UCD Alumni Gather for Big Data Event

8th February 2016

Posted In: FYI

Over 250 University College Dublin (UCD) alumni attended an event held earlier this week in London as part of the University’s strategy to develop and strengthen the UCD community internationally.  

The event, held in the House of Lords, was hosted by businessman Lord Adair Turner, a member of the UK’s Financial Policy Committee and his wife, Ms Orna Ní Chionna, a distinguished alumna of UCD.

The primary objective of the event, which had a ‘Big Data and the Digital Age’ theme, was to build relationships with UCD alumni in the UK in order to develop UCD’s reputation as Ireland’s global University. The event, organised by UCD Alumni Relations and the UK Chapter of UCD, was attended by Professor Andrew J Deeks, President, UCD.

At the event guest speakers Professor Barry Smyth, Digital Professor of Computer Science, UCD; Dr Laura Toogood, Journalist and Digital Expert; and Lauren Boyle, the European Digital Girl of the Year 2014; addressed guests on the ‘Big Data and the Digital Age’ theme.

Dr Toogood, a communications professional, media commentator and author, who spoke about the potential pitfalls of technology, said, “Technology has empowered us with many exciting new tools for communication. However, it is important that we also understand the various risks and vulnerabilities that are presented to us in the modern digital age in order to move forward in a positive, constructive and safe way.”

Lauren Boyle, who is 11 years old, was the European Digital Girl of the Year in 2014. Lauren, whose mother is a UCD graduate, is a frequent speaker at digital conferences is the founder of Cool Kids Studio, which offers practical life skills for children on bullying and friendship. Lauren said, “Coding makes your ideas come alive. It has opened up so many doors for me and I’m really grateful for those opportunities.”

She added, “We already have contact lenses for diabetics that measure your glucose levels through the tear drops in your eyes, and send that information to a pump and it gives you the right amount of insulin. We are starting to 3D print bones and organs and medical technology is changing. I think it is going to really change the future.”

As part of UCD’s global engagement strategy, a series of similar events will be held in key countries over the coming years. 

(Pictured: Guest speakers Dr Laura Toogood and Professor Barry Smyth. Images by Paris Jefferson Photography.)