NUI Galway Award Winners Create Technologies of the Future

Monday, 1 November 2010

Directions at your fingertips and genetic algorithms-generated Sudoku puzzles are just some of the exciting new technologies that graduates of the Information Technology discipline at NUI Galway have won awards for recently. Prizes were awarded to students who excelled in their projects, which span a wide range of fascinating topics, reflecting the diversity of research and career opportunities for graduates of Information Technology. Stephen Lenihan from Cong, Co Mayo, a graduate of the B.Sc. in Information Technology developed a software system that uses genetic algorithms to generate Sudoku puzzles. The algorithms were used both to generate the puzzles and to create varying difficulties by reducing the number of initial numbers given. Stephen was awarded the Best Project in the B.Sc. in Information Technology, sponsored by Cisco System. On a more practical application, Steven Connolly from Achill, Co Mayo, Thomas Mitchell and Andrew Sweeney both from Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, all students in the M.Sc. in Software Design and Development, used web and smart phone technologies to develop an innovative mobile application that allows users to get map based directions for specific locations on campus, find friends and timetabled events, and receive point of interest alerts as they walk around the campus. All three were awarded the Best Project in the H.Dip / M.Sc. in Software Design & Development, sponsored by Cisco Systems. For those with an interest in creating music, James Tomkins from Galway City and Jonathan Lynch from Tullamore, Co Offaly, both graduates of the B.A. in Information Technology created a MIDI based music tutor. This novel software application generates sheet music, which is played by the user using a MIDI instrument and the programme then provides feedback on the user's performance. Information Technology is central to the development of the Smart Economy in Ireland. It is a breeding ground for entrepreneurs and attracts the kind of creative people who want to invent and promote technology based products and services. At NUI Galway, students of the B.Sc. in Information Technology study Professional Skills and Business Planning as part of their core academic work. Each year a special Entrepreneurship Prize is awarded for the students who produce the best business plan. These plans are evaluated by external business experts from WestBIC. This year the prize was awarded to Sean Herald from Belfast, for his "Heat Tech" idea – a Carbon Monoxide monitoring device with Bluetooth/SMS interface to alert a home user if their central heating boiler is operating inefficiently or dangerously. Professor Gerry Lyons, Professor of Information Technology and Dean of the College of Engineering & Informatics at NUI Galway also welcomed Cisco Systems as the new corporate sponsor for Best Projects in the Information Technology degree programmes. "We believe this is a strong endorsement of the commercial relevance of our degree programmes, and underlines our commitment to innovation, professionalism and research at NUI Galway. We place a huge emphasis on Final Year Project work," he said. He added: "These projects are a proving-ground for research and commercial business opportunities. Partnering with a blue-chip global company like Cisco gives students the added motivation and ambition to deliver excellent work." For further information, please contact: Dr Des Chambers, B.Sc. (Computer Science & IT) Programme Director, des.chambers@nuigalway.ie, 091 493311; or Ms Tina Earls, Executive Assistant in Information Technology, tina.earls@nuigalway.ie, 091 493143.
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