SRG Seminar: “On Engineering Unikernels” by Ward Jaradat

Event details

  • When: 15th March 2018 13:00 - 14:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Series: Systems Seminars Series
  • Format: Seminar

We have explored data coordination techniques that permit distributed systems to be constructed by interconnecting services. In such systems the network latency is often a problem. For example, large data volumes might have to be transmitted across the network if computation cannot be co-located close to data sources. One solution to this problem is the ability to deploy services in appropriate geographical locations and compose them together to create distributed ecosystems. Hence we seek to be able to deploy such services rapidly and dynamically enact and orchestrate them. However, this goal is hindered by the size of the deployments. Currently, virtual machine appliances that host such services on top of monolithic kernels are very large, thus are potentially slow to deploy as they may need to be transmitted across a network.

Our principles led us to take the route of re-engineering the standard software stack to create self-contained applications that are less-bloated and consequently much smaller based on Unikernels. Unikernels are compact library operating systems that enable a single application to be statically linked against a simple kernel that manages the underlying resources presented by a hypervisor. In this talk I will present Stardust – a specialised Unikernel that aims to support the deployment of application services based on the Java programming language.

Funding success for characterizing the adoption of ORCID ID in academic communities

Alex Voss from the School of Computer Science and Anna Clements and Eva Borger from the University Library have been awarded funding by OCLC for a 1-year project titled “Characterizing the adoption of ORCID ID in academic communities”.

ORCID iDs are persistent digital identifiers that distinguish researchers and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, support automated linkages between individuals and their professional activities ensuring that their work is recognized and attributed.

The funded project, which began in March, expands on a pilot study carried out in 2017 by Eva as part of her MSc dissertation project, which investigated the adoption and use of ORCID iDs among researchers at the University of St Andrews and identified key use cases and new avenues for advocacy.

The team now aim to carry out similar surveys at other institutions that integrate ORCID iDs and build a bigger picture of how advocacy, institutional processes and mandates relate to the adoption of ORCID iDs in academic communities. Based on these findings, they plan to formulate recommendations on how advocacy and policies regarding ORCID iDs can be employed to maximise their value in the research process.

Alex Voss has a related MSc dissertation, Consolidating Output and Citations Data, for students interested in this particular project or research area.

If you would like to find out more about ORCID iDs at the University of St Andrews, visit their ORCID pages. For more information about the project, please contact Alex Voss at or visit the ORCID study blog for ongoing updates.

Scholarships and bursaries: student perspectives and experiences

Applying to study at university includes many financial considerations. Scholarships and bursaries can help reward academic achievement and provide financial awards enabling students to undertake or further their education. Students in Computer Science have secured a variety of bursaries to help fund their passion for the subject. Successful undergraduate and postgraduate student perspectives are highlighted below.

Sherlock Cruz , the first recipient of The London Scholarship reflected on his time at St Andrews and how scholarships can transform lives. The scholarship encourages young students from the Greater London area to study at St Andrews by equipping them with accommodation and living costs.

The School is fortunate in receiving on-going support from Adobe for undergraduate students studying Computer Science by way of Adobe Prize Bursaries. Successful applicants receive an award each year for the duration of their degree.

Henry Hargreaves was the successful recipient of a Royal Television Society Technology Bursary. The bursary encourages the most talented Engineering and Computer Sciences undergraduates to consider a career in television.

Royal Television Society Bursary: Henry Hargreaves

Alice Herbison secured a Carnegie-Cameron Bursary to support postgraduate study enabling her to undertake our MSc in Human Computer Interaction.

Carnegie-Cameron Taught Postgraduate Bursaries 2013

Arkwright Awards for budding young engineers nurtures high-potential A-level and Scottish Advanced Higher students who have a desire to be future leaders in engineering disciplines, including computing, software, communications and product design. More information on Arkwright engineering awards and who can apply can be located on their website.

Arkwright Awards for budding young engineers

The scholarships and funding catalogue has up-to-date information on eligibility for undergraduate and postgraduate applicants.

SACHI Seminar: Matjaž Kljun – Large scale studies of habit changing interface design

Event details

  • When: 12th April 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Format: Seminar

SACHI Seminar – Large scale studies of habit changing interface design

Speaker: Matjaž Kljun


Various technologies can be used in persuading people to change their habits, behaviours or attitudes. Such technologies are defined as persuasive and they are used in a variety of fields such as marketing, public health and education.

We are daily exposed to persuasion through different visualizations and triggers on all our devices. For example, a social networking application tries to persuade us in opening the app with a push notification and once the app is opened other hooks are placed so we spend more time in it. However, such applications are usually installed by us and we are inclined in using them. But could we persuade highly busy professionals in completing a training course or just about everybody to read terms of service? We will discuss these issues through large-scale studies that have been in done in the wild.

Speaker biography:  Matjaž Kljun is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies at University of Primorska and is co-directing the HICUP lab (Humans Interacting with Computers at University of Primorska) and a research associate at the Faculty of Information studies, Slovenia. He received his Ph.D. degree in computer science from Lancaster University, UK. His research interests span across various fields related to Human-Computer Interaction, Personal Information Management and the use of technologies in teaching and learning.

SACHI Seminar: Klen Čopič Pucihar – The Missing Interface: Micro Gestures on Objects for Augmented Reality Interaction

Event details

  • When: 12th April 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Format: Seminar

SACHI Seminar – The Missing Interface: Micro Gestures on Objects for Augmented Reality Interaction

Speaker: Klen Čopič Pucihar


Augmented reality technology can introduce digital elements to arbitrary objects. However, these objects were never designed to incorporate the digital component, hence do not provide the necessary interface. To overcome this limitation, AR Interaction systems add sensors to objects, use additional handheld hardware or perform hand and body tracking. These methods are not optimal for direct interaction with physical objects  because they:

  • require modification of existing objects,
  • require the the user to hold the controller in their hand,
  • are based on synthesis of captured RGB or RGB-D data streams imposing the following limitations: (i) gestures need to be performed within the view of the camera; (ii) the gestures include reasonable large hand or finger movements (e.g. pinching the fingers, blooming gesture of opening the palm; (iii) the hand performing gesture is not occluded (e.g. cannot detect gestures if performed whilst grasping an object).

In this talk Klen will look at alternative methods which try to overcome such limitations and make inconspicuous, precise and flexible object oriented interaction possible for both augmented and mediated reality applications.

Speaker Biography

Klen Čopič Pucihar is assistant professor at the Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies at University of Primorska. Klen’s research vision is to look for new ways in which one could augmented, modify and mediate rich sources of visual, auditory and tactile stimuli that fabricate our everyday life experiences. The goal is to augment human abilities with new ways of using computational resources. This is important because the interface presents itself as the bottleneck between us humans and the benefit ever increasing computational resources could have on our everyday life. This makes the interfaces the core challenge for the future and the essence of Klen’s research which is currently mainly concentrated on augmented reality, mobile computing and human-computer interaction focusing on different perceptual issues that arise whilst interacting with various computer systems which lead to innovative user interface designs. Klen’s work was published as high ranked scientific publications and won him best poster award at ISMAR 2014.

St Andrews – University of Primorska co-tutelle in Computer Science

The University of St Andrews and Primorska are soon to agree to award a joint degree with the title of Doctor of Philosophy (on condition that the joint PhD study programme in Computer Science will gain accreditation of the Slovenian Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education). This represents the culmination of many months of effort from Drs Matjaž Kljun, Klen Čopič Pucihar and Professor Aaron Quigley. Aaron and Matjaž first met at the UMAP conference in 2011 in Spain as mentor and mentee in the PhD doctoral program. Since then, Matjaž and Klen who undertook their PhDs in the University of Lancaster have returned to Slovenia to establish and exciting program of HCI research and development in the HICUP lab. In 2017 a program of international support (Slovenian/English) allowed them to invite Aaron to Slovenia for three weeks and this has resulted in a number of join grant submissions and the establishment of this co-tutelle program. We look forward to many years collaborating and we look forward to this new PhD student starting later this year.

VISSOFT 2018 Keynote by Professor Aaron Quigley

Aaron will be a keynote speaker at the IEEE VISSOFT 2018 conference later this year. “The sixth IEEE Working Conference on Software Visualization (VISSOFT 2018) builds upon the success of the previous four editions of VISSOFT, which in turn followed after six editions of the IEEE International Workshop on Visualizing Software for Understanding and Analysis (VISSOFT) and five editions of the ACM Symposium on Software Visualization (SOFTVIS). Software visualization is a broad research area encompassing concepts, methods, tools, and techniques that assist in a range of software engineering and software development activities. Covered aspects include the development and evaluation of approaches for visually analyzing software and software systems, including their structure, execution behaviour, and evolution.”

Mensch-und-Computer 2019 Keynote by Professor Aaron Quigley

Professor Aaron Quigley will be a keynote speaker at the Mensch-und-Computer conference 2019 in Hamburg Germany in September of 2019. This series of symposia takes place each year in different German-speaking countries. This is one of the largest HCI conferences in Europe each year with over 700 delegates from industry and academia. Usability Professionals and Scientists come together in a multi-track program with long papers, short contributions, demos, tutorials and workshops. Submissions are possible in German and English.