European AI expert Prof Barry O’Sullivan named SFI Researcher of the Year 2016

14 Nov 2016

Data feed. Image: Slavko Sereda/Shutterstock

Director of Insight at University College Cork, Prof Barry O’Sullivan, has been named as the Science Foundation Ireland Researcher of the Year 2016, marking the second time an Insight Centre for Data Analytics director has won the award since its founding in 2013.

The Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Researcher of the Year award was announced as part of the SFI Science Summit, to raise awareness of Ireland’s scientific achievements and notable researchers over the past year.

There were many dignitaries from researchers from Ireland and abroad included Dr France A Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation, in conversation with Inspirefest founder and Silicon Republic CEO, Ann O’Dea.

As director for the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, and University College Cork’s (UCC) chair of Constraint Programming, O’Sullivan has invested a significant amount of time into the centre’s Magna Carta for Data project.

But in September this year, he achieved major career milestones, having been named the deputy president of the European Association for Artificial Intelligence, the largest body of its kind in the world.

Also in September, O’Sullivan spoke for the second time at the United Nations Headquarters in New York about AI and data analytics in the context of sustainable development.

The following month, he was part of the deal that saw the Insight centre receive an investment of €1.5m from United Technologies Research Center in the US to advance research in smart service delivery and supply chain management in Cork.

Praise from peers

He was also recently speaking with about the future of AI from a legal perspective, with some experts suggesting that AI in its current form could be illegal by the time 2018 rolls around.

Speaking of O’Sullivan’s award, UCC vice president for research and innovation, Prof Anita Maguire said: “Prof Barry O’Sullivan is clearly a thought leader in his field internationally, as evidenced by external recognition in multiple prestigious fora; we are delighted to see his excellence, commitment and contribution nationally and globally recognised and honoured by this award.”

Insight’s CEO Oliver Daniels also added: “It is an extraordinary achievement for Insight with two of its researchers being recognised in this way.

“We are producing research of real note and value academically, and this accolade will certainly increase our attractiveness to industry, which is so important in today’s research environment, and it will also help in attracting the best and brightest researchers to our centre.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic