Leading researchers and inventors were acknowledged for their innovative research and entrepreneurship at the Trinity Innovation Awards 2019 which took place on Thursday, December 5th. The highest accolade, the Provost Innovation Award, went to Trinity Alumni Sean Mitchell and David Moloney for their leadership in the highly competitive semiconductor industry.
In 2005 Sean Mitchell and David Moloney co-founded Movidius, a company that is transforming the future of computer vision and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to accelerate innovation for the next generation of smart and connected devices. Movidius is at the forefront of a new era of computing that enables new levels of intelligence for edge devices (cameras, drone, robots, etc.) by delivering low-power, high-performance SoC platforms in the area of computer vision.
Movidius was acquired by Intel in 2016. This acquisition brought with it algorithms tuned for deep learning inference, depth processing, navigation and mapping, and natural interactions, as well as broad expertise in embedded computer vision and machine intelligence. The Movidius Engineering team operates out of three primary locations in Ireland, Romania and North America. The Ireland team are based at the Leixlip campus and specialise in leading edge computer vision IP and hardware development.
Since its founding in 2005, Movidius has pioneered low-power embedded vision and neural network processing in edge devices. Movidius raised $100M of investment over the course of 10 years and when acquired by Intel in 2016, represented the largest M&A to date of an Irish technology company. Since then the team has expanded from 80 people to over 300.
At its AI Summit in November in San Francisco, Intel revealed its Movidius Myriad Vision Processing Unit (VPU), codenamed “Keem Bay,” for edge media, computer vision and inference applications. The company said the VPU, available the first half of 2020, incorporates “highly efficient architectural advances” and will deliver more than 10 times the inference performance of current Movidius VPUs and up to six times the power efficiency of competitor processors.
Congratulating Sean and David on the award, Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast said; “I am delighted to be presenting this award tonight to two of our leading engineering graduates Sean Mitchell and David Moloney. Both Sean and David have consistently demonstrated excellent entrepreneurial and leadership attributes throughout their careers in the globally competitive semiconductor business.
I congratulate them on not just winning tonight’s prestigious award but in their outstanding achievement in building a leading-edge technology company in Movidius which was acquired by one of our strategic industry partners, Intel, in 2016. I delighted to see that they have continued to shine at Intel, with the first major chip, the Movidius Myriad Vision Processing Unit (VPU), codenamed “Keem Bay,” being announced in San Francisco a few weeks ago. “
The Director of Trinity Research and Innovation, Leonard Hobbs added; “At this year’s event, we celebrate our colleagues whose innovative research has led to commercial success, along with our colleagues whose work has had a significant societal impact across a wide breadth of disciplines from nano science to neuro science, digital humanities to creative technologies and immunology to oncology.
We further recognise our colleagues who have demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit in founding high potential, investable companies which have achieved Campus Company status in 2019. We have added a new category this year for industry engagement.”
Sean and David were joined by ten other Innovation Award winners at the special ceremony.
Having completed a degree and masters in Electronic Engineering at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in 1990, Sean went onto to join one of Ireland’s first and most successful semiconductor companies, Silicon and Software Systems (S3), which itself had been founded by TCD Professor Maurice Whelan in the mid-1980s. He left S3 to join another pioneering Irish tech company, Parthus, in 1994 where he was VP and General Manager of the Application Processor Division. He went on to take other leadership roles at CEVA, Silansys and Frontier Silicon before co-founding Movidius with David Moloney in 2005, taking up the role as CEO.
A graduate of Electronic Engineering at DCU, David has a wealth of experience in the fast-moving semiconductor industry, including nearly a decade overseas with Infineon in Munich and for SGS-Thomson Microelectronics (STM) in Milan. In 1994, David returned to Ireland where helped build the engineering team for the first product development at mobile computer chip firm Parthus.
Following the Parthus IPO David returned to do his PhD in Trinity College in the Mechanical Engineering Department in 2003 under Dermot Geraghty where his research inspired him to co-found Movidius together with Sean Mitchell in 2005.
Movidius was acquired by Intel in November 2016. Both Sean and David have taken up leadership roles at Intel since then where they continue to drive out innovation in semiconductor chip design.
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