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Artificial Intelligence for Sustainability



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About the Workshop

Can we harness Artificial Intelligence (AI) in our efforts to build a more sustainable world?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a significant role in the world today. Its impact has been transformational and it has been disrupting society and industry alike. Sustainability is one of the greatest challenges facing us today and requires action in a variety of areas such as clean energy, agriculture, population health, food security, transportation, consumption, industry, and the appropriate management of our natural resources. At the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, we believe that AI, data analytics, and data science, have a significant role to play in evidence-based policy-making to support sustainability, as well as providing a tool to monitor and achieve sustainability objectives across a wide range of settings.

While the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals set out a global sustainability agenda, organisations and governments have set out specific programmes of their own that provide ideal opportunities for the power of AI, data analytics and data science, to be brought to bear on addressing major challenges.

The objective of this event is to bring together a broad range of participants interested in addressing a variety of sustainability challenges across a myriad of different domains such as energy, agriculture, health, transport, manufacturing, etc., along with experts from the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, to discuss the challenges and opportunities for AI, data analytics, and data science, in the area. We will explore the opportunities for developing and deploying methods based on AI, machine learning, sensing, optimisation and decision-making, recommender systems, big data, citizen science, and many other techniques to address sustainability challenges.

We will achieve this through a combination of formal presentations, panel discussions and demonstrations on topics including but not limited to:

  • How machine learning and data mining can be used to predict demand for transportation services, and how optimisation methods can be used to meet that demand.
  • How sensing and actuation as applied to environmental monitoring and decision support tools for water management (flooding, coastal pollution, material contamination etc).
  • How optimising flexible car routing and scheduling (ridesharing) and other demand-responsive transport initiatives can reduce congestion.
  • How AI can be used to manage and optimise smart energy grids, predict and exploit sustainable energy sources such wind energy.
  • How we can make decisions at internet scale to manage data centres in an energy-efficient manner.
  • Apply optimisation and decision making to very large-scale, ubiquitous and complex data sets (big-data) in addressing large-scale societal issues such as public health, transportation, agriculture, decarbonisation  and other environmental issues.



Speaker Bios (TBF)

Kathriona Devereux

Kathriona Devereux is an award winning TV broadcaster with 15 years experience making a range of factual programming, particularly science programming, for RTE and TV3. She presents the RTE science series "10 Things To Know About" and has previously presented "My Money and Me", "The Consumer Show" and "The Science Squad". She has produced many IFTA-nominated documentaries including ‘A Parting Gift’.

Anita Maguire

Anita Maguire is currently Vice President for Research & Innovation at University College Cork. She was elected as a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2014. She was an Adjunct Professor in the University of Bergen, 2011-16. In 2004 Anita was appointed as the first holder of the Chair of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at UCC, playing a leading role in the development of the School of Pharmacy. Anita leads a research team focusing on synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry, which interacts extensively with the pharmaceutical sector in Ireland and internationally. She is a Co-PI in the SSPC research centre funded by SFI. She is actively engaged nationally in strategic policy development in Research and Innovation, especially in relation to the industry-academic interface, and PhD education, including as a member of the Advisory Science Council and the Irish Research Council, and chairing the Advisory Science Council Task Force on The Role of PhDs in the Smart Economy. She is a member of the Boards of Tyndall National Institute, Insight, APC, Infant, IPIC, Amber, MaREI, Confirm, Curam, CRDI, SSPC, iCRAG, NIBRT. She is the inaugural Chair of the National Forum on Research Integrity and is currently a member of the Royal Irish Academy Council.


Barry O’Sullivan

Professor Barry O'Sullivan is an award-winning academic working in the fields of artificial intelligence, constraint programming, operations research, ethics, and public policy for AI and data analytics. He is the founding Director of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at UCC, and a Principal Investigator at the Confirm Centre for Smart Manufacturing. He is an Adjunct Professor at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Professor O'Sullivan is a Fellow and President of the European Artificial Intelligence Association (EurAI) and is vice chair of the European Commission High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence. He is an advisor to the Computational Sustainability Network, a network of 13 universities in the USA, led by Cornell University and involving Princeton, Stanford, CMU, Georgia Tech, and many others. He is a recipient of the UCC Leadership Award, the Association for Constraint Programming Distinguished Service Award, Science Foundation Ireland Researcher of the Year Award, and UCC Researcher of the Year Award. He was elected member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2017, Ireland’s highest academic accolade. He has written over 250 peer-reviewed papers and been involved in raising more than €250 million in research funding.


Andrew Parnell

Andrew Parnell is Hamilton Professor in the Hamilton Institute at Maynooth University. His research is in statistics and machine learning for large structured data sets in a variety of application areas. He has co-authored over 50 peer-reviewed papers in applied journals such as Science, Nature Communications, and Plos ONE, and has methodological publications in journals such as Statistics and Computing, The Annals of Applied Statistics, and Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series C. He has been awarded over €1 million to date in direct funding. He has been heavily involved in the commercialisation of research through the start-up companies Prolego Scientific (CSO) and Atturos (Scientific Advisor). He is currently a funded investigator in three different SFI centres: The Insight Centre for Data Analytics, The I-Form Advanced Manufacturing Centre, and The VistaMilk Centre for Precision Pasture-based Dairy.  His current list of application areas includes: Climatology, iManufacturing, Bioinformatics, including prostate cancer identification, Learning analytics for monitoring student progress and engagement, Quantitative ecology, Radiocarbon dating and chronology modelling for archaeological and palynological applications


Susan Steele

Dr. Susan Steele (PhD, MBA, MEd, BSc) joined the Board of the SFPA in March 2013. Dr. Steele works with the senior management team providing through a combination of leadership, commitment and clear direction excellence in the SFPA while ensuring employees of the SFPA, as respected professionals with a diverse range of skills and experience, continue to protect our marine resources.  Dr. Steele focuses on strategic direction for the SFPA. Dr. Steele comes from Castletownbere and decided at the age of 3 to become a marine biologist. The sea has been her passion since then. She has worked in both academic and private and public sector appointments. Her last appointment involved developing BIM’s Seafood Development Centre as Head of Innovation. Dr. Steele holds a Phd in Zoology from UCC as well as a BSc in Marine Biology from the University of Wales.  She holds a Harvard executive certificate in public leadership 2018 Business and executive coach. Dr steele is a Member of institute of directors, she is a Board member health research board and she is a Member of strategic advisory board UCC.


Margaret McCaul

Margaret studied analytical chemistry at the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) (BSc). She subsequently joined industry for 6 years working in the area of analytical chemistry focusing on the areas of forensic science and environmental analysis. Margaret returned to academia and graduated with a PhD in analytical geochemistry from Dublin City University (DCU) in 2012. Since receiving her PhD she has held postdoctoral positions in analytical chemistry and science education. Margaret’s current position as a Research Fellow and Team Leader in the Adaptive Sensors Group focuses on the development of fully autonomous sensing devices for health and environmental applications.


Patrick Calnan

Patrick Calnan works for Brookfield Renewable one of the largest pure play renewable energy firms in the world. Brookfield have over 17,000MW of installed capacity globally with over 500MW in Europe. Patrick manages Product Development and Risk for the UK and Ireland business. This involves working on routes to market for renewable power and maximizing returns for the assets. He set up the Analytics function for the business to process large amounts of data covering commodities, macroeconomics, weather systems and energy markets where increased automation will be a key driver of success for renewables. He has over a decades experience in the energy sector working in Project Management, Trading, Risk and Analytics across renewables, thermal and retail businesses. For more information, please visit


Edward Curry

Edward Curry is a research leader at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics ( and a funded investigator at LERO The Irish Software Research Centre ( His research projects include studies of smart cities, energy intelligence, semantic information management, event-based systems, stream processing and human-in-the-loop. Edward has worked extensively with industry and government advising on the adoption patterns, practicalities, and benefits of new technologies. Edward has published over 130 scientific articles in journals, books, and international conferences. He has presented at numerous events and has given invited talks at Berkeley, Stanford, and MIT. He is Vice President of the Big Data Value Association ( a non-profit industry-led organisation with the objective of increasing the competitiveness of European Companies with data-driven innovation. Edward is a member of the scientific leadership committee of Insight, and a Lecturer in Informatics at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG).


Martin Serrano

Dr. Martin Serrano is a Data Scientist at Insight Centre for Data Analytics and head of the Internet of Things, Stream Processing and Intelligent Systems Research Unit (UIoT). He holds a M.Sc. and a Ph.D. from the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC Tech), Spain and before joining academia, he worked in industry as Senior Engineer Supervisor at KME/National Panasonic in Tamana-Taimei, prefecture of Kumamoto in Japan. Dr. Serrano research activity focuses on Linked Data, Data Graphs, Semantic Web and their application in IoT/M2M and Smart Cities and currently he leads two research labs, one in Sensor Technology and the second one in Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Engineering Systems (AIRES Research Lab). Dr. Serrano's research interest are the convergence of software systems, the semantic web and the Internet, heavily focused now on the convergence and evolution of Sensor Network Technologies, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Systems.


Alan Holland

Dr. Alan Holland holds a PhD in Computer Science (UCC, 2005) and his research focus was on the intersection between Economics and Computer Science. After seven years in a post-doc and research role he left UCC to found Keelvar in 2012. Keelvar specializes in advanced sourcing software for large enterprises and Alan is the CEO. Over €50bn in spend is optimized annually using Keelvar's software and customers include global giants such as Siemens, Daimler, BMW, Coca-Cola and Associated British Foods.

Ken Brown

Ken Brown is a Professor in the School of Computer Science in University College Cork. He leads the Optimisation and Decision Analytics strand of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, and is a member of the steering committee for Enable, the inter-centre spoke project on connecting communities with smart urban environments through the Internet of Things. He is the UCC PI of the EU projects SCOTT (Secure connected trustable things) and Logistar (predicting disruption in logistics networks). His research is focused on applications of artificial intelligence, decision making and analytics, with applications in mobility, sustainability and networking. He has published over 140 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers. In 2011 he was awarded, with colleagues, the Enterprise Ireland Life Science Commercialisation of the Year award for work in decision support for geriatric prescribing.



Kostas Kouramas

Kostas Kouramas is the Group Leader for Control and Decision Support in United Technologies Research Centre (Ireland) Ltd. He holds a Diploma in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Patras, Greece (1997) and he received his MSc/DIC (1998) and PhD in Electrical Engineering and Control Systems from Imperial College London (2003). He has over 11 years of experience in scientific and research environments, leading research capabilities in the areas of control and optimization, data-analytics and machine learning with a particular focus on applications on the energy, security and aerospace domain. In his role, he is responsible for managing and developing expertise and attracting key talent in these areas, while driving interactions with key academic institutions in Europe. He has authored and co-authored more than 40 publications in international journals, conference proceedings and book chapters on control system theory, system identification and applications, and holds 3 patents and patent applications on energy management and HVAC controls.


Event location: 
Deane Woodward Suite, Kingsley Hotel, Cork
Monday, 10 December, 2018