He has a D.Sc. from the National University of Ireland which he received in 2013, a Ph.D. from Dublin University, a B.E. and M.Eng.Sci. from NUI Galway. He became a Fellow of ECCAI (European Coordinating Committee on Artificial Intelligence) in 2004. After completing his PhD he worked with Digital Equipment Corporation as a Software Engineer and with Hitachi Europe Ltd. as a Research Scientist. He joined Trinity College Dublin as a lecturer in 1992. After promotion to Senior Lecturer then Associate Professor at TCD he moved to University College Dublin in 2006 to take up a full Professorship in the School of Computer Science and Informatics. He is a former director of New World Commerce, now New WorldIQ, a Dublin e-commerce IT company that employed over 40 people. He is a former director of Prediction Dynamics a Dublin company specialising in software for financial trading which employed 14 people.
Dr. Cunningham has published over 180 peer-reviewed papers in the general area of applied AI, focusing on machine learning and knowledge based systems for decision support in engineering, e-commerce, finance and medicine. Over the last 10 years he has brought in over €10M in research grants, from industry, from EU funding sources and from national funding sources. He was Programme Chair for PAIS 2004, Prestigious Applications of Intelligent Systems (ECAI applications track). He is a member of the Editorial Board of Artificial Intelligence Review. He was co-chair for the European Workshop on Case-Based Reasoning in 1998 having served on the Programme Committee for that workshop in recent years. He chaired the Irish AI and Cognitive Science conference in 2003, having co-chaired that conference in 1994. Between 2002 and 2004 he served as Irish Director of ERCIM (www.ercim.org), the European consortium of national ICT research institutions.