It was a lot of Hot Air compared to Quantum Computers

I was back at the RDS in Dublin visiting the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. Beginning in 1963, the exhibition concept was created by to UCD academics from the School of Physics. Fast forward to 30 years ago and I participated for the first of two visits. Arriving in again to visit thirty years later, I was struck by the  professional finish of posters. So much has improved, but I still love the hand made stands and eye catching props to lure you into a project. As you can see from the newspaper clipping, our project may have involved a lot of hot air but I recall there was some scientific rigour to our methodology!

I met 2019 winner of the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, Adam Kelly, while judging the national finals of SciFest 2018  where he also won first prize. As a judge I was struck by his demonstration of all the attributes of a quality scientist: imagination, methodology and a great ability to communicate the work. He knew what he had done and was able to explain what he had not done, and why. Adam’s project for SciFest was entitled ‘An Open Source Solution to Simulating Quantum Computers Using Hardware Acceleration’ and was the overall winner out of more than 10,000 students competed in the regional heats to progress to the national SciFest 2018 final.

Adam Kelly (Photo: Irish Times)

The event is an inspiring way to start the year: seeing the curiosity and scientific rigour on display by second level students who are motivated not by the prizes but by the desire to explore interesting questions.

Abbey Road Hackathon

QxLab’s Alessandro Ragano was in London’s Abbey Road Studio with his team ‘the Tailors’. The ‘Tailors’ helped find a way to provide an artificial companion for singers and songwriters. Taking lyrics and sentiment using Microsoft’s Cognitive APIs.

The 24 hour challenge, aimed to reinvent music innovation and production in collaboration with Microsoft to transform the way we create and experience music. Top industry mentors will assist participants as they work together to create solutions and explore questions.

Video credit: @abbeyroadred

Dr AbuBakr Siddig joins QxLab

The SFI CONNECT research centre for future networks project has funded  the recruitment of a new postdoctoral research fellow at QxLab. Dr AbuBakr Siddig completed a PhD at University College Dublin and an MSc in Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden. He brings experience in digital signal processing and 802.11 wireless networking to the group. Welcome AbuBakr!

Andrew is now a Senior Member of the IEEE

In recognition of his contributions to the profession, Andrew has been elevated to Senior Member status in the IEEE. And he even got a nice wooden plaque to prove it!

The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) is a professional association with over 430,000 members worldwide and is active in related industry standards, conferences, and publications.

New Project: QoE for Digital Audio Archive Restoration

As part of the SFI 2018 PhD Recruitment Programme, Dr Andrew Hines, who joined Insight@UCD as a funded investigator during the summer, has recruited Alessandro Ragano as a PhD student. After completing his MSc at Politecnico di Milano, Alessandro spent time as a research assistant at Fraunhofer IIS. He will be co-supervised by Dr Emmanouil Benetos of the Alan Turing Institute and Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). As part of his PhD programme Alessandro will be spending one year in London at the ATI headquarters next door to the British Library. His research will investigate using data-driven quality prediction models for digitally restored audio archives. Welcome to QxLab and Insight@UCD Alessandro.





Data is Toxic: How do you trade-off functionality but balance the security and performance for databases?

In the Untouchables, Seán Connery’s character observes the need to match the tool to the job. Commenting on the dangers for someone who “brings a knife to a gunfight”.

Daniel was in Queen’s University Belfast at the 29th IEEE Irish Signals and systems conference presenting his work on property preserving encryption analysis. He carried out micro-benchmarks on MySQL and CryptDB. Will deterministic suffice or homomorphic encryption needed to maintain functionality?

Andrew also attended the conference and co-chaired a session.

isscmicrobenchmarkpaper isscprogramme

10th QoMEX held in Sardinia


QxLab’s Dr Miroslaw Narbutt presented work on an objective spatial audio model for compressed ambisonic quality estimation. The paper received an honourable mention in the best paper awards. Andrew also presented the winning bid pitch to host QoMEX in Ireland in 2020.

Mirek explains that “people often hear things before we see them”. Content creators need spatial audio to deliver immersive VR. Introducing AMBIQUAL: a tool to predict quality for compressed spatial audio.mirexatqomex

QxLab wins Research Innovation Award

The SFI CONNECT Research Centre for Future Networks, represented by QxLab’s Dr Andrew Hines (CONNECT Funded Investigator at UCD), has won the 2018 US-Ireland Research Innovation Award in the category of ‘Research Centre with links to the US corporate sector in Ireland’.

Read Irish Times coverage here.

The award was jointly presented by the Royal Irish Academy and the American Chamber of Commerce to recognise excellence in research innovation. The announcement was made on Friday, 18 May at the American Chamber of Commerce annual dinner at the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road, in Dublin. The event was attended by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, T.D.; the President of the Royal Irish Academy, Professor Peter Kennedy; and members of the US-Ireland business community.

Andrew’s project is a collaboration with Google and is called ViSQOL, a software platform for evaluating audio quality on the web by “looking” at sounds. It can predict sound quality in a wide range of internet scenarios from streaming music and video conferencing to virtual reality 3D spatial audio.

Based on previous research undertaken by Andrew to examine how speech would sound from different hearing aids, Google have supported the development of this research innovation to examine its application in video-conferencing. The result is ViSQOL: a software platform that can predict sound quality in a wide range of internet scenarios including music, video streaming, video conferencing and virtual reality 3D spatial audio.

Andrew’s work spans several research projects from his time as a postdoc in Trinity College Dublin, as a CONNECT Funded Investigator at DIT, and now in UCD.

American Chamber of Commerce.
Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography Copyright 2018