This blog is no longer active. I maintained this blog as part of my role of Research Development Officer with the Faculty of Engineering and Computing, DCU. I have taken up a new role, but you can continue to find information on research in the Faculty, through the main Faculty website [HERE], and through the DCU news pages [HERE].
Thanks for reading!
Raymond Kelly

Friday 2 May 2008

Congratulations to Sara Morrissey

Congratulations to Sara Morrissey who successfully defended her thesis and will be awarded the degree of PhD.

The title of Sara's thesis is "Data-Driven Machine Translation for Sign Languages".

She completed her PhD in the National Centre for Language Technology (NCLT), and the School of Computing, DCU under the supervision of Professor Andy Way.

Sara is now working as a post-doctoral researcher with the Centre for Next Generation Localisation (CNGL), at DCU. In this post Sara will work with Prof. Harold Somers on Machine Translation for Patients with Limited English. She will also continue her sign language work, as well as working with minority spoken languages.

Brief description of Project:
With only ~1% of the Irish non-Deaf population being able to communicate in Irish Sign Language (ISL), most Deaf people not being confident in their English skills, and very few public services available through ISL, Deaf people face communication and comprehension barriers on a daily basis. A lack of interpreter availability coupled with confidentiality issues, as well as the English-language dependency of subtitling and teletype system mean that these services cannot always overcome these barriers. This thesis presents the development of data-driven machine translation (MT) technology using DCU’s MaTrEx MT system to address these communication problems. We have created a bidirectional multi-lingual translation system for sign languages (SLs) in the domain of airport information that includes gesture recognition and animation technology components to translate both to and from SLs.

This project was generously funded by the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) and IBM

Friday 25 April 2008

Congratulations to Karolina Owczarzak

Congratulations to Karolina Owczarzak who successfully defended her thesis and will be awarded the degree of PhD.

The title of Karolina's thesis is "A Novel Dependency-Based Evaluation Metric for Machine Translation".

She completed her PhD in the National Centre for Language Technology (NCLT), and the School of Computing, DCU under the supervision of Professor Josef van Genabith and Professor Andy Way.

Karolina will soon begin her new post as a guest researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, MD, USA, working on evaluation methods for automatic summaries.

Brief description of Project:
In the development of Machine Translation (MT) systems, automatic evaluation metrics allow developers to conduct frequent, fast, and cost-effective evaluations of their translation models. However, most of the metrics rely on a comparison of word strings, measuring only the surface similarity of the candidate and reference translations. A candidate translation expressing the source meaning accurately and fluently will be given a low score if the lexical and syntactic choices it contains, even though legitimate, are not present in at least one of the references. This thesis presents a method that automatically evaluates the quality of translation based on the labelled dependency structure of the sentence, rather than on its surface form. This lets us compare the translation and the reference on the level of shallow semantic relations, and the score obtained in this way reflects human judgment of translation quality better than most existing metrics.

This project was generously funded by Enterprise Ireland (EI) and Microsoft Ireland.

Tuesday 15 April 2008

DCU and UCD combine to seek commercial research advances in new technologies

A unique €16.4m technology partnership between UCD and DCU, supported by Cork’s Tyndall Institute, and funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), aims to tame twenty-first century media information overload, facilitate improved health, and ensure that our environment is meeting tough standards being set to deliver a better quality of life.

SFI has provided €11.8m to the research centre called CLARITY, while industry and social partners are providing more than €4.6m in cash, facilities, services and personnel. IBM, Vodafone, Ericsson and Fidelity Investments are among the multinationals supporting this ambitious world-class project, as well as national agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Marine Institute and the National Museum of Ireland.

The centre will be led by UCD’s Professor Barry Smyth. The Deputy Director will be DCU’s Professor Alan Smeaton as the two universities share responsibility for the new SFI research centre, CLARITY.

Building on research breakthroughs achieved with financial support from SFI and industry investments over the past four years, the centre will focus on empowering citizens through new technologies to harvest, refine and make use of the deluge of different kinds of information in the modern world.

Professor Alan Smeaton said: “With the use of smart sensing devices in the physical world - for example testing our health and wellness, the air we breathe and the water we drink, combined with new technologies to help us find the right information from the digital world - CLARITY will develop a new generation of smarter, more proactive information services and products which are set to improve our quality of life.

“These will include new ways to monitor the impact of exercise on health, technologies to support our aging population, innovative social and interactive media services to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the digital media sector, and technology that can automatically monitor the quality of our environment.”

This is a large-scale academic-industry collaboration with more than 90 full-time researchers and more than ten industrial partners, including major multinationals as well as emerging Irish companies.

CLARITY will develop a sustainable pipeline of 10 patents a year of high quality intellectual property (IP) with clear commercial potential. The educational-research development of the project will produce up to 45 new PhD graduates by 2012, providing Irish industry with access to critical knowledge capital, and contributing significantly to the Government target of doubling PhD output by 2013.

The President of DCU Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski said, ”This is DCU’s third CSET award from SFI marking the university’s distinctive leadership in Ireland’s research revolution at third level institutions in recent years. CLARITY is also fulfilling a vital national requirement for quality research collaboration between institutions, focussed on commercial breakthroughs to the benefit of the Irish economy.”

DCU has won two other major CSET awards. The €23m Biomedical Diagnostics Institute was established in 2005 aiming to produce commercially viable “early warning” diagnostic devices for life threatening illnesses. Last year DCU won another €17m from SFI for a CSET next generation localisation, with multinational partners contributing a further €13m. This will underpin Ireland’s world-leading position in the localisation industry – the preparation of manuals and information materials in the local language where new technology products are used.

Economic background to CLARITY
The economic importance of personalised health is now recognised worldwide. For example the negative impact of obesity alone was estimated in 2005 to be about €4 billion. New disruptive technologies that become part of the emerging “wellness” concept will become hugely important in socio-economic terms. New products incorporating wearable sensors will initially be used on sports and exercise clothing and then trickle down to more common, everyday wear and will become commonplace over the next few years. The CLARITY team already has a significant track record in this field.

Climate change is now focusing attention on the environment as never before. It is estimated that the cost of tackling this issue will be of the order of €1 trillion. Under the next phase of the National Development Plan (2003-2013) the Irish Government have set aside €4.7 billion for water services alone. CLARITY researchers will build on existing links with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Marine Institute to develop new technologies to monitor targets effectively, unattended over extended periods. Investment in wireless sensor networks for environmental monitoring is happening world-wide.

In the digital media sector a recent Forfas report says: “indications are that the market size for digital media was worth at the very least $965 billion in 2004. Furthermore, estimates suggest that it will be worth at least $1.48 trillion by 2009, representing growth of more than 53% in the period.” It also says that “wireless and mobile service revenues for voice and data are expected to grow from $388 billion in 2003 to $529 billion in 2010, while wireless and mobile data services alone, are expected to grow from $55 billion in 2003 to $235 billion in 2010.”

*Picture: L-R Prof Alan Smeaton, DCU, Deputy Director of CLARITY CSET; Prof Frank Gannon, Director General SFI; and Prof Barry Smyth, UCD, Director of CLARITY CSET

Thursday 10 April 2008

CIPA welcomes Research Officer Dr. Tarik A. Chowdhury

Welcome to Tarik A. Chowdhury, who has recently been appointed as Research Officer for the Centre for Image Processing & Analysis (CIPA), RINCE.

Tarik received his B.Eng. degree from Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology, Bangladesh in 1998 and his M.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees from Dublin City University (DCU), in 2003 and 2006, respectively. He comes to DCU from a position as an Assistant Professor in BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. His main research interests are in the area of image processing and medical imaging.

Monday 31 March 2008

Research Student Graduation

Congratulations to all of the DCU students who graduated on Saturday. There are 8 students graduating from the Faculty of Engineering & Computing with PhDs, while one student will graduate with a Masters by research. Great credit is due to these students for their tireless work over the last number of years.

In total, 2 research students graduated from the School of Computing, with a further 5 graduating from the School of Electronic Engineering, and a further 2 from the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering. You can get more information about the projects of some of these students here.

Wednesday 20 February 2008

DCU Graduate named Handballer of the Year

DCU graduate Dr. Eoin Kennedy has been named as Vodafone GAA Handballer of the year for 2007. This is Eoin's fourth All Star award, having previously been awarded the honour in 2002, 2004 and 2005. The award was presented by the President of the Irish Handball Council Tom Walsh at a reception in Dublin's Westbury Hotel.

This marks yet another year of success for the St. Brigid's Clubman, who collected a Grand Slam of titles, taking the All-Ireland 60x30 Singles and Doubles crowns, in addition to Hardball Singles and Doubles honours. Eoin is only the third player ever to manage this feat.

Eoin's list of achievements is phenomenol. As well as more than a dozen Irish senior handball titles, he has won World, United States and Canadian championships. He has led Ireland against the basque country under compromise rules, and in 2007 was the catalyst to Ireland's victory over the US in the Casey/Lawlor Cup.

Eoin has managed to combine these athletic feats with academic and professional excellence. After graduating with a BEng in Electronic Engineering, Eoin went on to pursue doctoral research in the School of Electronic Engineering at DCU. Under the supervision of Dr. Marissa Condon, he graduated with a PhD in 2005. The lecturing experience and research portfolio which Eoin had built up during his time at DCU helped him to secure a lecturing post in NUI Maynooth, where he has worked since completing his PhD. At the end of this month, Eoin will begin his new role as Power System Analyst within the Generation Analysis group in Eirgrid. This post will involve forecasting and planning for Ireland's future electricity needs.

Tuesday 19 February 2008

Funding Success for Nanomaterials Processing Laboratory

The Nanomaterials Processing Laboratory (NPL) at the School of Electronic Engineering has been awarded close to €1 million research funding in recent months.

The NPL, which draws researchers from the Research Institute for Networks and Communications Engineering (RINCE) and the National Centre for Plasma Science and Technology (NCPST), is led by Prof. Patrick McNally. Prof. McNally was recently awarded an EU Framework Programme (FP7) STREP Grant of €225,509. The project entitled "Investigation of Si wafer damage in manufacturing processes (SIDAM)" runs from 2008 to 2010. Collaborators include CEIT (Spain), University of Freiburg (Germany), ANKA Synchrotron (Germany), Bede Scientific (UK) and the University of Durham (UK).

Prof. McNally also received a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Equipment Grant for the acquisition of a Mini Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) System in December 2007. In addition, Prof. McNally and his colleague Dr. Stephen Daniels were awarded an Enterprise Ireland (EI) Commercialisation Fund Technology Development Grant for a project entitled "Development of prototype devices for flexible white-light emitters based on copper halide technology". The project runs from December 2007 to November 2010. The value of the project is €390,000.

Importantly, these funding agencies use international experts to review grant proposals, so this success represents a strong endorsement of the NPL's research activities by their fellow researchers across the globe. In addition, funding for the commercialisation of research findings, such as that recently secured by the NPL is an important stepping stone in Ireland's move to a knowledge-based economy.