Research Interests

I am currently a post-doctoral researcher in the Natural Computing Research and Applications Group (NCRA: in UCD.

My main interests lie in examining computational musical creativity, predominantly with evolutionary computational methods. Using Grammatical Evolution I have created a number of variations of an evolutionary music generative systems which I have (at least personally) termed the ‘Composing Pony’ with varying fitness functions. This is written in Python using the PonyGE implementation of GE and standard python midi libraries. These systems create short MIDI melodies with no a priori key or time signature and with minimal input from the user. A selection of these melodies created by this system can be found here. Details of these systems can be found in the relevant papers, most of which are available though my ResearchGate page.

In addition to creating generative systems, I’m particularly interested in means of evaluating autonomous creative systems other than by comparison to human capabilities or preferences. With the ever increasing power of computers and AI systems it seems naive to merely judge outputs on what we like. Why is it that we are convinced that what we currently ‘like’ is the pinnacle of taste and creativity that all future computative systems should aspire to? What would a system learn to like if we did not tell it what to like? Such questions may seem far-fetched and unanswerable at the moment – but I believe it is the unanswerable questions that we should keep asking.

For any interested in the specifics here is a pdf of my current LoughranCV2016.


In 2016 I successfully applied for two research grants to host a one-day music technology workshop entitled MusTWork16 in UCD:

R15723: Science Foundation Ireland Conference & Workshop Grant for ‘Music Technology Workshop 2016 (MusTWork16): Establishing a Partnership Between Music Technology, Business Analytics and Industry in Ireland’. Awarded February 2016.

SF1332: UCD Seed Funding Award for ‘Music Technology Workshop 2016’. Awarded February 2016.




Computational Modelling for Business                                                    Spring 2016

In Spring 2016 I co-delivered the module ‘Computational Modelling for Business’. This involved teaching Python to third year business studies students.


Previous teaching duties included:

Dundalk Institute of Technology                                               Feb 2010 – June 2010

Substitute Lecturer – Music

I was a substitute lecturer on a part-time basis in the subjects of Elements of Composition, Recording Techniques and Technology in Music Education to Undergraduate students at Dundalk Institute of Technology. I started mid-way through the semester at short notice to prepare and present classes. I set and corrected the end of semester examinations and participated within the school in departmental meetings.


University of Limerick                                                                 Jan 2007 – Dec 2008

Lecturer/Teaching Assistant – Music/Music Technology

While completing my PhD at the University of Limerick I undertook a number of teaching positions:

  • Teaching Assistant in Digital Media for Undergraduate students in Autumn 2008.
  • Lecturer in Music Theory to both Masters and Undergraduate students in Autumn 2007.
  • Teaching Assistant for Digital Signal Processing for both Masters and Undergraduate students in Spring 2007.

In addition to scheduled classes I tutored individual students through the IT Learning Centre in UL.


Support Material

This is the Appendix for my submitted ICCC2017 paper: ccappendix2