SACHI at CHI 2018 in Montreal next week




The ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) series of academic conferences is generally considered the most prestigious in the field of human-computer interaction. It is hosted by ACM SIGCHI, the Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction. CHI has been held annually since 1982 and attracts thousands of international attendees. Next week members of SACHI will be at the CHI 2018 conference in Montreal where they will be presenting 6 full papers (1 best paper), 1 demonstration, 1 late-breaking work and other activities.

This work includes pointing all around you, the design of visualization tools,  physicalization, change blindness, multi-user interfaces, tangible interaction and augmented reality.

You can find the research papers, videos and more details on SACHI @ CHI2018 here.

Montreal, Canada

War Stories: Building new tech products in an uncertain world

Event details

  • When: 19th April 2018 11:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Format: Seminar

Steven Drost (CodeBase Chief Strategy Officer) and Jamie Coleman (CodeBase CoFounder and Chair) will talk about the topics that are rarely discussed in an academic environment around startups, product management, jobs to be done and disruption. Discussing aspects of UX, HCI, AI and systems development this is the stuff that they wish every computer scientist and startup founder knew before trying to create an innovative new business.

What is CodeBase?

CodeBase is the UK’s largest startup incubator, home to around 100 technology companies in Edinburgh and Stirling. It brings together ambitious entrepreneurs, world-class technological talent and top investors, in a creative, collaborative environment designed for the new digital economy. We host a vibrant, open community of experts in a diverse range of fields, with hands-on mentorship, networking and world-class business support.

Jamie and Steven are quite inspiring speakers and if you are looking for project partners, collaborators or just to learn how to develop your ideas commercially, this could be a good talk for you.


Students perform in G&S’s Princess Ida

Peter Cushley (MSci) brilliantly sang the part of Hilarion in the Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s Princess Ida performance at the Byre on the 20th and 21st April.

Two other Computer Scientists were in the cast; Joanna Moreland and Simon Cadge, both in 2nd year.

The performances were well received with great applause. Some of the cast will be singing in HMS Pinafore at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.

Professor Aaron Quigley to Join ACM Distinguished Speaker Program

Congratulations to Aaron on being appointed as a Distinguished Speaker for the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). The esteemed Distinguished Speaker Program brings together international thought leaders from academia, industry, and government to give presentations to ACM chapters, members, and the greater IT community in a variety of venues and formats. The outreach program coordinates speaker lectures to consider the most important challenges in computing today and facilitates professional networking.

Professor Quigley is Chair of Human Computer Interaction in the School of Computer Science at the University of St Andrews. His research interests include surface and multi-display computing, body worn interaction, human computer interaction, pervasive and ubiquitous computing and information visualisation.

SRG Seminar: “Application of Bayesian Nonparametric in household human activity recognition” by Lei Fang

Event details

  • When: 12th April 2018 13:00 - 14:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Series: Systems Seminars Series
  • Format: Seminar


In this talk, I will talk about the possibility of using Bayesian nonparametric clustering, or Dirichlet Process Mixture model to solve human activity recognition problem. In particular, I will discuss how the technique can be useful when the activity labels are not annotated and/or the activity evolves over the time. This initial study is built on an existing work on using directional statistical models (von Mises-Fisher) distribution, called Hierarchical Mixture of Conditional Independent von Mises Fisher distribution (HMCIvMFs), for unknown events detection and learning. Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling based learning algorithm will be presented together with some initial experiment results.

SRG Seminar: “Introduction to Apache Mesos and the DataCenter Operating System” by Matt Jarvis

Event details

  • When: 24th April 2018 13:00 - 14:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Series: Systems Seminars Series
  • Format: Seminar
Data processing paradigms are undergoing a paradigm shift as we move more and more towards real time processing. Emerging software models such as the SMACK stack are at the forefront of this change, focused on a pipeline processing model, but are also introducing new levels of operational complexity in running multiple complex distributed systems such as Spark, Kafka and Cassandra. In this talk, I’ll introduce both Apache Mesos and DC/OS as a solution to this growing problem, and describe the benefits are of running these new kinds of systems for emerging cloud native workloads.
Matt Jarvis is Senior Director of Community and Evangelism at Mesosphere, engaging with the communities around DC/OS and Mesos. Matt has spent more than 15 years building products and services around open source software, on everything from embedded devices to large scale distributed systems. Most recently he has been focused on the open cloud infrastructure space, and in emerging patterns for cloud native applications. 

A Type-System for describing System-on-a-Chip Architectures – Jan De Muijnck-Hughes

Event details

  • When: 5th April 2018 12:00 - 13:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Format: Talk


A Type-System for describing System-on-a-Chip Architectures



The protocols that describe the interactions between IP Cores on
System-on-a-Chip (SoC) architectures are well-documented. These
protocols described not only the structural properties of the physical
interfaces but also the behaviour of the emanating signals. However,
there is a disconnect between the design of SoC architectures, their
formal description, and the verification of their implementation in
known hardware description languages.

Within the Border Patrol project we are investigating how to capture
and reason about the structural and behavioural properties of SoC
architectures using state-of-the-art advances in programming language
research. Namely, we are investigating using dependent types and
session types to capture and reason about hardware communication.

In this talk I will discuss my work in designing a dependent type-
system and corresponding language that captures and reasons about the
topological structure of a System-on-a-Chip. This language provides
correct-by-construction guarantees over:

1. the physical structure of an interaction protocol;
1. the adherence of a component’s interface to a given protocol; and
1. the validity of the specified connections made between components. 

We provide these guarantees through the (ab)use of dependent types as
presented in Idris; and abuse of indexed monads to reason about
resource usage.

Given time I will give an account of how this language enables
reasoning about SoC behaviour when considered in conjunction with
Session Types.

Old French Bible Project

A project funded by the Undergraduate Research Assistant Scheme has successfully completed the first stage of interdisciplinary work, between the Institute of Mediaeval Studies and the School of Computer Science.  The long-term aim is to digitise and analyse early French bibles.

In this pilot project, undergraduate student Gregor Haywood, under the supervision of Prof. Clive Sneddon and Dr. Mark-Jan Nederhof, explored the feasibility of large-scale OCR technology for early printed text.  Scans from a French bible from 1543 were provided by the Special Collections of the University Library.  Much of the project consisted of iterations of automatic transcription, manual correction, retraining, and evaluation of accuracy.  In addition, problems were investigated that specifically arise from taking OCR technology designed for modern printed documents and applying it on early documents. Such problems include non-standard character sets, non-standard page layout, faded or smudged ink, and torn pages.

Despite of these problems, it was demonstrated that error rates below 3% are achievable, which paves the way for a continuation of these efforts.

Diderot: A Parallel Domain-Specific Language for Image Analysis and Visualization – John Reppy

Event details

  • When: 2nd April 2018 13:00 - 14:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Format: Seminar

Diderot: A Parallel Domain-Specific Language for Image Analysis and Visualization

The analysis of structure in three-dimensional images is increasingly valuable for biomedical research and computational science. At the same time, the computational burden of processing images is increasing as devices produce images of higher resolution (e.g., typical CT scans have gone from 128^3 to roughly 512^3 resolutions). With the latest scanning technologies, it is also more common for the the values measured at each sample to be multi-dimensional rather than a single scalar, which further complicates implementing mathematically correct methods.

Diderot is a domain-specific language (DSL) for programming advanced 3D image visualization and analysis algorithms. These algorithms, such as volume rendering, fiber tractography, and particle systems, are naturally defined as computations over continuous tensor fields that are reconstructed from the discrete image data. Diderot combines a high-level mathematical programming notation based on tensor calculus with an abstract bulk-synchronous parallelism model. Diderot is designed to both enable rapid prototyping of new image analysis algorithms and high performance on a range of parallel platforms.

In this talk, I will give an overview of the design of Diderot and examples of its use. I will then describe aspects of its implementation with a focus on how we translate the notation of tensor calculus to efficient code. I will also briefly discuss the automated techniques we use to validate the correctness of the compilation process.

Diderot is joint work with Gordon Kindlmann, Charisee Chiw, Lamont Samuels, and Nick Seltzer.

John Reppy is a Professor of Computer Science and a Senior Fellow of the Computation Institute at the University of Chicago. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1992 and spent the first eleven years of his career at Bell Labs in Murray Hill NJ. He has been exploring issues in language design and implementation since the late 1980’s, with a focus on higher-order, typed, functional languages. His work includes the invention of Concurrent ML and work on combining object-oriented and functional language features. His current research is on high-level languages for parallel programming, including the Diderot, Manticore, and Nessie projects.