In October, the Irish Computer Society marked the culmination of its 50th anniversary celebrations with a very special black-tie event at Clontarf Castle. ICS CEO, Jim Friars said, “we are very proud that this year we welcome our 10,000th member to the society and look forward to the next 50 years and the next 10,000 members as the society and IT in Ireland continues to grow.”

IT in Ireland
The Irish Computer Society formed 10 years after the first computer was introduced in Ireland. Its mission then, as now, was to advance, promote and represent the interests of ICT professionals in Ireland.

Few people in Ireland were familiar with data processing at the start of the 1960s. Computers were designed for number crunching on a scale that was seldom required by organisations in countries as small as ours. At the time computers were mainly found in scientific, military and government settings.

Yet the first organisation in Ireland to grapple with this technology was a commercial enterprise. A state-owned enterprise even. The Irish Sugar Company was a most unusual setting by the standards of this era but it purchased a computer in 1957 to calculate the annual payments made to sugar beet growers.

Highlights of the 50th anniversary celebrations
The Society’s celebrations have focused on looking towards the future and celebrating the achievements of our ever-growing industry.

The Turing Lecture brought world-renowned scientist Dr Guruduth S Banavar to Dublin to discuss the future of AI. Dr Banavar envisioned a future unlikely to be populated by the androids of sci-fi movies. Instead, artificial intelligence would work in partnership with humans and support systems will help us process data. Combined with cutting-edge research, this would help us improve healthcare for all.

In its mission to represent improve digital skills in Ireland, ICS launched the National Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition with the Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD. The initiative is part of the Skills Agenda for Europe.

“The digital economy is growing at an unprecedented level but work must continue to boost the talent pipeline so that Ireland can capitalise on opportunities. Digital skills are at the heart of the new Skills Agenda for Europe that the European Commission published in June. The Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition brings together Member States, companies, social partners, non-profit organisations and education providers who take action to tackle the lack of digital skills in Europe, so we are very proud to be involved,” said CEO Friars.

ICS was proud to host the IFIP World Conference on Computing in Education in Dublin this year. The event featured hundreds of the world’s best educational IT specialists. They came together to share their vision for the classroom of tomorrow.

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Adapted from article in