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It’s the tooling, not the terabytes

With all the hype about big data it’s sometimes hard to realise that it’s about more than just data. In fact, it’s real interest doesn’t come from big-ness at all.

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Being a student with open courseware

The move towards massively open on-line courseware (MOOCs) has the potential fundamentally to change the practice and experience of university. But what does it feel like to study on a MOOC-delivered course?

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Chief scientific advisor for Ireland

I’m a little perplexed by the direction of the current discussion over Ireland’s chief scientific advisor.

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Response to Science Foundation Ireland’s consultation on its strategic plan

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) recently launched its strategic plan for the coming years. This is my contribution to the consultation process.

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The shifting balance of university power

The shifts in economic power are being mirrored in the university sector, both in education and research. It’s happened before.

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Hiring academics

Hiring anyone is always a risk, and hiring a new academic especially so given the nature of our contracts. So what’s the best way to approach it?

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Who invented meringue?

What the invention of complicated foods tells us about discovery, innovation, and university research funding.

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The (new) idea of a (21st century) university

What should the university of the 21st century look like? What are we preparing our students for, and how? And how should we decide what is the appropriate vision for modern universities?

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The computer is the new microscope

What contributions can computer scientists uniquely make to the latest scientific challenges? The answer may require us to step back and look at how instruments affect science, because the computer is the key instrument for the scientific future.

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Five big questions

If you try to do everything, you always end up doing nothing. Which is why Gray’s laws suggest searching for the twenty “big questions” in a field and then focusing-in the first five as the ones that’ll generate the biggest return on the effort invested. So what are the five biggest open issues in programming for sensorised systems?

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