RIA Gold Medal for School of Computing's Prof. Alan Smeaton

Alan Smeaton RIA GoldDCU’s Professor Alan Smeaton and Professor Philip Lane, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland have been awarded the prestigious Gold Medal of the Royal Irish Academy.

The medals, which are sponsored by the Higher Education Authority, are awarded to individuals who have made a demonstrable and internationally recognised, outstanding scholarly contribution in their fields.  

Professor Alan F Smeaton, Director, the Insight Centre for Data Analytics and Professor of Computing at Dublin City University has been awarded the Gold Medal in the Engineering Sciences. Professor Smeaton has a world-leading research reputation in the field of multimedia information retrieval. The underlying theme of his research career is the development of technology to support human memory: how it works, why it fails, and what we can do to help when it does. His work is focused on engineering a parallel, digital memory using sensors like wearable cameras and sensors for our physiology and our activities to act as a ‘black box’ for our lives that we can query, refer to, summarise, even that we can delete things from.

Professor Smeaton is a leading contributor in the area of ‘lifelogging’ – the digital recording of our daily lives to create the ground truth basis against which our memory can refer. A particular application of this work is in recording the ‘lifelog’ of people living with memory impairments like dementia.

The medals were presented by Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General of Research and Innovation with the European Commission who said that ‘each of these awardees have demonstrated through their outstanding contributions to academia and the impact of their research the intersection of research, scholarship and ‘real world’ application. Ireland, and Europe as a whole, can be proud of such achievements’.

Announcing the awarding of the Gold Medals to Professors Lane and Smeaton, President of the Royal Irish Academy, Professor Mary Daly, said ‘the Academy Gold Medals recognise two of Ireland’s leading scholars whose work has a demonstrable social impact. The Academy, with the generous support of the Higher Education Authority, is delighted to honour both outstanding recipients’.

Professor Philip R Lane, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland and Whately Professor of Political Economy, Trinity College Dublin (on leave) was also awarded the Gold Medal in the Social Sciences. Professor Lane is universally acknowledged as one of the leading thinkers in the quantitative analysis of the spectacular growth in international financial trade which has reshaped the world economy and been at the centre of the global financial crisis. He has made major academic contributions in three key areas: measuring financial globalisation; understanding cyclical behaviour of fiscal policy; and interpreting the macro-financial dynamics of European monetary integration.

His work (with Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti) on the creation of international databases has arguably transformed the debate on globalisation by providing consistent measures of foreign assets and liabilities for more than 145 countries over a forty year time horizon. His research on the dynamics of fiscal policy has contributed to the understanding of why destabilising ‘pro-cyclical’ fiscal policies are so widely prevalent, and how they can be offset by introducing independent fiscal councils and medium-term fiscal rules. His research on financial flows within the Euro Area is widely cited as a key source in understanding the macroeconomics of the Euro Area.

Royal Irish Academy Gold Medals are awarded to individuals who have made a demonstrable and internationally recognised outstanding scholarly contribution in their fields.

The medals were established in 2005 to acclaim Ireland’s foremost thinkers in the humanities, social sciences, physical and mathematical sciences, life sciences, engineering sciences and the environment and geosciences. Two medals are awarded each year. The medals are sponsored by the Higher Education Authority.