Yesterday saw the National College of Ireland’s Showcase for the School of Computing, presented by final year students.

Glenn Cullen created a Smart Traffic Grid for Emergency Services. “I live near a hospital. As they head out to their calls, ambulances almost immediately enter a busy junction. Before I even started at NCI, I was thinking of this challenge, how they could more quickly and safely get through junctions in heavy traffic.”

The grid is demonstrated with a simulated city, developed in Unity. Along with applying machine learning and artificial intelligence, Cullen faced an additional challenge. “The cars in the simulation had to respond to traffic lights as drivers do in real life. The algorithm had to be based not just on their distance from the junction when the light turned red, but also take into account the process of stopping a car. I ended up studying physics myself, and building the formula for brake torque into the code.”

Cullen’s simulation includes 200 cars and uses a fire engine as the emergency vehicle. When a fire appears on screen, and the brigade is called out, the fire engine receives real time directions that take into account live traffic, ensuring the speediest route. At the same time, as the fire engine makes its journey, all lights move to red except the lane in which the emergency vehicle is travelling. This means that traffic in front of the fire engine continues to flow forward, with no build-up of traffic at lights to force the emergency vehicle to travel on the wrong side of the road or manoeuvre around traffic jams.

The real-world application of Cullen’s project is in keeping with the approach of his graduating class. The School of Computing chose four students to receive awards:

BSc in Computing student Leon Mulvaney, using Internet of Things, developed an Intelligent Food Network that won’t just stocktake and check your expiry dates, but will provide you with nutrition information and recipe suggestions. Deniss Strods specialised in Cloud Computing and focused on a solution for building and hosting private websites: CMS Lite Web Hosting Platform. Specialising in Business Analysis in the BSc (Hons) in Business and Technology Management. Lauren Lane made an app that allows users to store and manage their digital receipts. Ian Donnelly, studying Business Information Systems, carried out a statistical analysis on the impact of weather conditions on flights,

As well as academic peers, the showcase attracted the attention of industry, with nearly 100 companies meeting with the students. There were two industry awards, chosen on the day.
Aaron Fitzgerald, used his specialisation in software development to make an interactive web application with a focus on cyber bullying. Singlepoint greatly admired the hard work that went into CyBly as much as its purpose to educate and understand the complexities behind cyber bullying.

Presenting for Robert Walters, Dale Ayers also emphasised the importance of projects that demonstrated a real world, positive social application at the same time as being underpinned by best practice: acknowledging Caoimhe Malone’s Safe & Sound, a system to safeguard the elderly as a close competitor, they presented their award to Paul Reid, whose Classistant increases student/lecturer interaction in the classroom, permitting students to ask questions without identifying themselves to their classmates and allowing teachers to identify those who might benefit from additional supports.

NCI’s president, Gina Quin, congratulated the School of Computing on the celebration of its 20th birthday this year, and introduced keynote speaker, Aisling Hassell, who shared her journey from MSc in Fluid Dynamics to Head of Global Customer Experience for AirBnB, advising the graduating class not to spend too much time thinking about where they should be, but to live their lives.

National College of Ireland is one of Ireland’s most innovative third-level institutions with over 6,000 students across its key areas of business, computing, education, human relations, and psychology. Courses are delivered in its IFSC campus, online and in-company. To date, hundreds of NCI graduates have been qualified in areas like cybersecurity, data analytics, and FinTech.

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