UCD and Oracle in SFI-funded database research


14 May 2008

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University College Dublin (UCD) has received an undisclosed amount of funding from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) to undertake research for Oracle Corporation on database technology.

The collaboration between Oracle and UCD will last for two years and is being facilitated by an SFI Industry Supplement Award to UCD under Lero, the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre.

Lero is a partnership of academic researchers and industry. It incorporates University of Limerick, Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin, UCD and a network of Irish and international companies. SFI has committed €11.7m to Lero.

The UCD-Oracle project will specifically look at ways to automate the identification and resolution of IT systems error messages in call centre, help desk and IT support environments.

The research will be based around autonomics, which comes from human biology and refers to the way our bodies can regulate and heal themselves without constant human intervention. The team will look to find ways to imbue computer systems with these self-diagnosing characteristics.

“The aim is to move further away from manually supported error resolutions and begin to develop software that can mine for information and propose a solution requiring less human intervention,” explained Professor Paddy Nixon, leader of the UCD Systems Research Group and the Autonomic strand of LERO.
“By embedding problem diagnosis in software, our goal is to greatly reduce the costs in both time and money associated with system downtime.

“The fundamental issue for self-diagnosing systems is in understanding and specifying the range of permitted behaviours of the systems in response to changes in their environment and tasks,” Nixon added. “We propose to improve incident response management by identifying how to mine and learn from incident reports to infer the needed causal models and to provide automated responses.”

“Product innovation has been integral to the way Oracle does business throughout its 30-year history as part of our ongoing commitment to deliver a superior ownership experience for our customers,” commented Paul O’Riordan, technology director and country leader, Oracle Ireland. “We are delighted to be supporting Lero in this research project.”

By Niall Byrne