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Ireland Showcases its Data Science Talent
September 23, 2016

Amidst the backdrop of some of Ireland’s greatest sporting moments and looking out over the rooftops on a beautiful sunny day at the construction cranes rebuilding a resurgent Irish economy the inaugural Data Science Awards took place this Thursday amidst a celebratory atmosphere at the Aviva stadium. The expectant crowd were greeted with upbeat music from the resident DJ, Rubik’s cubes at each table to appease the inner nerd as well as cocktail stations and photo booths dotted around to keep the early attendees both entertained and networking.

The awards ceremony was all about the growing awareness from both the business community and academia as to how Ireland is uniquely placed on the global landscape of data science capabilities and this is reflected in the founders of the event, CeADAR and Next Generation. Here we have the marriage of academia and business with the vision and dream of showcasing what Ireland’s massive pool of data science talent brings to the table and the day didn’t disappoint.

The awards themselves were broken down into several categories. They were Student of the year, best academic research, Start-up of the year, Company of the year, Indigenous Company of the year and finally Data scientist of the year. Each category was populated by the best and brightest of Irish talent and it was a tough decision in each category to decide on the eventual winner.

Breaking up the tension and excitement of the day was the compere Paul Hayes from Beachhut PR. A man who has mentored over 150 start-ups, a leading light in the Irish tech ecosystem and an accomplished innovator Paul lit up the room with his unique brand of humour and insight. Each and every person was instantly at ease as soon as he began his opening few sentences and a finer host would be hard to find. As well as delivering the backdrop to each award he chaired a panel discussion on emerging AI technology, with humble aplomb, and introduced the keynote speaker of the night, Noel Garry, from IBM.

The day began with an air of anticipation for the finalists and ended with massive congratulations for each winner of the different categories but the real winner on the night is undoubtedly the Irish data science community themselves. With heads held high and assuredly promoting its own self confidence Ireland has stepped out of the shadows of the data science world and stands proudly amongst the leaders and trend setters in this ever growing and important tech revolution space.

Niall Wynne

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