Limerick student wins top prize in UCC Entrepreneurship Awards

Dan Murphy AxisBIC, Declan Fox AxisBIC, Sharon Coffee, Gillian O'Donnell, Timothy McGrath, Professor Gregory Provan, Dr John O'Mullane. Photo: Rubén Tapia/UCCTV.

A LIMERICK student has scooped a top prize at the University College Cork (UCC) Entrepreneurship Awards.

Gillian O’Donnell, from Adare, is a final year student of Data Science and Analytics at UCC, and took home the top prize at the UCC Computer Science Entrepreneurship Award for her project focused on defending against cybersecurity attacks.

The idea for her project came when Gillian was on her college work placement where she observed vulnerabilities to AI-driven attacks.

Speaking after her win, Gillian said that her project can employ an AI-driven model so that a system can spot a sophisticated AI cyberattack.

“As AI progresses, so does the sophistication of AI-driven cyberattacks. My project addresses the complexity of AI-driven attacks by using machine learning to model cyberattacks against a company’s network and their defence in terms of game-theoretic interactions, where we run simulations about how the attacker and defender can learn,” Mr O’Donnell said.

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“The project simulates the dynamics of cyber conflicts, allowing for the analysis of security vulnerabilities to build more robust, proactive defences.”

The UCC Computer Science Entrepreneurship Awards are sponsored by AxisBIC, with projects judged by AxisBIC’s senior consultants Dan Murphy and Declan Fox.

“Being involved in this award goes to the heart of what AxisBIC is about; identifying innovative entrepreneurs, providing support and essential business expertise to ensure they grow and succeed. The competition was very strong and we look forward to seeing more entrepreneurs emerge from UCC’s computer science students,” Mr Fox said.