Project Overview

This is a strongly interdisciplinary collaborative project, involving Informatics, Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, with an application in Medical Informatics. The project collaborators include researchers in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics in NUI Galway, the Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital Galway, as well as Prof. Stuart Russell’s group in Computer Science in the University of California at Berkeley.

In an ICU ward, computer systems constantly monitor and record data such as changes in heart rate and blood pressure. This project will develop software techniques that uses this data, and will add new mathematics and computing techniques that infer patient response to certain drugs in real-time, to predict the impact on the patient of different drug regimes. This will allow for drug treatments to be tailored to the individual. This contrasts with the current practice of basing treatments on standardised data, taken from clinical trials using healthy volunteers, who might not respond in the same way as sick patients. 

At present, small systems of first-order ordinary differential equations are conventionally used to model how drugs are distributed in the human body and affect its physiology. Drugs are considered individually and model parameters are calibrated on data from healthy volunteers.

In this project, it is proposed to develop more sophisticated nonlinear models that couple multiple drugs and physiological subsystems, along with appropriate new numerical solution techniques, and embed them in a Dynamic Bayesian Network (DBN) framework that will allow real-time temporal inference with ICU data, for principled handling of uncertain and incomplete information, drawing on current research in Artificial Intelligence.

Project Structure


  • Dr Michael Madden (Information Technology, NUI Galway)


  • Dr Niall Madden (Mathematics)
  • Dr Petri Piiroinen (Mathematical Physics)


  • Prof. John Laffey, Professor of Anaesthesia, University Hospital Galway
  • Prof. Stuart Russell, Porfessor of Computer Science, University of California at Berkeley.

Funding Agency:

  • Science Foundation Ireland: €171,000, 2008-2011.


  1. A PhD student in Informatics, supervised by Dr Michael Madden, 2008-2011.
  2. An MSc student in Mathematical Physics, supervised by Dr Petri Piirionen, 2008-2010.
  3. An MSc student in Mathematics, supervised by Dr Niall Madden, 2009-2011.
Joomla templates by a4joomla