My main current project is Human Data Interaction: Legibility, Agency, Negotiability (EPSRC, EP/R045178/1, £1.04M, July 2018 – June 2021), a Digital Economy Network Plus grant. This project goes beyond transparency of data sharing and analytics, to address subsequent choices, actions and effects in ways that bring ethics to the fore of systems design. I have a great set of co-investigators. Alphabetically, they are: Hamed Haddadi (Imperial), Ewa Luger (Edinburgh), Elvira Perez Vallejos (Nottingham), and Atau Tanaka (Goldsmiths). We have collaborators and advisers from the private sector — large firms/institutions including IBM, Cisco, BBC, Arup, ICAEW, Google, Spotify, Microsoft and ARM; smaller firms (e.g. Body Data Space, Music Hackspace); networks of such firms (e.g. TIGA, Creative England); and institutions from the public and third sector (e.g. DCMS, DfE, NHS, Arts Council England, the Learning and Work Institute). The network’s web site is hdi-network.org. For more on the human data interaction framework, see also hdiresearch.org.
Here are some past projects I was involved in:
Improving the t-SNE data visualisation algorithm via stochastic sampling (US Navy ONR, N62909-18-1-2076, £100K, June 2018–October 2019). This project, co-developed with Alistair Morrison, involves combining ‘spring models’ for laying out high-dimensional data, with the tSNE algorithms which do a similar job. The aim is to make tSNE faster, and to address some of the shortcomings pointed out in the this fine Distill.pub article by Wattenberg, Viégas and Johnson (e.g. global structure).
Ethical design of apps for assessing mental health (EPSRC IAA, £17K, August-November 2018). This project aimed to combine mechanisms for consent and edge computing, in an app for tracking and modelling emotional state. We ran a trial of this app in Spring 2019, with a the help of a cohort of student volunteers, Glasgow University’s Student Support and Wellbeing service, and advisers from NHS Scotland.
Workers by Self-Design: Digital Literacies and Women’s Changing Roles in Unstable Environments (GCRF, £29K). Led by Lavinia Hirsu, in the School of Education at U. Glasgow, along with Dr.Katarzyna Borkowska, in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, this funded meetings that aimed to strengthen and develop new partnerships among academic and non-academic partners—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.
A Population Approach to Ubicomp System Design (EPSRC, EP/J007617/1, £4M, Dec 2011 – Nov 2016) had as its primary objective new science of software structures, with design, theory and tools based on stochastic abstractions that reflect the way that real world software is used and adapted by users. The key idea was a new treatment of class as a population of instances: dynamic, stochastic and coupled with programs in use. It involved collaborators including Festivals Edinburgh (and the festivals themselves), several Scottish Premier League football clubs, Glasgow Museums, and Glasgow University estates department and library. Co-investigators were Muffy Calder (Glasgow) and Mark Girolami (Warwick), and postdocs/RAs/visitors included Oana Andrei, Parvin Asadzadeh, Remigijus Bartasius, Marek Bell, Paul Cowie, Mark Hartswood, Matthew Higgs, Alistair Morrison, Martin Podlubny, John Rooksby, Mattias Rost, Tim Smith, Seppo Virtainen (Warwick), Graham Wilson, and Xiaoyu Xiong.
EuroFIT (EU FP7, Dec 2013 – Nov 2018, €5M) also has a longer name, Social innovation to improve physical activity and sedentary behaviour through elite European football clubs: European Fans in Training. It is centred on using football fans’ club affiliation to encourage greater physical activity and less sedentary behaviour. The core of the project is a (non-tech-supported) randomised controlled trial of a lifestyle programme delivered by top EU football clubs in four countries. Our thin slice of this large project involved developing apps, including phone-based exergames, that build on similar health goals and affiliations, complementing the core programme. I treated this as a partner project to the Populations programme above, with EuroFIT gaining the support of a large design/analysis group while serving as a testbed for Population ideas and techniques. A combination of Population’s RAs worked on this.
Anyscale Apps (EPSRC, Dec 2013 – Nov 2017 £1.1M) is developing a scale-specific runtime adaptation layer, to dynamically adapt an app to execute appropriately given resources such as the available parallelism (low-power GPU v. multicore smartphone v. many-core v. cloud server v. combinations of these). A key enabler of the AnyScale concept is the policy to determine where computation takes place, and what adaptive mechanisms can be applied to take advantage of scale. The app developer can specify computation abstractly, and the run-time system determines scheduling and adaptation based on cost–benefit trade-offs with regard to resource availability.
Future Cities (SICSA, Feb 2015 – Jan 2016, £5K) was a SICSA ‘research challenge’ that builds on the network among Scottish academic computer scientists interested in future cities. Working with Prof. Brian Evans (Mackintosh School of Architecture) and Dr. Drew Hemment (Duncan of Jordanstone School of Art and Design), this project built up connections with city councils, civic authorities and innovation centres, and with academics and practitioners in other relevant disciplines—including architecture, urban design and service design. Our primary target was a clear road map that sets out and inter-relates priorities for research funding, city/government policy and industrial innovation.
Homework: Shaping Future User Centred Domestic Infrastructures (EPSRC, EP/F064276/1, Sept 2008 – March 2012, £771K). This WINES 3 project, led by Tom Rodden at Nottingham, brings together researchers from Glasgow, Nottingham, Imperial and Georgia Tech looks at interactive techniques that make key features of the domestic infrastructure, including features associated with new management, measurement and modelling techniques, available to inhabitants. Here’s the case.
Contextual Software (EPSRC, EP/F035586/1, June 2008 – Dec 2011, £869K), using MANET and software component infrastructures to support adaptation, and treating developers, evaluators and users as collaborators in this ongoing process. It involves collaboration with the EU Haggle project, in particular Jon Crowcroft. Here are the case for support and workplan. Marek Bell, Malcolm Hall, Alistair Morrison, Stuart Reeves and Scott Sherwood were RAs, and Owain Brown and Don MacMillan were PhD students.
Equator (EPSRC, GR/N15986/01, £11M, October 2000 – June 2007) was an interdisciplinary research collaboration in which I explored theoretical ideas like a view of ubicomp that steals from semiology and philosophical hermeneutics, infrastructure/interaction issues such as seamful design, collaboration spanning multiple ubicomp media and visualisations that combine system logs and user trial data such a video recordings (e.g. Replayer), and application areas such as museums, cultural tourism, environmental science, and mobile multiplayer games.
Designing for the Social Sports Fan (EPSRC, January 2011 – January 2012, EP/H500138/1, £117K) was a KTA fellowship, with Scott Sherwood working with Rangers FC and a number of other sports organisations to commercialise some of our research prototypes to suit football clubs and other stadium settings.
Designing the Augmented Stadium (EPSRC, Oct 2007 – Mar 2010, EP/E04848X/1, £532K) involved studying and designing for crowds at sporting events, using MANETs for interaction, and collaboration with MSR Cambridge and Arup. Here is the case for support.
Shaping an International Grand Challenge Community on Ubiquitous Computing (EPSRC, EP/F013442/1, Oct 2007 – Mar 2009, £311K). This was a ‘Collaborating for Success through People’ grant, led by Tom Rodden at U. Nottingham, that built on the UK BCS/UKCRC Grand Challenge on Ubiquitous Computing that I co-authored.
Integrating Field and Systemic Data in a Visualisation for Collaboration, an ESRC eSocial Science small grant, focusing on extending the prior Replayer work along with Paul Tennent and Alistair Morrison (RES-149-25-1046).
Sharon Baurley at Central Saint Martins led a network-style project to work out a research agenda for new electronic textiles and associated systems. This rejoiced in the name The Emotional Wardrobe (EP/C516281/1).
Steve Benford at U. Nottingham led another network, bridging the technology and art of ubicomp technology: Pervasive Media: Enhancing Mobile and Locative technologies for Culture and Creativity (GR/T21035/01). This was more commonly known as PLAN: the Pervasive and Locative Arts Network.
Kodak Gallery FriendPhone (Kodak, June – August 2008) A system for mobile phones, to allow people to share photographs taken on their phones, and awareness of photo-taking, via the Kodak Gallery web site.
New Research Processes and Business Models for the Creative Industries (EPSRC, EP/G002088/1, April 2008 – March 2009) A network of people in ICT and the creative industries, led by Steve Benford at U. Nottingham, looking at what key challenges face the creative industries due to the emergence of a new generation of social, pervasive and affective computing. I was only at the outer edge of this. Here’s the case.