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Red Hat are the world's largest open source software company. Senior Engineers at Red Hat - Brendan O'Farrell and Leigh Griffin - joined SETU lecturers Rob O'Connor and Amanda Freeman-Gater to chat about Red Hat Academy, an online portal that provides free resources for students of computer science. They discussed the kind of material you can find there and why students might be interested in this. There's a lot of conversation about Linux in here, but it's not confined to CentOS or Red Hat Enterprise Linux. They also talked about the characteristics that they look for when hiring graduates and their thoughts on learning as a life-long activity (not something that ends when you complete your degree). You can learn more about Red Hat at You'll find general company info there, as well as details on the Red Hat Academy. You can follow The Machine podcast on Twitter @machine_podcast. Staff profiles for Rob O'Connor and Amanda Freeman-Gater can be found on
3D Printing and AMASE

3D Printing and AMASE


Two colleagues at SETU from the School of Engineering, David Alarco and Natalie Romanyatova, joined Rob in the podcast studio to discuss additive manufacturing (3D printing), how it dovetails with computing and how it's changing the way "stuff" is made. They have a new course starting bout it too. More information about Additive Manufacturing Advancing the South East (AMASE) can be found at This is the last episode of The Machine for the season. We'll be back in the new academic year with more interesting chats about technology. Enjoy your summer holidays!
Can we detect an excess of carbon in a field using equipment that already in place? Rob spoke with SETU academic Bernard Butler and his graduate student Thakshilla Wedage about their work in VistaMilk and using the physical properties of wireless signals to predict atmospheric conditions in a farming context. The speed of the terahertz signals they use are hampered by our wet, dense atmosphere - but they may allow wireless communications 100-times faster than current speeds on a dry environment, such as Mars. They talked about their next phase of their work which is looking at employing these technologies to facilitate high-bandwidth, low-latency communications off-world. To quote a famous space traveller - Fascinating!  More information about the VistaMilk project and the people involved can be found at
What place does religion have in video games? Why should developers be concerned with religion, theology or morality when creating games? Frank Bosman is a Dutch academic with Tilberg University who spoke with Rob about some of the larger ideas contained in video games and how they add depth to the gaming experience.  Frank's book "Gaming and the Divine: A New Systematic Theology of Video Games" is published by Routledge Press. He can found on Twitter @frankgbosman. Stay up to date with the latest from the podcast @machine_podcast
A rerun of an episode we published a few years back - Rob sat down with some final year students who'd just completed their undergraduate degree. He asked them to reflect on their time studying in Waterford, highlight the areas of computing they liked most/least and also offer advice to their 1st year-selves. The students in the room were Ciaran Malone (Games Development), Dimitri Saradakis (Applied Computing) and Erinn Whitty (Internet of Things).
StudyAtHome is a collection of eLearning courses approved by Universities across Europe where students can pick up extra credits in a variety of specialist computing courses, such as Data Ethics and Open Data, The Connected Car and Assistive Technologies Basics. Rob discussed the initiative with two of the computing academics involved: Brendan Jackman from SETU Waterford and Martin Deihnhofer from FH Technikum Wien (Vienna).  Details on StudyAtHome can be found at
To kick off a short season at the end of the academic year, Eamonn Deleastar and Siobhan Drohan joined Rob O'Connor in the studio to discuss issues around learning your second (or third!) programming language. They touched on the the programming language family tree, how tools and tech have changed over the years and identified some programming trends to watch out for in the coming few years. 
A documentary tracing the 50+ years history of Waterford Institute of Technology, from its initial creation as Waterford Regional technical College in 1970, through to its re-designation as the South East Technological University in 2022. The documentary features a number of voices including: Caroline Corcoran; Willie Donnelly; Ray Griffin Sr & Ray Griffin Jr; Mary Lacey; Venie Martin; Denis Moran; Marie Morrissey (RIP); Anne Phelan; Jim Phelan; Tony Whelan; Liz White. It also contains some music performed by Joe Phelan and Dave’s List.
It's not a new episode, but Rob gives an update as to where The Machine podcast current stands (HINT - will be back soon!) and also reposts an episode of their new podcast 9plus which was recorded for International Womens Day 2022. If you like what you hear, you can find 9plus wherever you normally get your podcasts
Automotive Computing

Automotive Computing


Continuing our series looking at sub-disciplines of computer science, in this episode we're discussing Automotive Computing (yes, the computers that run cars!) On the panel are Brendan Jackman, head of the Automotive Control Group research unit at Waterford Institute of Technology. Also on the panel is Applied Computing graduate David Evans, now working as a Connected Vehicle R&D Engineer with AppPlus IDIADA in Cambridge, UK. David would have taken the Automotive & Automation stream option on Applied during his studies. They discuss how cars have changed over the past 20 years, the type of devices used inside them to control aspects such as anti-lock braking, climate control and other safety systems. More information on the Automotive Control Group can be found at 
Mícheál Ó'Foghlú is a former computing faculty member at WIT, one of the founders of the TSSG research group (now Walton) and instrumental in the spin-out of FeedHenry and its evolution into Red Hat. Mícheál's current role is that of Engineering Director at Google Core Developer unit based in Munich, Germany. He spoke with Rob about his career to date, musing on technology and how it can be a force for good in the world. They also chatted about Mícheál's advice for newcomers to the industry (and he made some media recommendations also!) - Mícheál's personal website - - The Hitchiker's Guide To The Galaxy (BBC Radio Drama) - - The Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond (Goodreads -
The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things


Continuing our explorations of sub-topics of Computer Science, WIT lecturer Frank Walsh and student Dominik Wawak joined Rob O'Connor in the studio to discuss the Internet of Things. The discussed some samples projects, the technologies involved, how it all fits together and where it might be going. There is also a conversation about beer - as Frank used a homemade IoT setup to help him brew his own!
In the first episode of the new season of the podcast, the panel have a chat about cloud computing, what's involved, some of the big techs to watch out for and what you might need to know if this is an area you'd like to specialise in. They also theorise as to the causes of the major fault on Facebook's services which resulted in Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Oculus Rift being unavailable for a significant period the previous week. The panel is made up of WIT computing lecturers Richard Frisby and Lucy White, alongside service delivery engineer at Red Hat Ciaran Roche and podcast host Rob O'Connor.  If you need a primer on how the internet works, please check out one of our earlier podcasts.
An unexpected episode for the academic year 2020/21. What does 3rd Level need to know about Leaving Cert Computer Science? This podcast is an edited live recording from the ACM SIGCSE Eire’s annual meeting (held on Zoom). The panel is comprised of Keith Quille (TU Dublin), Brett Becker (UCD), Siobhan Drohan (WIT) and is chaired by Machine host Rob O’Connor. Towards the end of the panel chat, there’s contributions from audience members. Thanks for listening this year and we’ll be back in September!
Rob chats with Brett Becker, one of the co-authors of the Computer Science for Leaving Cert book. They talk about computing as a 2nd level school subject, why certain topics were emphasised and technologies chosen, as well as potential impacts for 3rd level and beyond. They also speak about the Irish branch of the ACM’s Computer Science Education special interest group and finally, engage in a brief rant about computer programming error messages. Brett is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at UCD and you can discover more about his work at Details on the SIGCSE Eire chapter are available at The book 'Computer Science for Leaving Certificate' is published by Golden Key.
A different episode to our normal programming. 'Gianluca Wants a Record Player' is a documentary that follows an Applied Computing student's quest to get into vinyl music. What is so appealing about vinyl? Who’s listening to the format? Does it really sound better than music streaming services like Spotify? What gear should Gianluca buy? Should he even make a purchase at all? This piece was originally broadcast on Beat 102-103 on 4th April 2021 (Easter Sunday)
Final Year Projects are one of the most exciting (and daunting!) parts of an undergraduate degree. WIT have a close relationship with Sun Life, a multinational company with a strong presence in Waterford and who also sponsor a number of awards for final year computing students. To talk about all of this on the podcast, we had Lucy White computing lecturer at WIT, Shane Corbett of Sun Life and Jonathan Gillespie, a recent graduate from WIT and winner of a Sun Life Award.
VR/AR and MR are acronyms that are becoming increasingly prevalent in the tech world. We delved into what that means from a tech and business perspective in this episode, with contributions from three individuals working in TSSG/Walton: Carol Faughnan, Ryan McCloskey and Anujah Pathak. If you're looking for a starting point in the world of Mixed Reality, this is it. Show Notes: - What is Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality - Mixed Reality Lab available to companies in the South East - Smart garments and what they are used for
In March of 2021, the TSSG ( will rebrand as The Walton Institute. Rob spoke with co-directors Sasi Balasubramaniam and Kevin Doolin about the change is taking place, the shift in focus of ICT (Information & Communication Technology) research over the past 20 years and what this means for the South East region as a whole. The conversation touches on cross discipline research subjects such as agri-tech, neurological modelling and artificial intelligence, we well as working with SMEs in the region. Up until now, the TSSG has been one of the most successful research groups in Europe. This podcast should give you an insight as to how it's all put together and where they plan to go in the future.
Despite the ongoing COVID situation, work placements and internships are still going ahead in the tech industry. Rob spoke with three stakeholders to get different perspectives on how things have been proceeding. James Richardson is a final year computing student at WIT who completed his placement with Red Hat ( year, during the first phases of the pandemic. David Ryan of TSSG ( gave the employer’s perspective on interns are managed and mentored, during COVID times and normal times. Finally Tracy Murphy, the work placement manager in the Dept. Of Computing & Mathematics at WIT ( was on hand to provide the academic viewpoint and “bigger picture” view. James kept an insightful blog about his journey from serving in the US Navy to studying in WIT, to interning in Red Hat here which you can read here ->
Comments (1)


good podcast!

Jul 15th
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