Within the first 30 minutes of winning the BT Young Scientist competition last year, Greg Tarr had an offer from a London-based investor wanting to put money into his software project to detect deepfake media.
hat email was shortly followed by a cascade of interest from other investors and employers one offering him a pretty high six-figure sum to come and work for them as an engineer.
It might have seemed like a tough choice for the then Leaving Cert student from Bandon Grammar School in Co Cork, but it was an easy decision to turn it down once he realised he wanted to pursue his dream of becoming an entrepreneur.
Now, almost 12 months on, the 18-year-old has his own company and is a millionaire.
With the 58th BT Young Scientist competition in full swing this week, but again being held virtually for the second year in a row, Greg recalled the moment he found out about his own win.
He said his software could detect deepfake media which is usually a video of a person in which their face or body has been digitally altered so they appear to be someone else, typically used maliciously or to spread false information.
In the moments before he was crowned the winner, he was watching the proceedings with his parents on a screen in his bedroom.
I didnt expect to win at all. I was looking forward to seeing who would because I wanted to hear about what their project was, but it was me, he said.
Greg, who turns 19 this weekend, told the Irish Independent it has been a year of growth for him.
I think I grew up in a month I went from being 17 and having not paid any tax in my life and not having driven a car to owning an American company with an Irish subsidiary, having to find out about tax law and having one million in the bank in that year, he said.
He is now building AI infrastructure the motorways and bridges of the internet as CEO of his company, Inferex, with his dad, Richard Tarr, an engineer and former chief of technology at a data centre, working as head of infrastructure for his son.
Greg said they are currently looking to hire engineers and the firm will be expanding as fast as they can get talented people.
Meanwhile, this years contestants have focused on many tech and societal issues yet to be solved.
Eabha Mills (15), from Heywood Community School in Co Laois, worked with Leah Gilnagh and Madeleine Kavanagh (both 16) to see which sugars improve sports performance best.
They found pineapple gives a slow release of energy compared with the quick boost offered by Jelly Tots.
We now take pineapple at half-time in a hurling match, Eabha said.
A project by Miah OCallaghan (12), from Kinsale Community School, Co Cork, looks at encouraging the adoption of battery hens to help reduce the carbon footprint. His family have rescued 35 hens.
Frustrated with losing so many sliotars during practice, Noah Hill (14), from St Finians College, Co Westmeath, designed his project a device to help retrieve lost sliotars that his local GAA club, Clonkill, has expressed an interest in.
Aoife Duggan (13), from Sandford College, Ranelagh, Dublin, looked into human longevity and found the key to a long and healthy life lies in a joined-up approach to healthcare as well as a good diet and exercise.
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