‘Interpreting Computational Models of Interactive Software Usage’ accepted to CHI workshop on Computational Modeling in HCI

Good news from Oana Andrei, lead author on this workshop paper based on our Populations project from way back. The paper, outlining some of the formal methods developed for analysis of app usage logs, will be presented at the workshop at ACM CHI in Glasgow in a few months. Here’s the abstract:

Evaluation of how users actually interact with interactive software is challenging because users’ behaviours can be highly heterogeneous and even unexpected. Probabilistic, computational models inferred from low-level logged events offer a higher-level representation from which we can gain insight. Automatic inference of such models is key when dealing with large sets of log data, however interpreting these models requires significant human effort. We propose new temporal analytics to model and analyse logged interactions, based on learning admixture Markov models and interpreting them using probabilistic temporal logic properties and model checking. Our purpose is to discover, interpret, and communicate meaningful patterns of usage in the context of redesign. We illustrate by application to logged data from a deployed personal productivity iOS application.

I’ll add the PDF to Publications soon…

Workers by Self-Design: Digital Literacies and Women’s Changing Roles in Unstable Environments — first workshop and public event

This GCRF-funded network will soon have its first workshop, in Glasgow, and within it is a public event. 

As the public event’s EventBrite invitation page says, “The first public event of the network is scheduled for March 12th, 2019 where we invite participants to attend a series of short presentations on the topic, as well as to share their knowledge, experiences and challenges. If you are interested in women’s roles and experiences with non-traditional work pathways, digital literacies and innovative entrepreneurial solutions, join us!”

Workers by Self-Design: Digital Literacies and Women’s Changing Roles in Unstable Environments

In a welcome turn of events, some additional Global Challenges Research Fund budget was made available… and this allowed the above-named project proposal to be funded. It’s a £29K network style grant: 

The proposed meetings aim to strengthen and develop new partnerships among academic and non-academic partners who will work to understand, explore and create an impact-oriented research agenda on women’s engagement with digital literacies and their changing roles as they transition into the workplace in unstable environments in UK, the Philippines and Iran. 

The leader is Lavinia Hirsu, in the School of Education at U. Glasgow, along with Dr.Katarzyna Borkowska, in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies. Academic Partners are Dr. Zenaida Reyes, Professor and Director of Linkages and International Office, Philippine Normal University, and Lamiah Hashemi, Senior Administrative Officer, University of Kurdistan Technology Incubator, Iran.

I will try to help with tech-centred issues, as I can. I rather hope that there might be a way to connect it to the issues and people in the HDI network, which has a theme on skills and education…


I’m very glad to now be an associate editor for the ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction. I was just in the door, and I already have a paper to organise reviewers for… and, yes, I’m struggling already to get people signed up for the expected date. Conforming to an old norm?

Improving the t-SNE data visualisation algorithm via stochastic sampling

Another project started very recently, with the above title. It’s great to be working with Alistair Morrison again, as we look at ways to apply the ideas we developed (many years ago!) for fast spring models (a.k.a. force-directed placement) with tSNE algorithms. Somewhat bizarrely, this is funded by the US Navy. We are grateful but also somewhat surprised.

Ethical Design of Apps for Assessing Mental Health

This is a EPSRC Impact Acceleration Award project getting off the ground now, on phone apps that collect personal data that can be used to predict social anxiety.

I am enjoying working with Angus Ferguson and Marek Bell on this short (4 month) project. It is based on an undergraduate project by Dimitris Eleftheriou, that basically reproduced an experiment by Boukhcheba et al. reported at the 2017 Ubicomp workshop on mental health.  We will extend Dimitris’ work that let the app operate in a way that allows most/all of the personal data (collected via Denzil Ferreira’s AWARE framework) to be kept on the phone, by adding and evaluating features that allow participants to maintain feedback and control over what happens to the data sent from their phone to us.

Even as I write this, it reminds me of old Ubicomp work from the 1990s, by Victoria Bellotti and Abi Sellen, on feedback and control… We’ll see whether/how that might weave into this work…