, Data Science, Intelligent Systems and Future Networked Systems. The strands are attracting many international students and it appears that we will reach above and beyond our targets for this year. The Data Science strand is particularly popular. The new M.Sc. programme will be located in refurbished facilities in South Leinster Street. The School is a key player in Trinity’s plans to build a technology-focused campus at Grand Canal Dock as part of a €1 billion investment to develop the area as an ‘innovation district’. The first phase will be an E3 (Engineering, Energy and Environment) teaching building on the old Biochemistry/IT Huts site. The second phase will be the development of a new ‘E3 Research Institute’ on the Trinity Technology and Enterprise Centre site in the Grand Canal Dock. E3 is a joint initiative between the Schools of Computer Science and Statistics, Engineering and Natural Sciences. Professor Jane Grimson has been asked to deliver the 2018 Trinity Monday Memorial Discourse on Professor John Bryne whose impact lives on here at the School. I would also like to draw your attention to the article by Dan McCarthy on Richardson’s Weather Forecasting factory.

The Class of 1986

Newsletter 2016 – 2017

Launch of the Trinity Centre for Creative Technologies & Media Engineering (CHIME) Provost, Patrick Prendergast, opened the Trinity Centre for Creative Technologies & Media Engineering (CHIME) in February. The event took place in the newly refurbished Stack B in the IFSC.

Image-Based Visual Computing expanding the classical 2D video viewing experience common today, and to enable and support new consumer behaviours and preferences in consumption and creation of such content.

CHIME hosts 14 academic staff and 50 full time researchers from two internationally renowned research groups: Graphics, Vision and Visualization (GV2) in the School of Computer Science and Statistics (SCSS); and Media Signal Processing (Sigmedia) in the School of Engineering.

Assisted by SCSS Professor of Visual Computing, Carol O’Sullivan, who recently returned from a career break in Seoul National University and Disney Research Los Angeles to resume her role as Head of GV2 and continue her research on Animation and Perception, Professors Smolić and Kokaram lead a team of world-class researchers who are continuing to build on the considerable achievements of both research groups, which include high-impact publications and successful spin-outs, including Havok, SureWash and Green Parrot Pictures (acquired by Google). Commenting at the event, Provost Patrick

SCSS recently recruited SFI Research Professor of Creative Technologies, Aljoša Smolić, who co-directs the Centre, along with EE Professor Anil Kokaram, Head of Sigmedia. Professor Smolić research project, V-SENSE, aims to Extend the Dimensions of Visual Sensation through novel algorithms and workflows for

CHIME Launch

Prendergast said: “The Centre’s ambition is to establish Trinity as a world class centre of excellence in Creative Technologies & Media Engineering, and to push the boundaries of visual and auditory processing. That’s a high ambition but look what’s already been achieved! With the talent, leadership and commitment here, I have full confidence.”

Learning Tech Ireland 2017 people really care about, validate these assumptions, develop solutions with end users and identify the sustainable impact that will maximise the potential for success.

L-R: Thomas Melia (Enterprise Ireland), Owen White (Centre Director, Learnovate), Tendayi Viki and Rob Fitzpatrick

Learnovate hosted Learning Tech Ireland 2017 at the Aviva Stadium in June. The focus of the conference was around the theme of ‘Impact Led Innovation’, reflecting Learnovate’s revised value proposition. Impact Led Innovation is designed to combine the best of Lean Start-Up and Design Thinking to identify from the outset, learning problems


The conference provided a three tiered structured approach to the day, to give the approximately 150 attendees insights, real world examples and hands on experience. The first stage was to deliver insights from world class experts Tendayi Viki and Rob Fitzpatrick in the area of Lean Start-Up, problem validation, identifying what customers need and avoiding the pitfalls that can arise. The second stage was designed to bring the audience a little closer to Impact Led Innovation through three practitioners, Vivienne Ming (, Paidi O’Reilly (UCC), and Neil Peirce (Learnovate) who have applied the concept in their projects and lessons learned. Finally we wanted to allow attendees get up close and personal with the concepts through

two parallel hands-on workshops. Tendayi focused his workshop on Strategyzer’s Business Model Canvas. Rob’s workshop looked at ‘customer development’, looking at how to get around the comfort of compliments and opinions when talking to potential customers, because basically they will lie to you! In conclusion, Centre Director, Owen White finished the day by clarifying one question. Is Learnovate now an innovation consultancy rather than a Learning Technology research centre? Absolutely not, the Impact Led Innovation capability at Learnovate is to support our ongoing development of solutions in the Learning Tech market, combining our innovation expertise with our existing expertise in Learning Design, UI/UX, Technology and Commercial development. Owen says, “We look forward to assisting our member companies with their Impact Led Innovation projects and to growing the impact our industry has on the world stage, and look forward to next year’s conference”.


Computer Science and Statistics

ADAPT Centre Showcases Intelligent Systems for Digital Revolution From digital ‘assistants’ to virtual data visualisation, the future of intelligent systems was on display in Croke Park at a showcase organised by the ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology. Aimed at organisations from a wide range of industries looking to achieve more through digital transformation, the solutions on display included business intelligence, fraud detection, virtual reality, productivity, smart search and artificial intelligence. The event gave visitors an opportunity to get hands-on experience of these solutions that were grouped thematically around next generation social media and the web; data management and quality; technology-enhanced learning and eHealth; translation and localisation; and customer engagement and analytics. The showcase event was built around the theme of ‘Intelligent Systems’ where technologies such as Machine Learning and Neural Networks are used to programme computers to react flexibly and ‘intelligently’ to new situations. Technological solutions developed by ADAPT with industry partners revealed the advances taking place in areas such as realtime intelligence, predictive maintenance, organisational insights, 3D visualisation, big data analytics, and digital content monitoring. These innovations covered a number of industries including financial services, healthcare, retail, government, education and cultural heritage.

Futuristic Technology Now a Reality In 2002 Steven Spielberg imagined the technology of the future in the film, Minority Report, set in the year 2054. Today one of the most popular attractions at the ADAPT showcase showed how some of those advances were now possible. ADAPT’s novel visualisation of financial data called Virtual Reality Minority Report allowed visitors the opportunity to explore how a large financial dataset could be visualised allowing the user analyse risk and identify suspicious activity using live data. Running on an iPhone using Google Cardboard or

L-R: Communications Minister Denis Naughten (centre), SFI’s Director of Strategy & Communications Ruth Freeman, and Director of ADAPT Professor Vincent Wade try out a virtual reality headset at ADAPT’s showcase in Croke Park

the Samsung Gear, the solution represents a step forward in computing solutions for engaging with and extracting insights from digital data. The device allows the user interact with the data, identify relationships and patterns, and absorb information quicker than text based information. Other highlights included: • The chance to see Holmes, a solution that allows investigators include data from social media to generate a complete picture of an insurance claim case by building a profile of all parties involved. Connections between individual profiles are then mapped allowing the investigator generate a comprehensive visualisation of the relationships between all those involved in an insurance claim. • ADAPT also presented a Sarcastic Twitterbot, a programme that learns what sorts of words and patterns distinguish sarcastic remarks or convey a sentiment that is inconsistent with the literal meaning. • The next generation of digital ‘assistant’ was introduced at the event. ADELE is a form of artificial intelligence that can

interact with its user’s personal information such as calendars and social media to create a more personal, engaging conversation. This adaptive assistant is powered using technologies such as machine learning to tailor interactions based on the user’s personal needs. At the event ADAPT showcased 30 next generation digital content technology projects. Supported by the Irish government through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) to the amount of €24 million, the ADAPT Centre has leveraged an additional €26 million from industry partners. The ADAPT Centre already works with a range of respected industry partners including Microsoft, PayPal, Huawei, Eir, Ordnance Survey Ireland, Brite:Bill and Deutsche Bank. The Centre is seeking opportunities to work with other industry partners in order to further diversify and strengthen its research, and identify new uses for the technologies that are being developed. For more information, visit


Newsletter 2016 – 2017

Vietnam Ireland Bilateral Exchange Programme In 2016, Trinity won a second grant under the Vietnam Ireland Bilateral Exchange Programme initiated by the Irish Embassy and Irish aid to encourage collaborations between Vietnamese and Irish universities. The award was set up to help develop expertise in Vietnam in the area of data science, a priority for the Vietnamese Government. Trinity partnered with the John von Neumann Institute in Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City together with support from Glandore Systems, an Irish based company in Vietnam. For the second year running Dr Brett Houlding gave a two-week course in decision analysis. This covered techniques in utility theory, risk analysis, multi-criteria decision-making, cooperative bargaining theory, game theory, and social decision-making. Many of the techniques were originally developed by Hungarian Mathematician and Computer Scientist John

von Neumann through his book the Theory of Games, co-authored by Oscar Morgenstern. The course finished with a public seminar on Dr Houlding’s research developments in decision making with uncertain preferences. Dr Bernardo Nipoti delivered a second course on time series analytics and forecasting in May. The course focused on statistical methods for time series forecasting and signal processing as well as on dynamic state space models as a general approach for describing systems that evolve in time. Dr Nipoti concluded his visit by giving a seminar on his latest research work on methods to incorporate prior information into Bayesian nonparametric models. The programme also supports exchange opportunities for Ph.D. students from Trinity to visit the John von Neumann Institute and for Vietnamese students to study at Trinity.

Professor John Byrne’s Weather Forecast Factory painting to be exhibited in Paris Last September the Department received a request from the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine in Paris for the loan of Professor John Byrne’s Weather Forecast Factory painting. The Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine are arranging an exhibition entitled The Globe and the architect, between the heavens and the earth, curated by the architect and Professor Yann Rocher, to be displayed there from November 2017 till March 2018. This exhibition will tell the story of how architects, geographers, astronomers, mathematicians and artists have played a role in the exploration of the globe and the cosmos, and how they have represented these. This painting was commissioned in 1986 by Professor Byrne from the Belfast artist Stephen Conlin for the exhibition Computing through the Ages shown in the Long Room, that Professor Byrne also organised. The painting is based upon Lewis Fry Richardson’s


imaginative description of a human multiprocessor array to compute weather forecasts published in 1922 in his innovative work, Weather Prediction by Numerical Process, to which Professor Byrne added the figures of major contributors to the development of mathematics and computation. Since then the painting has been displayed in the foyer of the O’Reilly Institute, going largely unremarked until last year when Professor Peter Lynch published appreciative accounts of it in the Royal Meteorological Society’s journal, Weather, and the Irish Times. Professor Lynch was also instrumental in arranging for its display on the European Meteorological Society’s website at resources/rff/ which provides a highresolution reproduction with a zoom facility, allowing the detail and accuracy of Stephen Conlin’s artwork to be fully appreciated.

Professor Byrne’s painting is now an important part of the ‘The John Gabriel Byrne Computer Science Collection’, of which Dr Brian Coghlan and I are the honorary curators, and the catalogue for which is available at By Dan Mc Carthy

Weather Forecast Factory


Computer Science and Statistics

Student’s Experience of the Trinity-Thapar International Engineering Programme

Peru Bhardwaj

Trinity and Thapar University in India have developed a credit transfer International Engineering Programme (IEP), which provides students admitted to undergraduate engineering programmes at Thapar University the opportunity to study at Trinity. Peru Bhardwaj was one of the first students to participate in the programme. What has been the highlight of your programme in Trinity? I got to work on a range of challenging assignments as part of my course at Trinity. Practical work in the form of interesting labs and assignments helped me understand the theoretical concepts and added to my skill set as a computer engineer.

How was your transition from Thapar to Trinity? Both academic and cultural life in Trinity is more independent than life in Thapar and the transition programme provides an opportunity to develop as responsible individuals both academically and personally. Despite the difference in culture, moving to Trinity was smooth due to support from staff involved in the programme. The course mentors from the School were available to help with any academic challenges and a welcoming community of Irish and international students, especially at Trinity Hall where I lived, made it easy to settle into the place. Did you participate in any research within the School? I did a summer internship with ADAPT Centre for Digital Content and Innovation where I took part in the ongoing research on Semantic Web and Linked Data in the School. As a part of my internship, I learned the basics of Semantic Web technologies and developed a proof of concept application, which demonstrates the integration of Linked Data data-sets. Most of the tourists to the Trinity College Library visit the Book of Kells but miss out on other interesting collections that the Library has. Digital Repository and Imaging Services (DRIS) of the Library wish to expose these collections to tourists through engaging mobile-based applications. In the Geo-Library project, geospatial data from the Ordnance Survey

Ireland (OSi) about the churches in Ireland was linked to data from the Clarke Stained Glass Studio Collection. The web-based application provides directions on Google maps to the church nearest to user location and which has the stained-glass windows being referred to in the Library collection. What made you choose to get involved in the research in the School? I was curious about the research within the School since I came here. At the same time, I wanted to work with the Trinity College Library, which is a legal deposit of all works published in the Republic of Ireland. The rich knowledge base from the Library was something that I wanted to look at and understand, so I expressed my interest to Professor Declan O’Sullivan who was working on mobile applications for the Library at that time. What are your plans for the future? I plan to do a full-time Ph.D. in Semantic Web with the ADAPT Centre.

Congratulations to our 2017 SCSS Scholars Computer Science: David Phillips, Chia Hao Lau, Luke Lau, Seng Leung and Macdara Tinney

Management Science & Information Systems Studies: Devin Connolly


Newsletter 2016 – 2017

Professor John G Byrne Prize Congratulations to Tara Matthews, B.A. (Mod), MCS, who was awarded the 2016 Professor John G Byrne Prize in recognition of her academic achievement at Trinity. The prize is awarded annually to the student who achieves the highest overall result in the Masters year of the Computer Science course, provided the result is at distinction level. L-R: Tara Matthews with Kenneth Dawson-Howe, Jeremy Jones and Mike Brady from SCSS

Computing Careers Fair Attracts Record Numbers This year’s annual recruitment fair proved to be a huge success with almost three hundred students participating.

Computer Careers Fair

Companies attending included: Amazon Data Services Ireland Ltd., Arista Networks Ltd., Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BearingPoint Ireland, Bloomberg, Citi Bank, Deloitte, Ericsson, Equifax, FINEOS Corporation, First Derivatives, Geneva Trading, HubSpot, Lidl, Microsoft Corporation, Munich Re, Murex Advanced Technology Ltd, New Ireland Assurance, Optum, Susquehanna International Group, Swrve, Version 1, Vizor Software, Workday Ltd.

Many past graduates, some employed in earlier years at this event, formed part of the team of the visiting companies. This annual event holds its popularity with employers as the demand for graduates from SCSS continues to grow. The event was organised in collaboration with the Careers Advisory Office and is one of the most successful recruitment fairs held annually at Trinity.

Trinity Teams Secure Top Places in Irish Collegiate Programming Contest Student teams from Trinity secured first and second place in the annual Irish Collegiate Programming Content (IrlCPC) held in March in University College Cork (U.C.C.). The contest, which was organised by the UCC Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Student Chapter, saw 44 teams from all over Ireland compete to solve six challenging programming problems. The competition was sponsored by Google, the Insight Centre for Data Analytics and Newsweaver. Three Trinity teams took part in the contest. Two of these teams, ‘Wunderbaguette’ (Mathis


Hammel, Benoît Chabod, Arne Philipeit) and ’Team18’ (Oisin Carroll, David Phillips, Sophie Legras), finished first and second overall and were the only teams to solve all six problems within the four hours’ time limit. The third Trinity team, “noMore” (Luke Lau, Jason Lau), also secured a position among the top teams. The result comes on the back of months of preparation and practice, with support and sponsorship from the Dublin University Computer Science Society (DUCSS) and the School of Computer Science and Statistics Undergraduate Programming Centre (UGPC).

‘Team 18’ receiving prize


Computer Science and Statistics

B.A. Computer Science 1986 Reunion

The BACS class of 1986 with a few of their lecturers

The class of 1986 had a 30 Year, two-part reunion during the Alumni Weekend. Friday’s agenda included a return trip to the Museum Building, with some recollections from Jeremy Jones, followed by a guest lecture by Jane Grimson.

The School then hosted a lovely reception and tour of the School, followed by the traditional few beverages in O’Neills in Pearse Street, and finally, some much needed dinner. On Saturday, we assembled for the Black Tie Ball,

ogled at the Dining Hall, and then completed a full post mortem in a local hostelry. We had a great weekend and we’d like to thank everyone in the School and the Alumni Office for being exceptional hosts. By Sean O’Sullivan, (1986).

Leaving Certificate Computer Science curriculum Dr Jake Rowan Byrne, Research Fellow at SCSS and CS/STEM programme manager at Bridge21, was commissioned by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) to lead the writing of the new Leaving Certificate Computer Science specification (curriculum). A full draft specification has been completed in collaboration with the NCCA and the associated development group and is available for public consultation. This is a very exciting opportunity as the draft specification aligns considerably with Bridge21’s goals of promoting technology mediated, team-based project work in the classroom.

Dr Jake Rowan Byrne

This represents a significant step forward as we see Computer Science and Bridge21 pedagogical approaches integrated into formal education, particularly at senior cycle. Visit for further details.


School news Ussher Assistant Professors:

Three new Chairs to be appointed:

The School welcomes Dr Ivana Dusparic (Future Cities), Dr Georgios Isoifidis (Future Networks) and Dr Joeran Beel (Content Analytics and Semantic Modelling) as new Ussher Assistant Professors who commenced this year. Two further Ussher Assistant Professor positions remain to be filled in the areas of Software Systems and Data Science.

The School has permission to fill the vacant Chair of Statistics, a new Chair of Intelligent Systems and the new B.M. Thapar Chair of Computer Science.

Professor Jane Grimson Emeritus Professor of Health Informatics: Congratulations to Jane on being awarded an Honorary Degree from NUI Galway.

Thomas J. Sweeney Memorial Library relocated and refurbished:

Transition Year Workshops Over 100 students from across Dublin participated in the Transition Year workshops in March. The workshops take place annually in collaboration with Bridge21 and SCSS. Enquiries regarding the workshops are welcome to

The SCSS Library is named after Tom Sweeney, a lecturer who died tragically in 1978. The library is now used as a meeting room. Note the photograph of Tom Sweeney on the pillar between the windows and the ’book cases’ containing part of the Professor John Byrne Collection.

The SCSS Library

Upcoming events Christmas Commons 6 & 13 December 2017 Christmas Homecoming 21 December 2017

Get Involved

Other Upcoming Events:

Class Notes

Trinity has a long tradition of outreach and community engagement. To find out about the numerous ways you can get involved with Trinity both at home and abroad, please visit

Do you have any news or updates that you’d like to share with your fellow alumni? Submit your news with an image, subject of study and year of graduation to For more information please visit @tcdalumni



The School of Computer Science & Statistics O’Reilly Institute Trinity College Dublin 2, Ireland T. +353 1 896 1765 E.