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.

QxLab picks up the inaugural CONNECT Research Impact Award

QxLab’s Dr Andrew Hines accepted the inaugural CONNECT Research Impact Award in recognition of a technique, developed in collaboration with Google, which is now used to assess the audio quality of YouTube’s most popular videos.

He was presented with the award by CONNECT Director, Prof. Luiz DaSilva. CONNECT is the Science Foundation Ireland research centre for future networks and communications. Dr Hines, a Funded Investigator at the centre.

“This area of research is called ‘Quality of Experience and it is a key pillar in CONNECT’s research platform,’” Andrew explains. “The research leading to this development was conducted during my time in UCD, DIT, and Trinity College Dublin.

“Our work has also been used in the development of the OPUS codec which is used to stream over 1 billion minutes of audio per week through the Chrome browser. The model has been freely shared and is used for research and development across other Google research divisions for helping applications ranging from trying to restore speech to silent movies to lipreading at cocktail parties. Other industry leaders such as Apple have also used it in headphone assessment.”

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

QxLab moves to UCD

QxLab began life in Dublin Institute of Technology in 2015. It has moved to a new home in the School of Computer Science at University College Dublin. The majority of the lab have moved to UCD: PhD students Daniel Becker, Rahul Jaiswal and visiting researcher Helard Martinez. Research Fellow Dr Miroslaw Narbutt will be based at DIT will continue working full time with QxLab on a research project developing QoE models for ambisonic audio funded by Google, Inc. through the SFI CONNECT Research Centre.