Projects

Most of my projects serve as a vehicle for general computer science issues, to do with theory and/or infrastructure, as well as aiming to make some contribution to particular application areas. I try to make the most of the synergy between theory, systems and user studies. Generally it involves sumgroup: the social/ubiquitous/mobile group.


Currently I have four active projects:

  1. A Population Approach to Ubicomp System Design (EPSRC, EP/J007617/1, £4M, Dec 2011 – Nov 2016) has as its primary objective a new science of software structures, with design, theory and tools based on stochastic abstractions that reflect the way that real world software is adapted by users. The key idea is a new treatment of class as a population of instances: dynamic, stochastic and coupled with programs in use. It has involved collaborations including Festivals Edinburgh (and the festivals themselves), several Scottish Premier League football clubs, Glasgow Museums, co-investigators Muffy Calder (Glasgow) and Mark Girolami (Warwick), and currently postdocs Oana Andrei, Parvin Asadzadeh, Matthew Higgs, Alistair Morrison, John Rooksby and Mattias Rost and Seppo Virtainen (Warwick).

  2. 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 involves developing apps, including phone-based exergames, that build on similar health goals and affiliations, complementing the core programme. I am treating 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 work on this.

  3. 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. I’m hoping to apply this adaptation idea to phone apps such as those developed within the Populations programme grant.

  4. Future Cities (SICSA, Feb 2015 - Jan 2016, £5K) is 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 aims to build up connections with city councils, civic authorities and innovation centres, and to academics and practitioners in other relevant disciplines—including architecture, urban design and service design. Our primary target is a clear road map that sets out and inter-relates priorities for research funding, city/government policy and industrial innovation.


Here are some past projects I was involved in:

  1. Smart Tourism (SFC, May 2011 – April 2014, £600K) is a collaboration among five SICSA universities to transfer and commercialise research prototypes and techniques, in particular to enhance the tourism industry in Scotland. It involves collaboration with Edinburgh, St. Andrews, Aberdeen and Robert Gordon universities, stakeholders including Edinburgh Festivals, Historic Scotland and Glasgow Life, and a broad range of Scottish SMEs. Set within this was The Shape of the Festivals, a subproject run in collaboration with Festivals Edinburgh (and the festivals themselves) to study what they do and to develop new design proposals. RA Donald McMillan and I recently worked on Navigating the Festivals, a subproject aimed at making an iPad-based system that lets people weave and share official Edinburgh Festival programmes, locations and events, histories of previous Festival event attendance, and also’ histories including personal photographs, postings to social networking sites, emails and text messages.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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).

  9. 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)

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.