€1m artificial intelligence research lab for Athlone

Athlone Institute of Technology has partnered with global market research player NPD to launch a €1m research lab focused on AI that will generate 10 new jobs.

The Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) lab will develop, test and optimise artificial intelligence (AI) strategies for real-time market analysis, is being established in partnership with The NPD Group.

The NPD Group, which is headquartered in Long Island, New York, opened its global IT and operations centre in Athlone in 2010.

“The results of our collaboration have shown just how productive such a collaboration can be”

“Our close working relationship with The NPD Group has given us a practical insight into the kinds of technical challenges faced by multinational market analysis companies,” explained Dr Enda Fallon, who heads the Department of Computer and Software Engineering at Athlone Institute of Technology.

According to Dr Fallon, who is also the founder of the Software Research Institute at Athlone Institute of Technology, such collaborations create “rich opportunities” for undergraduate and postgraduate students.

The formation of the research lab exemplifies how close collaboration between the academic institution and industry can create both commercial and academic benefit, the former Ericsson software engineer adds.

Deep talent pool

Dermot Ainsworth, the general manager of The NPD Group, Athlone, credits the “deep talent pool of well-educated and multilingual people” as a key influencing factor in the decision to relocate.

“The presence of Athlone Institute of Technology was a major factor in our decision to locate in Athlone in 2010,” he explains. “The results of our collaboration have shown just how productive such a collaboration can be.”

The NPD Group, which operates in 26 countries and is a leading provider of consumer and retail market research solutions globally, has already undertaken a series of projects in artificial intelligence and data analytics.

Welcoming the formation of the ICT research lab, Dr Sean Lyons, Dean of Faculty of Engineering and Informatics at Athlone Institute of Technology, said: “We have a demonstrated track record of engagement with industry and this collaboration serves to further illustrate what can be achieved through our close links with local companies.”

The ICT technology lab is expected to employ 10 staff and PhD students.

Pictured above: NPD Group senior management meet AIT President Ciarán Ó Catháin

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 19 May, 2020