Research Seminars 2015-16 Academic Year

Speaker Institution Date, Location Ack
Prof Sanjay K. Jha University of New South Wales 07/09/2016, N118 WT
Dr Mykola Pechenizkiy Eindhoven University of Technology 27/04/2016, N242 MG
Dr Alice Toniolo & Dr Marianthi Leon Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University 27/04/2016, N242 ML
Dr Dawn Carmichael Abertay 30/03/2016, N117 DCD
Chris Campbell Robert Gordon University 15/03/2016, N117 DCD
Prof Quintin Cutts Glasgow 24/02/2016, N117 DCD
Dr. Marilyn Lennon Strathclyde 17/02/2016, N117 DCD
Dr. Martin Halvey Strathclyde 27/01/2016, N117 DCD
Dr. Christophe B. Michel Stirling 09/12/2015, N117 DCD
Dr. Paul Anderson Edinburgh 25/11/2015, N118 DCD
Dr. Fiona McNeill Heriot-Watt 18/11/2015, N117 DCD
Dr. Leo Chen Glasgow Caledonian 11/11/2015, N118 DCD
Dr. Louis Aslett Oxford 04/11/2015, N117 DCD
Peter Prjevara Kongsberg 23/10/2015, N117 DCD
Dr. Bo Han AT&T Research Labs 08/10/2015, ABS 441C WT

Other Forthcoming Speakers – Dates to be Confirmed
Assoc Prof Horacio Gonzalez-Velez, National College of Ireland
Amy Nicholson, Andrew Fryer, Microsoft – Data Science
Prof George Coghill, Aberdeen
Prof Jose Alcaraz-Calero, University West of Scotland, 2016

General Info
Seminars usually held on Wednesdays beginning at 13:05, Sir Ian Wood Building, Garthdee Road, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. If you have suggestions for possible speakers then please do contact the Seminar host/organiser.

Lecture room locations can as also change from time to time, hence note the location listed below and in the corresponding post about the Seminar.


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Towards Socially Intelligent Robots – Karen Spärck Jones lecture LiveCast@RGU 25 May 2017

To honour the pioneering work of Karen Spärck Jones, the British Computer Society (BCS) holds a distinguished lecture in her name each year, celebrating a prominent female computing researcher.

The 2017 lecture will be given by Dr. Maja Matarić (University of Southern California) who is Professor and Chan Soon-Shiong Chair of Computer Science, Neuroscience & Pediatrics; Founding Director at the USC’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems Center, and Director of the USC’s Robotics Research Lab.

The lecture will take place on 25 May 2017, 18:00 – 19:30 BST in Room N303

Sir Ian Wood Building
Robert Gordon University
Garthdee Road
AB10 7GJ

We would appreciate it if you could register your interest to attend here:


How can human-robot interaction be improved by making robots more socially intelligent? This is the key question at the heart of socially assistive robotics (SAR): a new field of intelligent robotics that focuses on developing machines capable of assisting users through social rather than physical interaction, in order to encourage people to have the drive and motivation to do their own work, for improved health and wellness. Our research brings together engineering, health sciences, neuroscience, social, developmental, and cognitive sciences to create robots that can serve as coaches, motivators, and companions. This requires personalising human-robot interaction through appropriate speech, gesture, and body language; the embodiment is the most important even without physical work. Our successes include coaching stroke patients to perform rehabilitation activities, helping children with autism to learn social skills, encouraging teens at risk for type-2 diabetes to exercise, motivating first graders to make healthy food choices, and helping elderly patients with Alzheimer’s disease to stay engaged. The lecture will describe those projects and the associated research into embodiment, modelling and steering of social dynamics, and long-term user adaptation for SAR, illustrated with many videos.

About the Lecturer:

Dr. Maja Matarić is inspired by the vast potential for affordable human-centered technologies, especially socially assistive robotics, as means of improving human quality of life. Founder and director of the Interaction Lab at the University of Southern California, her research is aimed at endowing robots with the ability to help people, especially those with special needs. She is passionate about conveying the importance and promise of interdisciplinary engineering research and careers in STEM to all who should know more, including K-12 students and teachers, women and other underrepresented groups in engineering, the media, and policymakers.

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Wed 26th April 2017 – Dr. Richard Dybowski


Wed 26th April 2017 – Dr Richard Dybowski

Dr Richard Dybowski – Disease Dynamics Unit, University of Cambridge


Two recent developments in neural computation: NTMs and GANs

The presentation will focus on two recent developments from the neural computing community. The first is the concept of the Neural Turing Machine (NTM), which is a fully differentiable system with the potential to learn algorithmic solutions to problems, and which has outperformed LSTM-based recurrent networks. The second is the Generative Adversarial Network (GAN), in which the parameters of a probabilistic generative model are estimated via a minimax game involving a discriminating deep neural network.

I am an applied mathematician, statistician and computer scientist based in the Disease Dynamics Unit, University of Cambridge. Following a degree in chemistry, I specialised in NMR spectroscopy. I undertook a PhD in statistical and computational chemistry at Leeds University (i.e., the computational diagnosis of endocrine metabolites) and was then appointed as a Research Fellow at St Thomas’ Hospital/King’s College London, where I undertook statistical research into a variety of medical areas, including microbiology, intensive care, and ophthalmology. I also taught artificial intelligence (AI) as a University Lecturer in computer science at the University of East London. After a number of years away from academia caring for others, I returned in earnest.

Venue and Time

Lecture Room N117, 14:00 – 15:00.

School of Computing Science & Digital Media, Robert Gordon University, Sir Ian Wood Building, Garthdee, Aberdeen, AB10 7GJ 

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Wed 22 Feb 2017 – Prof David Benyon

Professor David Benyon, Napier University, Edinburgh

Designing Blended Spaces


A blended space is a space where a physical space is deliberately integrated in a close-knit way with a digital space. Because the digital space has been designed and integrated with a physical space a novel user experience is created. New properties emerge from the particular combination of physical and digital that may give rise to a new sense of presence. 

Blending Theory was originally developed as a theory of linguistics and language understanding. Prof Benyon introduced the concepts to interaction design with his book Designing with Blends in 2006 and followed this with Spaces of interaction, Places for Experience (2014, Morgan and Claypool). In this talk, he will explore the ideas and where they have been applied.


Professor David Benyon has been working in the area of human-computer interaction (HCI) and interaction design for over 25 years. He has written widely on the subject with over 150 refereed publications covering HCI, interaction design and intelligent user interfaces. He published one of the first textbooks on HCI in 1994 and recently completed the 4th edition of the textbook Designing User Experience: a comprehensive guide to HCI, UX and interaction design (Pearson, 2013). In 2007 Prof Benyon introduced ideas of conceptual blending to HCI with his book Designing with Blends (MIT Press, with Manuel Imaz). He published his monograph Spaces of Interaction, Places for Experience with Morgan and Claypool in September 2014.

School of Computing Science & Digital Media, Robert Gordon University, Sir Ian Wood Building, Garthdee, Aberdeen, Lecture Room N117, 13:00 – 14:00.

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Wed 7th Sept 2016 – Prof Sanjay K. Jha

Professor Sanjay K. Jha – University of New South Wales

A Changing Landscape: Securing The Internet Of Things (IoT)

First part of this talk will discuss how the community is converging towards the IoT vision having worked in wireless sensor networking and Machine-2-Machine (M2M) communication. This will follow a general discussion of security challenges in IoT. Finally I will discuss some results from an ongoing projects on security of bodywork devices and IoT. Wireless bodyworn sensing devices are becoming popular for fitness, sports training and personalized healthcare applications. Securing the data generated by these devices is essential if they are to be integrated into the current health infrastructure and employed in medical applications. In this talk, I will discuss a mechanism to secure data provenance and location proof for these devices by exploiting symmetric spatio-temporal characteristics of the wireless link between two communicating parties. Our solution enables both parties to generate closely matching `link’ fingerprints, which uniquely associate a data session with a wireless link such that a third party, at a later date, can verify the links the data was communicated on. These fingerprints are very hard for an eavesdropper to forge, lightweight compared to traditional provenance mechanisms, and allow for interesting security properties such as accountability and non-repudiation. I will present our solution with experiments using bodyworn devices in scenarios approximating actual device deployment. I will also touch upon other research on secure reprogramming of IoT devices over wireless networks.

Professor Sanjay K. Jha is Director of the Cybersecurity and Privacy Laboratory (Cyspri) at UNSW. He also heads the Network Systems and Security Group (NetSys) at the School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of New South Wales. His research activities cover a wide range of topics in networking including Network and Systems Security, Wireless Sensor Networks, Adhoc/Community wireless networks, Resilience and Multicasting in IP Networks. Sanjay has published over 200 articles in high quality journals and conferences and graduated more than 20 Phd students. He is the principal author of the book Engineering Internet QoS and a co-editor of the book Wireless Sensor Networks: A Systems Perspective. He is an editor of the IEEE Trans. of Secure and Dependable Computing (TDSC) and served as an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing (TMC) and the ACM Computer Communication Review (CCR).

School of Computing Science & Digital Media, Robert Gordon University, Sir Ian Wood Building, Garthdee, Aberdeen, Lecture Room N118, 11:00 – 12:00.

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Wed 27th April 2016 – Dr Mykola Pechenizkiy

Dr Mykola Pechenizkiy – Eindhoven University of Technology

Predictive Analytics that Works!?

Application-driven research in predictive analytics contributes to the massive automation of the data-driven decision making and decision support. As data mining researchers and data scientists we often have a (false) believe that our techniques are immediately applicable for solving real problems, and have no bad intents; and thus we can keep our focus on developing novel techniques pushing for higher and higher accuracy of predictive models. Some of us study how to make them more robust or adaptive to changes in known and hidden contexts, others – how to facilitate privacy-preserving or privacy-aware analytics. In the first part of my talk, I will overview some of such practical issues that matter in real applications and relate them to the current state of the art in predictive analytics research.
However, recent reports as e.g. 2014 Whitehouse Review of Big Data argue that “big data technologies can cause societal harms beyond damages to privacy”, that data-driven decisions could have discriminatory effects even in the absence of discriminatory intent, that there are threats of opaque decision-making and call for a thorough studying of these threats and of methods to address them. In the second part of my talk I will revisit these concerns in the context of the personalized medicine research with the goal to highlight why the general public, domain experts or policy makers may consider predictive analytics as a thread. I will present my subjective view on what questions need to be included into the data science research agendas for gaining a deeper understanding what it means for predictive analytics to be ethics-aware and accountable and how we can achieve this.

Mykola Pechenizkiy is Associate Professor in Predictive Analytics at the Department of Computer Science, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), the Netherlands. He received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland in 2005. Since June 2013 he is also Adjunct Professor in Data Mining for Industrial Applications there. His expertise and research interests are in predictive analytics and knowledge discovery from evolving data, and in their application to real-world problems in industry, commerce, medicine and education. He develops generic frameworks and effective approaches for designing adaptive, context-aware predictive analytics systems. He has actively collaborated on this with industry. He has co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications and co-organized several workshops, conferences, special issues, and tutorials in these areas. He served as the chair of the steering committee of Computer-Based Medical Systems (CBMS) conference series in 2012-2016. As a panelist and an invited speaker he has been advocating for the ethics-aware predictive (learning) analytics research at several recent events, including the FATML@ICML 2015 and NSF IRB Privacy and Big Data workshops and the EDM 2015 conference.

School of Computing Science & Digital Media, Robert Gordon University, Sir Ian Wood Building, Garthdee, Aberdeen, Conference Room N242, 14:00 – 15:00.

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Wed 27th April 2016 – Dr Alice Toniolo & Dr Marianthi Leon

Dr Alice Toniolo – University of Aberdeen & Dr Marianthi Leon – Robert Gordon University

Argumentation schemes for supporting collaborative reasoning and deliberation dialogue; an application for analysing collaboration for the built environment

The ability to process large amounts of data and forecast possible trends is fundamental in intelligence analysis, as well as in other analytic contexts such as web-commerce, social media, or criminal investigation. Current solutions for high-end analytics focus primarily on data aggregation and visualisation. The first part of this talk focusses on how to support users in the process of making sense of the information extracted, or received from different sources in the context of intelligence analysis. An agent-based tool called CISpaces (Collaborative Intelligence Spaces) is presented to help analysts in acquiring, evaluating and interpreting information in collaboration with others. Agents assist analysts in reasoning with different types of evidence exploiting argumentation schemes to structure and share analyses, crowd-sourcing to collect information and provenance to establish the credibility of hypotheses.

The second part of the presentation is focused on efficient monitoring of decision steps by employing a computational model of argumentation applicable to Architecture Engineering and Construction industry collaborative design processes. The presented approach provides a method to rigorously trace the resolution of conflicts by extracting these to acceptable arguments that led to a decision, and may eventually assist multidisciplinary teams of engineers and designers in analysing complex collaborative decisions within a pre-Building Information Modelling context.

Dr Alice Toniolo is a Research Fellow in the Agent, Reasoning and Knowledge group in the Computing Science Department at the University of Aberdeen, UK. Her research is associated with the Collaborative Intelligence Analysis project within the International Technology Alliance in Network and Information Sciences. She is investigating how argumentation schemes can facilitate the intelligence analysis process in elaborating information for identifying plausible explanation for a situation. She was awarded her PhD in Computing Science by the University of Aberdeen, jointly funded by dot.rural RCUK Digital Economy Research, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, and the International Technology Alliance. Alice has investigated how argumentation models of deliberative dialogue based upon argumentation schemes can enhance agent collaborative planning. Prior to her PhD, she obtained her MSc and BSc in Computer Engineering from the University of Padova, Italy.

Dr Marianthi Leon is a Lecturer and a Research Fellow in Aberdeen Business School and Scott Sutherland School accordingly, at RGU, UK. Her research is focused on managing multidisciplinary collaborations and on 3D scanning and built environment visualisations for supporting stakeholders’ cooperation. Marianthi was awarded her PhD from Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and the Built Environment, which was funded by IDEAS Research Institute. Her PhD investigated and analysed multidisciplinary teams’ collaboration, especially with the application of computer mediation and Tangible User Interfaces specifically. She developed a Protocol/framework for supporting concept and project initiation stages, which she has been applying and optimising it through an ongoing research (PhD and onwards). Prior to her PhD, Marianthi obtained her MSc in Adaptive Architecture and Computation from UCL and she is a Chartered Architect, from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

School of Computing Science & Digital Media, Robert Gordon University, Sir Ian Wood Building, Garthdee, Aberdeen, Conference Room N242, 12:30 – 14:00.

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Wed 30th Mar 2016 – Dr Dawn Carmichael

Dr Dawn Carmichael – Glasgow Caledonian University

Smart Metrics

A discussion of a methodology for arriving at value added quality metrics with examples from social media and games.

Dawn Carmichael has a PhD in Software Metrics, is a Lecturer in HCI at Glasgow Caledonian University, has led two funded research projects, and was a Teaching & Learning Committee Chair for over ten years.

School of Computing Science & Digital Media, Robert Gordon University, Sir Ian Wood Building, Garthdee, Aberdeen, Conference Room N117, 13:00 – 14:00.

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Wed 24th Feb 2016 – Prof Quintin Cutts

Prof Quintin Cutts – University of Glasgow

Will radical research-led change in schools CS affect you?!

Underpinned to a large extent by CS education research, the subject of computing science in Scottish schools has been going through a process of steady but significant change over the last 5 years and will continue to do so over the next 5-10 years. These changes, as well as those in other countries, will have a profound impact on our intake.

In this talk, I will discuss three significant aspects of this change that I’ve either led or am associated with, particularly focussing on the research-led aspect:
– revising the national SQA qualifications
– setting up a nationwide professional development network for CS teachers, involving training lead teachers, setting up local teacher hubs and based around a research-led pedagogical framework
– transforming the mandatory CS education stage – ages 3-15

We’ll then explore whether we in HE are ready for the changed intake and how we could respond.

Quintin Cutts, Professor of Computer Science Education at the University of Glasgow, has researched and practised programming education for 20 years, involved in UK, US and Australasian projects. He has explored many instructional designs, endeavouring to maximise the value of face-to-face teaching using technology and peer-based learning, as well as incorporating and researching attitudes to learning into his teaching. More recently, he has been applying a range of CS education research, including his own, to the improvement of Scottish schools provision of computing science.

School of Computing Science & Digital Media, Robert Gordon University, Sir Ian Wood Building, Garthdee, Aberdeen, Conference Room N117, 13:00 – 14:00.

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Wed 17th Feb 2016 – Dr Marilyn Lennon

Dr Marilyn Lennon – University of Strathclyde
Senior Lecturer
Director Digital Health and Wellness Group Computer and Information Sciences University of Strathclyde

Wellness in the city: Design and evaluation of mobile apps for health and wellness

There are literally hundreds of thousands of smartphone apps for health and wellness available on the app stores. But do they work? How do we know which ones are right for us? Which ones have been validated? And would you use one your doctor prescribed or would you rather listen to your friends and social network when it comes to managing your own personal health and wellbeing? This talk will describe some of the design and evaluation of mobile apps that we have done in computer and information sciences as part of the newly formed Digital Health and Wellness Group and highlight some of the on going challenges and opportunities for the future development of apps for health and wellness.

School of Computing Science & Digital Media, Robert Gordon University, Sir Ian Wood Building, Garthdee, Aberdeen, Conference Room N117, 13:00 – 14:00.

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Wed 19th Feb 2016 – Dare to be Digital

Presenters: Elaine Russell – Project Manager Dare to be Digital, & Dan Allan
– Team member from 2014’s “A Fox that I Drew” team. Their game Baum has just had a world-wide release on App store (online).

Event Summary
Discussion on the requirements for setting up a team to enter the Dare to be Digital game development competition and how to go about putting a 5 minute video pitch together. The competition requires teams of programmers, graphics artists and audio engineers to come together as a cohesive team.

For more information see
Competition Website

To apply one must submit a short video pitch of the idea the team intends to develop for the game. One can see several examples of previous pitches available in a blog post (online). Another blog post of interest asks the question of “What qualities makes a game popular” (online).

Event Time / Location
The talk will take place at 09:30 on Friday 19th February in Room H506, Faculty of Health and Social Care Building, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen (as shown in the image below). Upon entering this building you will be on Level 4, a corridor to the side of the Reception desk leads to lifts and stairs that will take you to Level 5.

2015 04 21 Quadcopter on Campus

The Garthdee Campus is located a few miles south west of Aberdeen city centre. The number 1 bus drives right into campus and stops directly outside the Riverside East building where the talk will be taking place.



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Wed 27th Jan 2016 – Dr Martin Halvey

Dr Martin Halvey – University of Strathclyde

The Effect of Thermal Stimuli on the Emotional Perception of Images

Thermal stimulation is a rich, emotive and salient feed-back channel that is well suited to human computer interaction (HCI), but one that is yet to be fully investigated. In this talk I will give in an overview of the research into thermal interfaces, I will pay particular attention to emotional aspects. Thermal stimulation has the potential to influence the emotional response of people to media such as images. While previous work has demonstrated that thermal stimuli might have an effect on the emotional perception of images, little is understood about the exact emotional responses different thermal properties and presentation techniques can elicit towards images. In this talk I will outline a number of user studies that investigate the effect thermal stimuli parameters (e.g. intensity) and timing of thermal stimuli presentation have on the emotional perception of images. Our studies found that thermal stimulation can increase valence and arousal in images with low valence and neutral to low arousal. Thermal augmentation of images also can reduce valence and arousal in high valence and arousal images. We also discovered that depending on when thermal augmentation is presented, it can either be used to create anticipation or enhance the inherent emotion an image is capable of evoking. Some of this work will also be presented at ACM CHI 2015.

Martin is a lecturer in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at the University of Strathclyde. His research interests are in interactive information retrieval, collaborative information retrieval, multimodal interaction and human computer interaction. He has published over 70 papers in leading venues including ACM CHI, ACM SIGIR and ACM Multimedia, and has multiple best paper nominations. Prior to joining Strathclyde, Martin was a lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University and a researcher at the University of Glasgow. He has a PhD focusing on recommender systems from University College Dublin.

School of Computing Science & Digital Media, Robert Gordon University, Sir Ian Wood Building, Garthdee, Aberdeen, Conference Room N117, 13:00 – 14:00.

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Wed 09th Dec 2015 – Dr Christophe B. Michel

Dr Christophe B. Michel – University of Stirling

Computational Neurosciences and Vestibular Electrophysiology

Previous experimental data indicates the hyperpolarization-activated cation (Ih) current, in the inner ear, consists of two components
(different HCN subunits) which are impossible to pharmacologically isolate.

We have first determined the ability of a recent identification algorithm to discriminate the parameters of currents composed by two components on simulated data.

We then applied this algorithm to Ih current recordings from mouse vestibular ganglion neurons. The algorithm revealed the presence of a
high-voltage-activated slow component and a low-voltage-activated fast component.

Finally, the electrophysiological significance of these two Ih components was tested individually in computational vestibular ganglion neuron models (sustained and transient), in the control case and in the presence of cAMP, an intracellular cyclic nucleotide that modulates HCN channel activity.

School of Computing Science & Digital Media, Robert Gordon University, Sir Ian Wood Building, Garthdee, Aberdeen, Conference Room N117, 12:00 – 13:00.

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Wed 25th Nov 2015 – Dr Paul Anderson

Dr Paul Anderson – University of Edinburgh

Describing System Configurations with L3

System configuration languages are now ubiquitous. Almost all major installations and services depend on specifications written in languages such as “Puppet” to deploy and manage the underlying infrastructure. But these languages are almost always developed in an ad-hoc way, which makes them very difficult to verify or reason about, and their complexity makes them difficult to use correctly. The resulting configuration errors are a frequent cause of system failures.

I will give a little background on declarative configuration languages in general, and discuss some of the characteristics of the system configuration task which typically cause difficulties in practice. I will then give an overview of our work on configuration languages, before describing some current work on an experimental language (L3) which is intended to be a simple language with a clear semantics providing primitive operations specifically suited to configuration tasks.

Paul Anderson has a background in the practical management and configuration of large computing infrastructures, working both with industry, educational institutions, and large research installations such as CERN. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow with the School of Informatics where he is interested in applying knowledge from various areas in the School to the practical problems of large-scale system configuration. He is particularly interested in configuration languages, including provenance, security, and usability – but also in the deployment of configurations including automated planning, and agent-based approaches to distributed management

School of Computing Science & Digital Media, Robert Gordon University, Sir Ian Wood Building, Garthdee, Aberdeen, Conference Room N118, 13:00 – 14:00.

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Wed 18th Nov 2015 – Dr Fiona McNeill

Dr Fiona McNeill – Heriot Watt

Dynamic Interpretation and Integration of Mismatched Data

We exist in a world of large data: most organisations have large data stored, and many (such as governments) have vast ones. Accessing and utilising this data quickly and effectively is essential for many real-world tasks. One of the great difficulties of such automated knowledge sharing is that each participant will have developed and evolved its knowledge sources independently and there will be significant variation in how they have done this. These differences may be to do with different words being used for the same thing, or vice versa, but may also be to do with the structure of the data. In this talk I will discuss our work on failure-driven diagnosis of ontological mismatch, and its application to dynamic integration of mismatched data from potentially large sources. The fact that these techniques are only invoked when some sort of failure occurs (for example, failure to interpret an automated query), and are based on reasoning about the causes of the failure, means that the majority of data in a large data source can be ignored, thereby providing a tractable solution to the problem.

School of Computing Science & Digital Media, Robert Gordon University, Sir Ian Wood Building, Garthdee, Aberdeen, Conference Room N117, 13:00 – 14:00.

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Wed 4th Nov 2015 – Dr Louis Aslett

Dr Louis Aslett – Oxford

Data Science and Statistics in the Amazon Cloud with R

Cloud computing offers many opportunities for modern computationally intensive data science and statistics, be it cost efficiencies of on-demand compute power or access to state of the art HPC technology. An impediment to adoption of this is potentially substantial overhead in getting a cloud instance setup and ready to run, which seemingly must be performed by every user of the service. However, Amazon allow community development of publicly accessible machine images which enables pre-configured instances to be launched. This talk introduces the Amazon Web Services platform and describes a publicly available image designed for statistical analysis, with the RStudio interface being made accessible via a web browser and with associated software such as Stan, OpenBLAS and LaTeX among others installed and ready-to-run within minutes.

Dr Louis Aslett studied pure mathematics as an undergraduate at Trinity College Dublin, before continuing to a PhD in mathematical statistics, with a focus on MCMC methods for Phase-type models as they arise in reliability theory. He is now a research associate in the Department of Statistics at the University of Oxford and Junior Research Fellow at Corpus Christi College. He has two primary research interests: high performance computing for addressing intractable statistical models; and in exploiting recent advances in cryptography to ensure privacy preserving statistical analyses.

School of Computing Science & Digital Media, Robert Gordon University, Sir Ian Wood Building, Garthdee, Aberdeen, Conference Room N117, 13:00 – 14:00.

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Wed 11th Nov 2015 – Dr Leo Chen

Dr Leo Chen – Glasgow Caledonian

Computational Intelligence Aided Design(CIAD) and Two Robotic Systems:
Exoskeleton and Hummingbird-like Robot Systems

Computational intelligence(CI) is a set of nature-inspired approaches which offers a wealth of capability for complex problem solving. Another advantage of the CI is its flexibility in formulating the fitness function which can be expressed as a function of the system output. This feature is particularly appealing if an explicit objective function is difficult to obtain. Computational Intelligence Aided Design(CIAD) provides an expanded capability to accommodate a variety of CI algorithms and, it has three advantages: (1) mobilising computational resource; (2) taking advantage of multiple CI algorithms; and (3) reducing the computational costs.

In this presentation, the CIAD framework and two robotic systems are introduced, which are Exoskeleton and hummingbird-like robot Systems. Our current research is empolying CIAD in the two robotic systems:
1) Lower extremity exoskeletons have been rapidly promoted in recent years since they can be widely used in many applications, such as strength augmentation for pilots and assisting disorders to stand up
and walk again.

2) Providing effective surveillance of social areas and public installations is critically important. In a complex environment, obstacles such as terrain or buildings introduce multi-path propagations, reflections, and diffractions which make source localisation challenging. Micro air vehicles (MAV) with flapping wingsare developing rapidly during recent years due to the merit of civilian and public-security applications, especially for remote inspection or related security aspects.

Yi Chen, BSc, MSc, PhD, CEng, MIET, MAIAA, MIEEE, MASME, Lecturer in Dynamics and Control at Glasgow Caledonian University. Dr Chen is specialised in computational intelligence aided design, cyber-physical systems, robotics, dynamics & control, multidisciplinary design and optimisation under uncertainties, reliability and risk analysis, automotive systems, space tether systems, computational finance and optical engineering, etc. He attracted research funding from Nature Science Foundation of China, China Scholarship Council, KTP projects, the Innovation Fund, the Fundamental Research Funds for Central Universities research and produced over 50 publications in high quality, international, peer-reviewed journals and conferences in the past few years. Dr. Chen also studies how people construct evaluations and preferences in social contexts.

School of Computing Science & Digital Media, Robert Gordon University, Sir Ian Wood Building, Garthdee, Aberdeen, Conference Room N118, 12:00 – 13:00.

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Monday 10th Aug 2015 – Dr. ir. Joaquin Vanschoren

Dr. ir. Joaquin Vanschoren – Eindhoven University of Technology

Towards Networked and Automated Machine Learning

Many aspects of data-driven science can be sped up tremendously by automating them. OpenML is an online machine learning platform where scientists can automatically log, share and find data sets, code, and experiments, organize them online, and collaborate with researchers all over the world. It helps to automate many tedious aspects of research, is readily integrated into several machine learning tools, and offers easy-to-use APIs. It also enables large-scale and real-time collaboration, allowing researchers to build directly on each other’s latest results, and keep track of the wider impact of their work. Ultimately, this provides a wealth of information to assist people while analyzing data, or automate the process altogether.

Dr. Ir. Joaquin Vanschoren is assistant professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). His research focusses on the progressive automation of machine learning and networked science. He has founded, a platform for networked machine learning research used by researchers all over the world. He obtained several demonstration and application awards and has been invited speaker at ECDA, StatComp, CLADAG, and AutoML@ICML. He also co-organized machine learning conferences (e.g. ECMLPKDD 2013, LION 2016) and many workshops.

Staff Webpage

School of Computing Science & Digital Media, Robert Gordon University, Riverside East, Garthdee, Aberdeen, Conference Room N204, 13:00 – 14:00.

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Friday 3rd April 2015 – Dr Richard Glassey

Dr Richard Glassey – KTH: Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden

Meaningful Assessment at Scale

Assessing students is a perennial problem. There is a desire to provide meaningful and realistic assessments that inspire and motivate students. However, this comes at a cost in terms of effort, especially when classes grow in size. Eventually, I believe there is a mental switch from “how can I make this assessment meaningful (for students)”, to, “how can I make this assessment manageable (for me)”.

With large classes, I have resorted to the Quiz module of Moodle, which kindly marks itself and distributes the feedback to students, but then falling back to the divide and conquer strategy of ‘group work’ to tackle more meaningful assessment, consoling myself that it will, ‘benefit their future working life’. This situation motivated the search for a method that combined the convenience of technology with depth of assessment, and was guided by three key questions:

1) How can we assess at scale and ensure assessment remains meaningful?
2) How can we reduce effort for academics, but improve the assessment experience for students?
3) How can technology be mutually beneficial for academics and students?

This talk will discuss these questions and report the experiences gathered over a three year period of running a novel form of peer assessment: the Moodle Workshop. I will also provide a practical guide to using the Workshop module within Moodle. Despite its initial complexity, once mastered it becomes a fascinating component to include within a course, whether as part of continuous assessment, or applied to a final submission of work. Finally, I discuss how I learned to stop worrying, and love the Moodle.

Dr. Glassey is currently a lecturer at KTH: Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. He was formerly a lecturer at the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland (2012-2015). He remains an avid cyclist irrespective of location or weather conditions.

School of Computing Science & Digital Media, Robert Gordon University, Riverside East, Garthdee, Aberdeen, Conference Room N118, 14:00 – 15:00.

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Tuesday 17th Feb 2015 – Dr Paul Thomas

Dr Paul Thomas – CSIRO

Using Interaction Data to Explain Browsing Difficulty

A user’s behaviour when browsing a web site contains clues to that user’s experience. It is possible to record some of these behaviours automatically, and extract signals that indicate a user is having trouble finding information. This allows for web site analytics based on user experiences, not just page impressions.

A series of experiments identified user browsing behaviours – such as time taken and amount of scrolling up a page – which predict navigation difficulty and which can be recorded with minimal or no changes to existing sites or browsers. In turn, patterns of page views correlate with these signals and these patterns can help web authors understand where and why their sites are hard to navigate. A new software tool automates this analysis and makes it available to web authors in the context of the site itself.

Paul Thomas is a research scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The CSIRO is Australia’s national science agency and is charged with carrying out research for Australian government, industry, and communities. He also holds an adjunct Professorship at the Research School of Computer Science at the Australian National University.

Dr Thomas’s research considers how people interact with information, in particular information retrieval systems such as web search or digital libraries. His expertise covers federated search systems, models of user behaviour, and evaluating search systems with explicit or implicit user feedback. Applications have included web-based systems for general use, personal and workplace search systems, digital libraries for professional groups, and search on mobile devices.

Dr Thomas’s work has been published in top-ranked journals and conferences including the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST), the Information Retrieval Journal (IR), and the SIGIR and CIKM conferences. He has served on programme committees for all major conferences and journals in information retrieval; and amongst other service roles he has been invited to coordinate or be a mentor for the SIGIR Doctoral Consortium across three years.

Dr Thomas has significant expertise in industrial research, and experience in translating research into practise in industry and government. For example, he has led or worked on projects which analyse web usage and suggest improvements for some of Australia’s largest sites, and which monitor social media to improve government communications and policy-making. He has also designed and implemented digital libraries and novel information systems to support industry in Australia and internationally.

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Also advertised on SICSA

Note Another talk will be held by Dr. Paul Thomas on Wednesday 18th February at Aberdeen University, 14:00 to 15:00, Meston Building (further details).

School of Computing Science & Digital Media, Robert Gordon University, Riverside East, Garthdee, Aberdeen, Conference Room N204, 13:00 – 14:00.

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