Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ada Lovelace Day: Professor Jane Grimson and Federated Healthcare Records

Today is Ada Lovelace Day, a day to blog about female computer scientists we admire. Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace (10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852) is credited with authoring the first computer algorithm (which concerned a method for calculating a sequence of Bernoulli numbers) in 1843 for use on Charles Babbage's early mechanical general-purpose computer, the analytical engine.

This year I'm going to write a posting on Professor Jane Grimson, the Dean of Engineering and Systems Sciences at Trinity College, Dublin as well as Associate Professor and Co-Chair for Health Informatics at Trinity.

Professor Grimson was the first female graduate in Engineering from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1970. She did an MSc in Computer Science at the University of Toronto before doing a PhD at the University of Edinburgh.

She was Project Manager of the Synapses Project funded by the EU Telematics Applications for Health Programme and am involved in the follow-on project, SynEx . Under the Synapses project she helped developed a Federated Healthcare Records Server which allowed client applications to request healthcare records (or parts of records) and related medical data about individual patients irrespective of where that source data is stored.

Another major project she worked on is Medilink, an interdisplinary, inter-institutional research programme in Health Informatics funded by the Irish Department of Education and Science under the Higher Education Authority's Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions.

She was awarded the O'Moore Medal for significant contributions to Healthcare Informatics in 2007 in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the development of healthcare informatics within Ireland and throughout the world.

Her current research is in the area of Health Informatics, specifically Electronic Healthcare Records and system integration. Other areas of interest for her include Federated Database Systems, Decision Support and multi-media user interfaces. She is the co-founder of the inter-displinary Centre for Health Informatics, which she is currently Director.

I was blessed to have her as my databases lecturer in the final year of my degree in Computer Science - she is a fantastic lecturer, a gifted communicator, and  presented a wonderfully cohesive and thoughtful course on databases. She has been a significant inspiration for my own career as a lecturer and researcher.

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