Denis O’Brien invests in new Centre of Cloud Computing at National College of Ireland

1 Oct 2012

Prof Jeffrey Ullman, professor emeritus at Stanford University and CEO, Gradiance Corporation; with NCI chairman Denis O'Brien (centre) and Phillip Matthews, president, National College of Ireland

Businessman Denis O’Brien has funded the new Centre of Cloud Computing which will be based at the National College of Ireland in Dublin. The amount provided by O’Brien hasn’t been disclosed.

The new centre will support the development of the cloud computing industry in Ireland and abroad.

O’Brien owns one of the fastest-growing international telecoms companies, Digicel, and is CEO of Communicorp.

Prof Jeffrey Ullman, professor emeritus at Stanford University, opened the centre on Friday. He will serve as chair of the International Advisory Board of the School of Computing at National College of Ireland, with overall responsibility for the strategy of the new centre.

Cloud – a potential economic driver

Globally renowned for the impact he and his students have had on the technology landscape and industry, Ullman has been influential in shaping the history of companies, including IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Intel and Google. Having acted as PhD supervisor to Google’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Ullman has served on the technical advisory board of Google since its founding.

The day-to-day running of the centre will be managed by Dr Horacio González-Vélez, an award-winning computational researcher and technologist, who was recently appointed as head of the centre. González-Vélez will direct NCI’s cloud infrastructure, post-graduate programmes and research with a clear emphasis on innovation, education inclusion, and industrial partnerships.

“The cloud-computing industry has the potential to be a critical driver of the Irish economy in terms of growth and jobs,” National College of Ireland president Dr Phillip Matthews said.

“As the industry is still evolving worldwide, there are real opportunities for Ireland to position itself as a global leader in the field. By establishing one of the first significant centres of excellence for teaching and research in cloud computing, National College of Ireland seeks to support Ireland in taking a leadership role in this vital industry. We are extremely grateful to our chairman, Denis O’Brien, whose vision and generosity has made the centre a reality.”

Ireland’s digital leaders will gather to discuss cloud computing and the big data revolution at the Cloud Capital Forum on Friday, 23 November, at the Convention Centre Dublin

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years