Skip navigation

University College Dublin Logo

Advanced Search

UCD News

Nuacht UCD

Posted 27 February 2013

Irish research takes a big step in “Big Data”

UCD’s Professor Barry Smyth leads INSIGHT team in major national research investment in new technology.

Bringing together academics from five of Ireland’s leading research centres, the new INSIGHT Centre funded by the Irish Government through Science Foundation Ireland, is designed to provide a national research platform in information and communications technology (ICT), which can capitalise on the massive amounts of data generated in our information-rich society.

“The ultimate aim is to help people make better decisions by harnessing the data that is available to us all.” Professor Barry Smyth (INSIGHT Centre Director) explains. “We have entered the age of ‘Big Data’ and with it we are witnessing a quantum leap in the quantity and quality of information drawn from all aspects of our lives.

Almost everything we do generates data and a growing torrent of data is created every second of every day, as companies, public services and individuals generate a burgeoning volume of data, both structured and unstructured. Online networks capture a wealth of information about how we live, work and play. Millions of networked sensors are being embedded in everything from mobile phones to cars to smart energy metres to healthcare services.

Pictured at UCD during the introductory speeches: Michelle Bachelet, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women and Professor Patrick Paul Walsh, UCD School of Politics and International Relations
A new Government investment of €300 million in seven pioneering research centres located across Ireland, including UCD, was announced jointly by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Mr. Richard Bruton TD and Minister for Research and Innovation, Mr. Sean Sherlock TD

Harnessing this ‘Big Data’ requires a new set of technologies and demands the development of a new skills-base in order to transform these raw data into valuable insights that can inform better decisions.”

The new INSIGHT Centre will undertake both fundamental science and enabling technology research in a collaboration between UCD, UCC, NUI Galway and DCU along with over 40 industry partners.

The fundamental science addresses personal sensing - covering health and physical movement, reasoning – covering decision making, and the semantic web – covering the common framework that allows knowledge to be shared and reused.

The enabling technologies span research strands that cover linked data, recommender systems, media analytics and decision analytics.

“The focus of our research outcomes will be in two areas” Professor Smyth outlines. “The first is Connected Health, which uses technology to deliver patient-centred care outside the hospital or GP surgery, and connects all stakeholders in the healthcare system.

The second is the Discovery Economy, which combines ideas from recommender systems with location-based services and the real-time social web. Its application aims to connect the right user with the right information at the right time and will explore opportunities in areas such as news and media, e-commerce, and mobile computing.”

INSIGHT’ research will be spread across targeted projects and will provide an opportunity for genuine collaborations between INSIGHT researchers and industry. In addition, some of the multinational partners such as Microsoft, IBM and Intel will participate across multiple themes.

These themes cover:

  • Chronic Disease Management & Rehabilitation – modelling the progression of disease or rehabilitation based on data that can be acquired from patients using ambulatory sensing strategies, and involving targeted projects with partners such as BiancamedResMed, Vitalograph, Shimmer Research, Sports Surgery Clinic, Lincor,Tunstall.
  • Novel Personal Sensing – technologies which can monitor the physiology, activity and behaviour of people, for a variety of health, work or leisure related activities, and involving projects with partners such as Adidas, Under Armour.
  • Connecting Health & Life Sciences – a data engineering strategy for personalized medicine, enabling the industry to leverage the knowledge concealed in many increasingly complex datasets in chemistry and life sciences, and involving targeted projects with companies such as UCB & Ontoforce.
  • Smart Enterprise – technologies to answer key challenges faced by organisations to manage and extract meaning from the diversity & volume of data that is available to them, to make better business decisions and fully exploit it to maximise business value. Targeted projects include companies such as Cisco, Avaya, SAP, HewlettPackard, and DOC.
  • The Future of News and Media – the role of data analytics in next generation news production, media consumption and targeted advertising with projects from companies such as RTÉ, The Irish Times, Storyful, Flashpoint, Elsevier.
  • The Analytical Society – the role of data analytics in e-society and e-government initiatives, such as health-service delivery, natural resource management, public transportation management, and involving companies such as Abtran, Avego, Keelvar, TreeMetrics, UTRC and Skillpage.
  • Discovery Analytics – the application of data analytics to support information service, product discovery for consumer and enterprise applications, from retail and auctions to social networking and security, and involving companies such as AdaptiveMobile, Accenture, SkillPages, NitroSell and Gilt.

(Produced by UCD University Relations)


>> More News and Events
<< Back to Home