UCC’s Prof Barry O’Sullivan elected fellow of prestigious global AI body

27 Apr 2022

Prof Barry O'Sullivan. Image: Thomas Tyner

Prof Barry O’Sullivan is the first academic based at an Irish university to be elected as a fellow of the AAAI.

Prof Barry O’Sullivan of University College Cork (UCC) has been elected a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI).

O’Sullivan was one of 10 individuals globally given the honour this year, in recognition of his “significant contributions” to constraint programming and “outstanding leadership” in the AI community. This is the first time an academic based at an Irish university has been recognised in this way.

He is currently an elected member of the AAAI’s executive council and was also recently elected fellow of the Asia-Pacific AI Association.

O’Sullivan is chair of constraint programming at UCC’s School of Computer Science and Information Technology.

He is also the founding director of both the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Insight Research Centre for Data Analytics and the SFI Centre for Research Training in Artificial Intelligence.

“I am honoured to receive this recognition and become a fellow of AAAI, which has been a lifetime ambition of mine,” O’Sullivan said. “I owe huge thanks to all my colleagues and students at Insight, my collaborators at home and abroad, and especially my family.”

The academic also paid tribute to his mentor, Prof Eugene Freuder, and said it has been “an honour to contribute to the field of artificial intelligence over the last two decades”.

O’Sullivan has held a number of leadership positions in the international AI community. He was vice-chair of the European Commission’s high-level expert group on AI, which developed Europe’s guidelines for trustworthy AI. He is also a fellow and a past president of the European Association for AI (EurAI).

As well as his roles at UCC, O’Sullivan advises Cornell University’s computational sustainability network and the Belgian Leuven.AI institute.

Congratulating O’Sullivan on his AAAI nod, UCC president Prof John O’Halloran said it was a “global recognition” of his “very significant contribution to the advancement, awareness, education and research in artificial intelligence to make our world a better place and in securing our future”.

At the end of 2020, O’Sullivan was awarded one of the top computer science prizes in the world. He also helped launch a free online course called Elements of AI at Silicon Republic’s Future Human event.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.