eamonn award
March 13, 2024

UCR computer scientist honored by Ireland’s head of state

Eamonn Keogh made exceptional contributions to data mining research

Author: David Danelski
March 13, 2024

Eamonn Keogh, a UC Riverside distinguished professor of computer science, has been awarded the prestigious Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal. The medal was presented to Keogh Thursday by Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s head of state, in honor of his exceptional contribution to research and innovation.

Eamonn Keogh
Eamonn Keogh

The medal is awarded annually to two distinguished U.S.-based science, engineering, or technology leaders with strong Irish connections. It recognizes their support in developing the research ecosystem in Ireland and beyond. The other recipient was John Hartnett, founder and CEO of SVG Ventures Thrive, a Bay Area company that works with entrepreneurs, investors, and Fortune 500 corporations to advance innovation in food and agriculture.

At an event at Ireland's embassy in Washington D.C., Varadkar, whose title is Taoiseach (an Irish word meaning leader) congratulated the awardees, saying he was delighted to present the awards.

“This award acknowledges their outstanding success in their respective fields of Data Mining and AgriFood,” he said in a statement.

“The Irish Government is committed to supporting innovative research that will help us to respond to societal challenges, both in Ireland and globally,” said a statement from the government. “The work of Keogh and Hartnett highlights the strength and impact of the U.S.-Irish diaspora on the global research landscape. Their role in driving transformational research and innovation cannot be understated. Such work will assist in our response to addressing global challenges, particularly in the areas of climate change, health, and digitalization.”

Keogh is the Ross Family Chair in the Department of Computer Science and is one of the youngest distinguished professors in the history of UCR. Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Keogh completed studies at California State, San Marcos, and the University of California, Irvine, while working full time as a metal fabricator and auto restorer, skills he learned as an apprentice in Dublin.

Keogh is a leading expert in the field of data mining and machine learning and was the first person to apply the power of data mining to the problem of flying insect classification in agriculture. This body of work is being increasingly commercialized worldwide to prevent crop losses by insect pests.

In Riverside, he started a company called FarmSense that developed a digital monitoring system that alerts growers to crop pests so they can better manage the use of insecticides and other inputs.

Keogh also co-founded the Keogh-Yoshii Scholarship for underrepresented students in computer science and advocates strongly for education and careers in STEM through regular visits to Irish primary and secondary schools.

“I am honored to accept the 2024 SFI St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal for my work on data mining and computational entomology,” Keogh said. “I am proud to note that in recent years we have seen my work on computational entomology deployed in a dozen countries, helping to reduce food insecurity by helping to surveil and control insect pests. I am pleased to have maintained a connection with my Irish roots, collaborating with Irish colleagues regularly, and engaging with Irish primary and post-primary schools.” 


Header photo: UCR Professor Eamonn Keogh with Leo Varadkar, Ireland's prime minster.

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