ERCIM News No.42 - July 2000 [contents]

ERCIM welcomes Trinity College

by Jane Grimson, Pádraig Cunningham and Carol O’Sullivan

During the ERCIM spring meetings in Pisa from 29-31 May, Trinity College signed a scientific agreement with ERCIM, becoming ERCIM’s 15th member. Trinity College, represented through its Computer Science Department will be ERCIM’s gateway to the Irish Information Technology research community.

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) was founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592 as the first and only constituent College of the University of Dublin. The College occupies a 42 acre site right in the heart of Dublin. It was not until the 18th century that the university began to acquire the broad shape that it has today with its famous Georgian architecture and cobbled Front Square dominated by the Campanile. The College is famous for its magnificent Library which houses the Book of Kells, an 8th century illuminated manuscript.

Trinity’s famous alumni include literary figures such as Jonathan Swift, Oliver Goldsmith, Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett, philosopher George Berkeley, historian William Lecky, mathematician William Rowan Hamilton, medical pioneers William Stokes and Denis Burkitt, physicist George Francis FitzGerald and Nobel prize-winner Ernest Walton.

Today the College is divided into 6 Faculties covering virtually all of the arts and sciences. Membership of ERCIM is being led by the Department of Computer Science, which belongs to the Engineering School within the Faculty of Engineering and Systems Sciences. Founded in 1842, Trinity’s Engineering School was one of the first in Ireland and the UK. It started by offering degrees in Civil Engineering, followed by Mechanical and then Electrical Engineering. The School acquired its first computer – an IBM1620 – in 1963.

The Department of Computer Science was established in 1969 and has grown and prospered under the leadership of Professor John Byrne since the start. The Department is by far the largest academic department in the College with over 50 academic staff, 100 researchers/ postgraduate students, and 18 technical and support staff. Research income amounts to approximately 2 million Euros per annum, of which approximately 60% currently comes from EU framework programmes.

The Department is deeply committed to research with groups spanning virtually all areas of computing from formal methods to applied information systems and computer architecture. Members of the Department publish widely in International Journals and Conference Proceedings and have received many awards for their research. The Department also publishes a Technical Report series, which is available on the Web.

The Department has a long record of participation in EU funded research programmes going back to the first framework programme in the early 1980’s. Over the years it has developed close links with industry, both nationally and internationally. The Department is strongly committed to technology transfer and commercial exploitation of its research. Over its 31 year history, the Department has spun-off a number of companies of which the most well-known is Iona Technologies (, founded by Chris Horn and Sean Baker, both graduates of and lecturers in the Department, together with Annraí O’Toole, one of their Research Assistants and also a graduate. Iona is one of a growing number of internationally successful Irish software companies. Other spin-offs include Ireland’s first Internet Service Provider, IEUnet, now EsatNet, X-Communications in multimedia technology (, MVT in machine vision, and most recently which develops software tools for the computer games industry (

While Trinity College, through the Department of Computer Science, will be the member of ERCIM from Ireland, it is the intention to involve researchers from other Irish universities in the activities of ERCIM, particularly in the various working groups. TCD will act as a gateway to the computing research community in Ireland. The Department has worked on a number of projects with other members of ERCIM and looks forward to strengthening and extending these collaborations.


Please contact:
Pádraig Cunningham - Trinity College
Tel: +353 1 6081765