NCI 2020

Winners of NCI Project Showcase announced

AI project wins overall award of €3,000
Image: Jason Clarke

2 June 2020

The winners of the National College of Ireland (NCI) Technology Transfer Project Showcase have been announced.

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, third-level institutions across Ireland have had to move classes and end-of-year assessments online.

A final project showcase for NCI’s final year school of computing students had long been in the works. The showcase would have allowed the students to demonstrate their project to an audience of industry professionals and graduate recruiters.




As the health crisis escalated, however, NCI moved the Technology Transfer Project Showcase online. All projects are now digitally viewable until the end of July.

Dr Pramod Pathak, dean of NCI’s School of Computing, announced the Project Showcase Award Winners.

The Overall Award for Best Project was presented to final year BSc (Hons) in Computing student Joshua Cassidy for his project ‘Convolutional Neural Network Hyper-Parameterisation Genetic Algorithm Optimisation Framework’. Sponsored by Citi, Cassidy received a prize of €3,000 for his work.  

“My project looks at an aspect of Deep Learning that focuses on Deep Neural Networks, which are inspired by how the human brain works, and Genetic Algorithms that focus on how natural selection influences evolution,” said Cassidy.

“In this case, Convolutional Neural Networks are Artificial Neural Networks, which allow a machine to effectively deal with vast amounts of image data and learn from them. Genetic algorithms allow a machine to generate good solutions for the current problem it faces by using concepts from the theory of evolution.

“The work I did lets the machine learn using a diverse variety of techniques: the Convolutional Neural Network Hyper-Parameterisation Genetic Algorithm Optimisation Framework (CNNHGAO) will allow companies that use computer vision to bypass the notoriously difficult process of manually configuring these models in the creation of products such as self-driving cars or facial recognition systems.”

Other winners include:

President of NCI Gina Quin, said: “I am very grateful to all at NCI for making the move online so efficiently and with such enthusiasm in the face of very challenging times. I am delighted with the success of Project Showcase in particular, leading the way in showing how colleges can celebrate achievement even in a socially distanced world. I’m proud of the resilience of all our students, and extend special congratulations to today’s award-winners.”

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