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Citi presents two Top Prizes at NCI’s Project Showcase 2024

Event Point Jade juggling datesNo more need to juggle dates with Jade's Event Point web app.

National College of Ireland’s annual Project Showcase – the end-of-year-show for computing degree final projects – saw such a strong field this year that two projects received a Gold Award presented by Citi.

Gold Awards

Mark Cummins created Epoch Explorer, an interactive learning tool that immerses users in historically authentic recreations of towns from the past. Technologies used included Polycam, GeoHive, blender, UNREAL Engine 5, Unreal Mapbox Bridge and GitHub (Mark talks about his project on Instagram, link below).

Jade Fogarty built a web application, Event Point, that doesn’t just aggregate listings from multiple venues, but allows users to share their wish list with friends, making it much easier to plan. Technologies used included netifly, node JS, express JS, circlecl, MongoDB, GitLab, React and AWS.

Dr Prag Sharma, Citi's Global Head of Artificial Intelligence Centre of Excellence, congratulated the winners and acknowledged the work of all participants:

“My background is in the work you’ve used to complete the projects I’ve seen today, and looking at what you achieved I wanted to understand, 'What approaches worked? What have they applied?’ I appreciate the amount of work involved behind the scenes, so very well done to you all. I love coming to events like this at NCI because Citi is always on the lookout for the best talent. We’re proud to sponsor Project Showcase to support the development of the next generation of innovators.”

Silver and Bronze Awards

Sean Toner, Senior ICT Support Officer, presented the Silver Award sponsored by the HSE, which was presented to Fabian Gal for his project VR-Adset, which is a Virtual Reality platform for advertisers and developers with easy-to-use assets, as he demonstrated to Vice Dean of the School of Computing, Professor Cristina Hava-Muntean.

Vice Dean of SoC Prof Cristina Muntean with Fabian Gal

Fidelity Investments sponsored the Bronze Award, which was won by Taziwa Mushayabasa who built a mobile application that allows users to scan and learn more about the plant life around them, FloralScan (Taziwa talks about his app on Instagram, link below)

Professor Gina Quin, President of National College of Ireland, said:

“NCI’s Project Showcase gives our students the very valuable opportunity to engage in one-to-one conversations with industry experts and potential employers, about the real-world application of their freshly acquired skills and deep understanding of emerging technologies, allowing them to realise the ambitions of their degree projects and pursue the ambitions of their graduate careers.”

The Ada Lovelace Award

National College of Ireland’s School of Computing presented an additional prize – the Ada Lovelace Award, named for the first computer programmer who was not celebrated in her own right until 2009. This award is presented to a project or student who missed out on the top prizes, but whose work deserves recognition.

This year, the School selected a student who successfully completed his degree in the face of great personal challenges. James McGrath won for his Unreal Engine 5 game, Impulse, a 2.5 platformer game inspired by games such as Vector and Mirror’s Edge, set in a cyberpunk themed city. Among the many academics, industry experts, family and attendees that James explained his work to was NCI's Dean of the School of Computing, Professor Paul Stynes.

Dean of NCI SoC Professor Paul Stynes with James McGrath

On behalf of the Class of 2024, Professor Stynes, thanked lecturers and support staff at NCI, who taught, guided and encouraged these students as they progressed to their final year, and recognized the interdepartmental effort – Faculty, Academic Operations, Careers, Marketing, Facilities – to make the Project Showcase event happen. He particularly thanked the awards sponsors:

“There is a unique, collaborative relationship between NCI’s Careers’ service, the employers around the College here in the IFSC and Silicon Docklands, and the School of Computing itself. This strong relationship brings together academic rigour, employability, and investment in the future of the industry, and is why we can award prizes to this year’s top projects, through the generosity of our sponsors, Citi, the HSE and Fidelity Investments.” 

A sample of other projects

Some other projects at this year’s event, that showcased projects from both BSc (Hons) Computing and BSc (Hons) Technology Management students, included:

Kian Boylan’s internship with Dell got him thinking seriously about the problem of phishing. Specialising in Cybersecurity, he built a detection tool called The Phisherman. Designed with less-tech savvy, more vulnerable people in mind, it allows the user to simply copy and paste text for immediate assessment.

VIDEO: Kian, Mark and Taziwa talked about their projects on Instagram.

Ruby Rapple Kehoe was inspired by her own transition experience to build a Voice Training App, that doesn’t just allow practice of vocal exercises with in-app feedback and progress-tracking, but also has a Journal facility to record well being, challenges and milestones. There is also a feature that allows the user to reach out to a qualified Speech Therapist for expert advice.

Ruby using her Voice Training AppVoice Training App by Ruby

Naglis Montvilas represented Ireland in the number 11 jersey in Sydney in the 2023 World Cup for Powerchair Football (Ireland is 6th in world rankings). His real-world passion for the world’s fastest-growing disability sport combined with his love of online gaming spurred him to develop a Powerchair Football Simcade game. Balancing challenge and fun, his hope is to get more people interested in Powerchair Football!

Ineta with her brother Naglis Mon

Naglis' sister Ineta testing out his Powerchair Football game.

The largest School of Computing in Ireland, NCI’s mix of innovative pedagogy and hands-on practical experience produces graduates of distinction, much sought-after by employers, and encouraged and supported by the College’s knowledge transfer and commercialization champions to start up their own enterprises.

Project Showcase 2024 VIPS and awardees

Back L-R: Professor Paul Stynes, Dean of School of Computing; Dr Prag Sharma, Global Head of AI at Citi; Professor Gina Quin, President of NCI; Seán Toner, Senior ICT Support Officer, HSE; Professor Cristina Hava-Muntean, Vice Dean; Assistant Professor Frances Sheridan, Programme Director.
Front L-R: Jade Fogarty, Citi Gold Award; James McGrath, Ada Lovelace Award; Taziwa Mushayabasha, Fidelity Investments Bronze Award; Fabian Gal, HSE Silver Award; Mark Cummins, Citi Gold Award. All photographs by Keith Jordan