Cork student wins BT Young Scientist 2021 with ‘deepfake’ detection software

Greg Tarr, a student at Brandon Grammar School in Co Cork, has won the 2021 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) with computer software designed to detect ‘deepfake’ videos.


This advanced computer program is using artificial intelligence in order to identify ‘deepfake’ videos quicker and more accurately than most detection systems. The software has over 150,000 lines of code and has a great speed and efficiency all the while have the ability to accurately detect the fake. The tool could then potentially be deployed at scale to filter out DeepFake media making the internet a safer place.


Greg Tarr won €7,500 for his project ‘Detecting state-of-the-art deepfakes’.


Tools to identify and stop these kinds of videos are more needed than ever as the spread of misinformation is increasing rapidly. ‘Deepfakes’ are used to create a synthetic image or video to replace a face with another. It is mainly done by superimposing the face of a celebrity in an explicit image or video. The technology and tools that are used are now so sophisticated that it has become difficult for the human eye to tell whether the video is fake or not. Hence, creating software that could put a stop to this is widely applauded.


It is the fifth time that the Cork student entered the BTYSTE. Previous winners of the competition include Patrick Collison of Stripe (winner in 2005); Shane Curran, founder of Evervault data privacy company (2017), and Sarah Flannery (1999) who discovered a new way to encrypt data.


This year, the competition went on virtually due to Covid-19 restrictions. Greg is set to represent Ireland at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists in Salamanca, Spain in September 2021, if everything goes as planned.

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