Colm Coughlan

Colm Coughlan PhD

Data Scientist and Engineer

About Me

I am a technology professional working in the cybersecurity industry in London, having previously worked in the financial sector in Dublin, Ireland. My current role is in Software Architecture, but I have recently worked as a Tech Lead, Data Engineer and Data Scientist. I have a PhD in Astrophysics from UCC and worked as a post-doctoral researcher in radio astronomy before becoming excited by the interesting work going on in data science and switching tracks. I enjoy coding and statistical analysis - but most of all I enjoy solving challenging, useful problems.

I'm interested in science and technology of all kinds. I enjoy reading (lots of sci-fi), running and spending time with friends. I've volunteered as an ambassador with DataKind Dublin - an organisation dedicated to helping people and charities through data science.



Alchemy - Credit for Causes

If you live in the US you likely have a lengthy contract associated with your mobile phone purchase. However in many countries, including Ireland, pre-pay credit is a popular (and much cheaper) way of paying for your calls and data. Many operators offer deals that give you free data/calls/text for up to a month after you top-up by a certain amount, however once that month is up your credit is quickly eaten up by their relatively high out-of-package rates. It's not uncommon to see all your remaining credit disappear a single day after you leave the package coverage - and even if you top-up right away to protect your credit, there's no point keeping unused credit on your mobile account.

There are a couple of good ways to spend this credit while you are still covered by the top-up package and get the most from your money, but if you don't need €20 worth of apps or music every month you'll quickly run out of ideas. Alchemy is an android project that will allow you to turn that money into something good - by donating it to charities via SMS services. Alchemy is currenly only available in the android app store, but stay tuned for more!

Ireland and LOFAR


In a former life I worked on very low frequency studies of YSO jets with LOFAR, the Low Frequency Array. This work involved calibrating and imaging large (>10TB) datasets and performing statistical analysis on the results. We also worked on long-baseline observations with LOFAR - an area of interest to make full use of the new Irish LOFAR station at Birr, Co. Offaly, which will be operational from late 2017 and will make a major contribtion to the international LOFAR project. Much of the work depended on getting the computational elements of reducing and analysing big datasets right using High Performance Computing facilities such as ICHEC's fionn supercomputer.


Academic research

I was a postdoctoral research fellow working in Prof. Tom Ray's star formation group at the Dublin Instiute for Advanced Studies (DIAS). My research interests focused on jets from both Young Stellar Objects and Active Galactic Nuclei, long baseline radio interferometry, radio polarimetry and scientific software development. I was part of a team which obtained the very first detection of a Young Stellar Object with the next-generation radio telescope LOFAR.

A list of my publications from is available from the NASA ADS . Many of these publications are also available on Arxiv.

I received my PhD from University College Cork in 2014 under the supervision of Prof. Denise Gabuzda. My thesis, "The development of new methods for high resolution radio astronomy imaging", is available from the UCC CORA archive.

As part of my research I wrote a lot of software for use in radio astronomy and astrophysics. All of my software is free and available at GitHub, please contact me if you have any questions about using it.

My GitHub