Thursday, 20 October 2016

What can data tell us about the Dublin City Marathon

Seven things data can tell us about the Dublin City Marathon: Prof Barry Smyth of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics

Prof Barry Smyth of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics is a data scientist and marathon runner. He has just started this blog called Running with Data which looks at what data can tell us about endurance running. He’s a prolific writer, an excellent speaker and is adding posts all the time.

So as runners prepare to pound the Dublin pavements for the 37th time on October 31st, here are seven things the data can tell us about the Dublin City Marathon.

1. Participation is rocketing. There were 7,000 finishers in 2000 which nearly doubled to 13,000 in 2015 and this year, the Dublin City Marathon was sold out for the first time with a record 19,500 participants.

2. Where are the women? 46% of finishers in 2000 were female. By 2015 that proportion had fallen to just 30%

3. Older runners rule! Last year, over half of the finishers were over the age of 40!

4. Starting too fast can ruin your race. About a third of Dublin runners start out too fast and this adds tens of minutes to the finish times as well as greatly increasing the likelihood that they will hit the wall.

5. Although overall only 5% of people hit the dreaded wall, the likelihood of hitting the wall is much higher for those finishing over 4.5 hours. For example 20% of men who finish at at 5 hours hit the wall. In general men hit the wall a lot more often than women.

6. They’re getting faster. Last year, 40% of finishers completed the course in under four hours. Only a quarter of runners managed the same feat in 2000.

7. In fact, the average finishing time has fallen from 305 minutes in 2000 to just over 255 minutes in 2015, a difference of an astonishing 50 minutes. Way to go Dublin! Although, there has been a big drop in the number of marathon walkers though so let’s not get carried away.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Limerick selected as national case study for €500,000 Smart City project

Lero, the Irish Software Research Centre, is investing €500,000 in a Science Foundation Ireland funded research project designed to develop the IT and Enterprise architecture needed to create Smart Cities of the future. Limerick has been selected as a national case study for the project.

As part of the case study, researchers from Lero at Dublin City University together with Limerick City & County Council, will develop a new digital service (Insight Limerick) which offers citizens a portal for information sharing, open data and data visualisation while analytics will be used to gain insights leading to better services.

The Internet of Things will facilitate data capture from potentially thousands of sensors and devices from water, soil and air quality, traffic, cycling and pedestrian movement, parking event management and other sources. For the people, communities and businesses in Limerick to maximise the benefits derived from these new sources of information the data needs to be connected, shared, analysed and protected in a coherent and consistent way in order for new services to be developed and existing ones improved.

Cllr. Kieran O’Hanlon, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick said: “It’s a coup for Limerick to be selected for this important case study as it can be a valuable stepping stone on our vision to make Limerick a sustainable Smart City, region and community.

“Our goal is to make Limerick an increasingly attractive location for FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) as well as indigenous investment which will boost jobs. At the same time, we want to make Limerick a positive experience for locals and visitors through better transportation solutions, reduced traffic, a cleaner environment and a safer community,” he added.

Dr. Mihai Bilauca, Head of Digital Strategy Limerick City and County Council said: “We aim to build Limerick’s reputation locally, nationally and internationally as a digital ecosystem where innovation and digital technologies empower our communities and create new opportunities for all in the knowledge economy. It is a new lens on the Limerick 2030 vision. This will involve the development of world-class digital services and infrastructure for a Smart Limerick and Smart Community.”

SFI funded Lero Investigator, Dr. Markus Helfert, Director of the Business Informatics Group at Dublin City University outlined: “There is a lot of talk about smart cities globally but one of the big challenges is to develop an IT and Enterprise Architecture which suits the needs of the entire city rather than focused on information silos.

“The IT architectural requirements for a city are fundamentally different and need to take account of a broader range of stakeholders and more complex functional requirements than in an enterprise situation. Working with Limerick we aim to design this framework on top of which exciting digital services can be placed.”

Elaborating on the scope of the research project Dr Helfert added: “The objective is to develop the Limerick Enterprise Architecture. Successful development of a Smart City requires a unified ICT infrastructure to allow sustainable economic growth. The unified ICT platform must be suitable to model, measure, optimise, control and monitor complex interdependent systems of urban life.”

Director of Services with Limerick City and County Council, Josephine Cotter Coughlan said: “The challenges and opportunities in the digital age are enormous. An Enterprise Architecture for Limerick will provide a coherent and holistic approach to ensure these opportunities are realised with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of life of our citizens.

“Limerick City and County Council in collaboration with Lero will work together to successfully harness the ability to transform how we do business in Limerick. With a highly educated workforce and home to many of the world’s leading information age companies, Limerick is ideally positioned to become a leading example of a smart city. We look forward to creating a connected digital ecosystem which accelerates learning, improves safety of citizens, enables services for the young and elderly and overall generates a higher quality of life for all,” she added.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Science Foundation Ireland investment to develop future research leaders

Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD, announced €22.3 million in research funding for 40 major research projects. The funding is distributed through Science Foundation Ireland’s Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) and Career Development Award (CDA) Programmes. With awards ranging from €450,000 to €877,000 over four years, the projects funded will support nearly 100 researchers.

Announcing the awards, Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TDsaid; “This investment in the Science Foundation Ireland SIRG and CDA Programmes allows researchers to advance their research investigations and continue developing their careers. These researchers will be the next leaders of research in Ireland, shaping the research community both here in Ireland and internationally. The nine industrial collaborations linked with these awards provides industry with access to the emerging research expertise found throughout Ireland. Collaborations at these early career stages will help establish relationships which will advance Ireland’s economy, society and reputation for research excellence now and in the future.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland welcomed the announcement saying; “Science Foundation Ireland places a heavy emphasis on supporting researchers at every stage of their careers. The SIRG and CDA awards help early and mid-career researchers develop essential skills and track records necessary to become the next generation of research leaders in Ireland. I have high expectations for these projects and look forward to these teams contributing to the advancement of Ireland’s international reputation in areas such as energy, materials, technology, and health.”

The 40 research projects supported by the Science Foundation Ireland Career Development Award (CDA) and Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) Programmes will be funded through nine research bodies, as follows: Dublin City University (7), National University of Ireland Galway (3), National University of Ireland Maynooth (1), Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (2), Trinity College Dublin (9), Tyndall National institute (2), University College Cork (3), University College Dublin (8), University of Limerick (5).

The 40 research projects funded are in a range of strategically important sectors:

Health & Medical

· Development of new and improved compounds for drug delivery and storage;

· Identification of genetic variations associated with neurodevelopment disorders;

· Development of a new gene-delivery method to enhance the body’s ability to fight a disease;

· Development of a prosthesis which stimulates the repair of intervertebral discs, relieving lower back pain;

· Creation of a decision support tool for doctors to identify the best drug treatment for individual patients with Her2+ breast cancer;

· Growth of tendon tissue in a laboratory to create a device to help treat patients with tendon injuries;

· Investigation into the causes of infection at access sites in a patient’s arm during dialysis;

· Development of laser-based diagnostic tools to non-invasively detect bladder cancer from urine samples, and improve the sensitivity of the screening of precancerous cervical lesions.

Food and Marine

· Improving the quality and safety of dairy products by investigating how viruses infect the bacteria used to produce cheese and yoghurt;

· Identification of the proteins used by bacteria to infect wheat.

Energy and Environment

· Conversion of CO2 into liquid fuels using low cost catalysts and solar cells;

· Novel solutions for efficient energy management in embedded power magnetic devices.

Manufacturing & Materials

· Creation of novel two-dimensional materials whose properties can be used to create novel devices and improve the effectiveness of batteries and catalysts;

· Development of new sensor technologies based on optical fibers;

· Development of new methodologies to guide the discovery of novel materials.

ICT and Communications

· The development of new software technology that will transform cyber and physical forensic investigations in the future;

· Novel communication technologies to enable the exponential growth of the Internet with minimized cost and power consumption;

· Sophisticated machine learning techniques (deep learning) for the detection of novel events in data streams such as CCTV images or data from a wearable medical device;

· Software development using methods such as open source and crowd sourcing;

· Improving the efficiency of telecommunications networks by employing novel transmission techniques and introducing elements of programmability and flexibility.