A Cork student has been named as the winner at this year’s BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition.
Bandon Grammar School student, Gregory Tarr was named as the overall winner of the competition for his project which was designed to detect ‘deepfake’ media.
The sixth-year student has taken home the €7,500 top prize for his project, ‘Detecting state-of-the-art deepfakes’.
The software, which is over 150,000 lines of code, made significant improvements on speed and efficiency when compared to the current best model without sacrificing its ability to accurately detect the fake media.
It utilises an artificial intelligence software program that can detect deepfake media and it could potentially help with the prevalence of such content in the online world and make the internet a safer place.
The Cork student will go on to represent Ireland at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists in Spain later this year.
The 17-year-old has entered the competition every year since he began secondary school and though he has received a number of prizes at the awards, this is his first time to be named as the overall winner at the competition.
Principal of Bandon Grammar School, Ian Coombes said that the school are “ecstatic” to see the student win.
“We’re absolutely ecstatic. It’s fantastic. He’s been there or thereabouts for so many years. He’s been very persistent and kept coming up with fresh ideas every single year, so we are absolutely delighted that he has finally won it.”
According to Mr Coombes, the student has been extremely dedicated to the project, even whilst working from home.
“He has been utterly and completely dedicated to it so we are delighted,” he said.
The 57th annual BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition Awards took place virtually this year as the ceremony was streamed live from the Mansion House.
Speaking at the event, Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD outlined the importance of science and technology today.
"It is wonderful that such events exist that give our young people a unique chance to engage with STEM, to take ownership of their own learning and to investigate solutions to the problems facing us today.
"It is the strength of our scientific community that has given us vaccines and new treatments to Covid-19 and it is through technology that we have been able continue to work and to bridge the social distance we have all been faced with.
"There is no doubt that I am looking at the scientists, technologists and engineers that will shape our future," she said.
It is the second year in a row in which a Cork pupil has been named as the winner at the BT Young Scientist of the Year Awards.
In 2020, Coláiste Choilm duo Cormac Harris and Alan O’Sullivan were named winners at the awards for their ground-breaking research on gender-bias in young schoolchildren.