You are here

Insight and SAP's four year collaboration a huge success

In September 2014, Insight began one of our first targeted projects with a large multinational company in Ireland, SAP.  The project’s aim was to stress SAP’s main memory database technology, HANA, in ways which it had not been stressed before and to allow SAP to learn about HANA’s limitations when used in new application areas. 

The project is unique among Insight’s work with industry partners in that it involves Investigators and researchers from all four of Insight’s co-lead Universities. Led by Founding Director Alan Smeaton from DCU, the project also involved Insight Investigators John Breslin from NUI Galway, Gregory Provan from UCC and Claire Gormley and Adrian O’Hagan from UCD.

Pictured left are Tomás Ward (Insight@DCU), Alan McShane (SAP), Claire Gormley (Insight@UCD), Declan Kearney (SAP), Alan Smeaton (Insight@DCU), Ronan O’Connell (SAP) and Deirdre McCabe (Insight@DCU) at the close-out meeting for the SAP-Insight project.

Over the four-year project, nine other researchers were involved in a range of projects including two PhD students who graduate in November 2018, one more PhD student who is in his final year of study, two graduated research Masters students and three postdoctoral researchers.  All except one are now continuing to work in Ireland. 

The four main projects carried out were varied and included mining students’ digital footprints to identify peer influences on academic outcomes, an investigation into personalised recommender systems, a machine learning approach to energy price forecasting and a statistical modeling approach to clustering high-dimensional data, specifically looking at genomic data.

Other shorter projects include investigating using HANA for streaming analytics from wearable sensors, and analysing blockchain using HANA and dynamic decision-making for epidemic forecasting.

The project has led to 24 research publications with more in the pipeline, and a number of awards including first place in the Semantic Sentiment Analysis Challenge at the ESWC conference in 2018 and the most innovative idea award at the Blackstone Launchpad UCC Student Entrepreneurship event in 2018. 

In addition to the funding to support PhD students at DCU, NUI Galway, UCC and UCD and their respective projects, SAP also provided access to the HANA database as well as training and support over the 4 years for the researchers. During the Summer periods when SAP have a large influx of intern students at their labs, Insight presented a regular series of seminar presentations at SAP to bring information on state of the art data analytics techniques to those SAP interns. Insight researchers also gave presentations at other SAP events such as the major devX event in Citywest Hotel.

Ronan O'Connell, Senior Director of SAP Advanced Analytics said, “Insight has been fantastic for SAP!  The initiative has strengthened our relationships with the four universities, integrated the latest SAP technologies further into third-level academia, all the while enabling smart people to look at our tech from new perspectives. I would call that a win-win-win. Added to these accomplishments, SAP has grown our partnership with Professor Alan Smeaton, who is so well regarded within the company from prior engagements. Now, at the completion of our own project, I offer huge congratulations to Alan, the Insight investigators, the University researchers and, of course, the superb students. Thank you all for your wonderful work!"