Computational Social Choice: an Overview by Edith Elkind, University of Oxford

Event details

  • When: 15th April 2014 - 15:00
  • Where: Maths Theatre B
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

ABSTRACT
In this talk, we will provide a self-contained introduction to the field of computational social choice – an emerging research area that applies tools and techniques of computer science (most notably, algorithms, complexity and artificial intelligence) to problems that arise in voting theory, fair division, and other subfields of social choice theory. We will give a high-level overview of this research area, and mention some open problems that may be of interest to mathematicians and computer scientists.

The Chomsky-Schutzenberger Theorem for Quantitative Context-Free Languages by Heiko Vogler, University of Dresden

Event details

  • When: 7th April 2014 13:00 - 14:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Format: Seminar

ABSTRACT:
Weighted automata model quantitative aspects of systems like the consumption of resources during executions. Traditionally, the weights are assumed to form the algebraic structure of a semiring, but recently also other weight computations like average have been considered. Here, we investigate quantitative context-free languages over very general weight structures incorporating all semirings, average computations, lattices. In our main result, we derive the Chomsky-Schutzenberger Theorem for such quantitative context-free languages, showing that each arises as the image of a Dyck language and a recognizable language under a suitable morphism.

This is joint work with Manfred Droste (University of Leipzig)

BIOGRAPHY:
Prof. Dr.-Ing-habil. Heiko Vogler received the degree of Doktor in De Technische Wetenschappen at the Technische Hogeschool Twente, The Netherlands in 1986. He achieved the Habilitation in Computer Science at the RWTH Aachen in 1990, was associate professor at the University of Ulm from 1991-1994, and since 1994 he is full professor at the TU Dresden. He received the degree of Doktor honoris causa from the University of Szeged, Hungary in November 2013. His research interests are weighted tree automata and formal models for statistical machine translation of natural languages.

Internet-of-Things (IoT) Technologies for Integrated Smart Cities Applications by Prof John Soldatos

Event details

  • When: 2nd April 2014 13:00 - 14:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Format: Seminar

Title: Internet-of-Things (IoT) Technologies for Integrated Smart Cities Applications

Abstract: The aim of this talk is to illustrate the use of Internet-of-Things (IoT) technologies as building blocks of smart city applications. As a first step the talk will present the pertinence of IoT and smart cities and accordingly it will introduce a range of smart city challenges that could be remedied based on recent advances in IoT technologies. Specifically, we will present how IoT/cloud convergence and IoT semantic interoperability can be used to facilitate the integration of existing silo developments in smart city developments, while at the same time providing new opportunities for innovative applications. The talk will also include the presentation of three practical smart city applications that make use of IoT technologies, notably applications in the areas of smart security, live news and urban planning. These applications are developed in the scope of (on-going) FP7 projects PROACTIVE (FP7-285320), SMART (FP7-287583) and VITAL (FP7- 608682-VITAL) and deployment in European cities (Santander (Spain), Camden/London (UK), Istanbul (Turkey)).

Short bio:
John Soldatos is an Associate Professor at the Athens Information Technology, whose current research interests span the areas of internet-of-things, cloud computing and their (IoT/cloud) convergence in the scope of smart city applications. He holds a BSc. Degree (1996) and a PhD degree (2000) both from the National University of Athens, Greece, and since 1995 he has had very active involvement in more than fifteen (EC co-funded) research projects in the areas of broadband networks, pervasive/cloud computing, and the internet-of-things. He is also the initiator and co-founder of open source projects AspireRFID (http://wiki.aspire.ow2.org) and OpenIoT (https://github.com/OpenIotOrg/openiot). As a result of his research activities, he has published more than 140 papers in international journals and conferences. He has also been an Adjunct Professor at the Information Networking Institute of the Carnegie Mellon University (2007-2010) and a Honorary Research Fellow of the School of Computing of University of Glasgow (March 2014 – May 2015).

The Minister for Universities and Science, David Willtts MP, announced funding of £4.6 million for 21 Digital Transformations in the Arts and Humanities projects as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) investment in Big Data.

On Thursday 6 February 2014 the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willtts MP, announced funding of £4.6 million for 21 Digital Transformations in the Arts and Humanities projects as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) investment in Big Data.
Along with colleagues in the School of Informatics and the Department of English & Scottish Literature in the University of Edinburgh Aaron Quigley and Uta Hinrichs have been awarded one of these grants for the project Palimpsest: an Edinburgh Literary Cityscape. In this project they aim to create a new, visualised literary cityscape, based on an extensive dataset of literary texts. This project has a focus on Edinburgh but the plan is for the techniques, methods and tools to apply to other UNESCO World Cities of Literature or indeed any literary city.
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “Getting quality data out of the hands of a few and into the public domain is an important goal for this Government. This funding will help to overcome the challenge of making vast amounts of rich data more accessible and easier to interpret by the public. These 21 projects promise to come up with innovative long-lasting solutions.” [1]
Palimpsest will be available to an online community of remote visitors, those with an interest in the literature of Scotland and its constituent places who explore the city and its culture from a distance. Palimpsest arises out of the idea of creating an innovative way of engaging people with literature, and drawing on literature’s own dependence on, and engagement with, place and space. Exploration of the relation between urban places and literature first arose in sociology in the mid 19th century.
Professor James Loxley from the University of Edinburgh said “We are looking forward to working with expert colleagues at St Andrews on this project. Palimpsest is all about learning to look at the literary writing of Edinburgh in ways that reveal collective imaginative investments in place and patterns within the work of individual authors. Visualisation is key to this – we want to be able to see the literary city, and the city in literature, in new and exciting ways that are also intuitively comprehensible to users coming to the resource for the first time.”
Professor Andrew Prescott the Digital Transformation theme Leadership Fellow commented; “The exciting projects announced by the Arts and Humanities Research Council illustrate how the arts and humanities can help exploit the opportunities offered by these vast data resources. They cover an amazing range of subject areas, from classical history and more efficient retrieval of information about music to the use of online gambling data for more accurate political analysis. By developing better tools for the visualisation and analysis of data, these projects will have significant impact beyond the arts and humanities and will assist the UK in grasping the economic and social opportunities offered by big data.” [1]

1. AHRC announcement 06/02/2014.

Live stream from the Informatics Forum by Kevin Dorren, CEO of Diet Chef

Event details

  • When: 25th March 2014 18:00 - 19:30
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Format: iVTues Speaker Series


The iV Tuesday Speaker Series features a new programme of talks given by prominent members of the business community. The programme seeks to inspire and motivate those who wish to develop their careers in different directions or have entrepreneurial ambitions.

At the Edge by Alan Dix, University of Birmingham

Event details

  • When: 6th May 2014 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Maths Theatre B
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:
From buying plane tickets to eGovernment, participation in consumer and civic society is predicated on continuous connectivity and copious computation . And yet for many at the edges of society, the elderly, the poor, the disabled, and those in rural areas, poor access to digital technology makes them more marginalised, potentially cut off from modern citizenship. I spent three and half months last summer walking over a thousand miles around the margins of Wales in order to experience more directly some of the issues facing those on the physical edges of a modern nation, who are often also at the social and economic margins. I will talk about some of the theoretical and practical issues raised; how designing software with constrained resources is more challenging but potentially more rewarding than assuming everyone lives with Silicon Valley levels of connectivity.

Bio:
Alan is Professor of Computing at University of Birmingham and Senior Researcher at Talis based in Birmingham, but, when not in Birmingham, or elsewhere lives in Tiree a remote island of the west coast of Scotland.

Alan’s career has included mathematical modelling for agricultural crop sprayers, COBOL programming, submarine design and intelligent lighting. However, he is best known for his work in Human Computer Interaction over three decades including his well known HCI textbook and some of the earliest work in formal methods, mobile interaction, and privacy in HCI. He has worked in posts across the university sector as well as a period as founder director of two dotcom companies, aQtive (1998) and vfridge (2000), which, between them, attracted £850,000 of venture capital funding. He currently works part-time for the University of Birmingham and is on the REF Panel for Computer Science. He also works part-time for Talis, which, inter alia, provides the reading list software used at St Andrews.

His interests and research methods remain, as ever, eclectic, from formal methods, to technical creativity and the modelling of regret. At present he is completing a book, TouchIT, about physicality in design, working with musicologists on next generation digital archives, envisioning how learning analytics can inform and maybe transform university teaching, and working in various projects connected with communication and energy use on Tiree and rural communities.

Last year he completed a walk around Wales as an exploration into technical issues ‘at the edge’, the topic of his seminar.

Highly Deformable Mobile Devices & Future Mobile Phones by Johannes Schöning, Hasselt University

Event details

  • When: 8th April 2014 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Maths Theatre B
  • Format: Seminar

Speaker: Johannes Schöning, Hasselt University
Date/Time: 2-3pm April 8th, 2014
Location: Maths Lecture Theatre B, University of St Andrews

Title: Highly Deformable Mobile Devices & Future Mobile Phones

Abstract:
In the talk I will present the concept of highly deformable mobile devices that can be transformed into various special-purpose controls in order to bring physical controls to mobile devices (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLe52PFZrtc). I will present different interaction techniques enabled by this concept and present results from an in-depth study. Our findings show that these physical controls provide several benefits over traditional touch interaction techniques commonly used on mobile devices. In addition we will give insights on a large-scale study that logged detailed application usage information from over 4,100 users of Android-powered mobile devices.

Bio:
Johannes Schöning is a professor of computer science with a focus on HCI at Hasselt University, working within the Expertise centre for Digital Media (EDM) – the ICT research Institute of Hasselt University. In addition, he is a visiting lecturer at UCL London within the Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Sustainable Cities.

His research interests are new methods and novel mobile interfaces to navigate through spatial information. In general, he develops, designs and tests user interfaces that help people to solve daily tasks more enjoyable and/ or effectively. This includes the development of mobile augmented reality applications, interactive surfaces and tabletops and other “post desktop” interfaces. His research and work was awarded with several prices and awards, such as the ACM Eugene Lawler Award or the Vodafone Research Award for his PhD.  In addition, Johannes serve as a junior fellow of “Gesellschaft für Informatik”.

This seminar is part of our ongoing series from researchers in HCI. See here for our current schedule.

Should Technology be more mindful? by Yvonne Rogers, UCL.

Event details

  • When: 11th March 2014 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Maths Theatre B
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:
We are increasingly living in our digital bubbles. Even when physically together – as families and friends in our living rooms, outdoors and public places – we have our eyes glued to our own phones, tablets and laptops. The new generation of ‘all about me’ health and fitness gadgets, that is becoming more mainstream, is making it worse. Do we really need smart shoes that tell us when we are being lazy and glasses that tell us what we can and cannot eat? Is this what we want from technology – ever more forms of digital narcissism, virtual nagging and data addiction? In contrast, I argue for a radical rethink of our relationship with future digital technologies. One that inspires us, through shared devices, tools and data, to be more creative, playful and thoughtful of each other and our surrounding environments.

Bio:
Yvonne Rogers is a Professor of Interaction Design, the director of UCLIC and a deputy head of the Computer Science department at UCL. Her research interests are in the areas of ubiquitous computing, interaction design and human-computer interaction. A central theme is how to design interactive technologies that can enhance life by augmenting and extending everyday, learning and work activities. This involves informing, building and evaluating novel user experiences through creating and assembling a diversity of pervasive technologies.

This seminar is part of our ongoing series from researchers in HCI. See here for our current schedule.

How human-human dialogue research can lead us to understand speech behaviours in human-computer dialogue: The case of lexical alignment by Benjamin Cowan, University of Birmingham.

Event details

  • When: 25th February 2014 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Maths Theatre B
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:
Dialogue is a dynamic social activity. Research has consistently shown that our dialogue partners impact our speech choices whereby we converge (or align) on aspects such as lexical choice and syntax. With the development of more natural computer dialogue partners and the increase of speech as an interaction modality in many devices and applications, it is important that we understand what impacts how we behave linguistically in such dialogue interactions wth computers. My talk will focus on my current work looking at how design choices and computer partner behaviours affect alignment in human-computer dialogue and how this can inform the theory-based debate over what leads to such a behaviour.

Bio:
Dr Benjamin Cowan is a Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham’s Human-Computer Interaction Centre, based in the School of Computer Science. His research is at the juncture between Psychology and Computer Science, studying how interface design affects user perceptions, emotions and behaviours in human-computer based interactions. Specifically he studies how design and system actions affect user linguistic behaviours as well as the causes and predictors of user anxiety towards social system contributions.