Dr Ahearne's research interests are motivated by the need to understand the complex fundamental mechanisms in machining of advanced engineering materials, in order to cost effectively produce surfaces of extreme precision, finish and integrity. In particular, he has undertaken research into the fundamental mechanisms in cutting, grinding and polishing, using both modelling, simulation and empirical techniques. At a fundamental level, he is interested in the tribo-chemical mechanisms involved in friction and wear in these processes. He has also pioneered the strategic approach of integration of sensor technologies into machine tools and tooling in order to improve real time monitoring of process phenomena. More recently, he has been collaborating with the UCD Insight Centre to develop advanced machine learning techniques for prediction of process performance and a longer term vision of autonomous learning and intelligent process control.