BTYSTE 2024 winer Sean O'Sullivan from Colaiste Chiarain, Co. Limerick

Limerick student Sean O’Sullivan wins BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition for author verification project

Judges consider VerifyMe to be the genuine article
BTYSTE 2024 winer Sean O'Sullivan from Colaiste Chiarain, Co. Limerick

15 January 2024

A fifth year student from Coláiste Chiaráin in Limerick, has won the top prize at the 60th BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition for developing a novel approach to detecting whether text has been written by a human or generated by AI.

Sean O’Sullivan, aged 17, took the top honour with his project, VerifyMe: A new approach to authorship attribution in the post-ChatGPT era.

Since OpenAI released ChatGPT in November of 2022, the line between human-written and AI-generated text has blurred, leaving academia and industry searching for a reliable method to discern ‘true’ human authorship. In his project, O’Sulivan considered the challenges of author verification in the context of the significant improvements in large language models like ChatGPT.




O’Sullivan is the 60th recipient to win the highly coveted trophy, and the top prize of €7,500. Seán will now also represent Ireland at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) taking place later this year in the European City for Science 2024 – Katowice, Poland. 

Chair of the Technology Group Judging Panel, Leonard Hobbs said: “The judges were hugely impressed by Sean’s innovative approach to addressing a problem that has only recently emerged and his programming skills in architecting a complex software solution.”

Abigail O’Brien Murray, Erica O’Brien Murray and Olivia O’Shea, all aged 18, and in sixth year in Loreto Secondary School Balbriggan in Dublin, won the prize for Best Group, with their project, Let’s Save the Common Ash!: A Continued Story. This is the second year this project has been recognised at the exhibition having previously been awarded Runner-up Group in 2023.

Shay Walsh, Managing Director of BT Ireland, said: “I have been lucky enough to be involved in the exhibition for almost a quarter of a century, since BT first became custodians. Being able to see first-hand the creativity and innovation of Ireland’s future leaders has been a real privilege. This year’s competition has been no exception with projects seeking to address real-world issues involving AI, health, and sustainability to name but a few.”

“While the calibre of entries across the board has been outstanding, on behalf of all the team at BT Ireland, I would like to congratulate all the finalists of the 2024 exhibition and thank them for sharing their remarkable ideas and innovations with us. And to all this year’s winners, we look forward to seeing the future impact you will all undoubtedly make.”

TechCentral Reporters

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