Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship for Nguyen Dang

Congratulations to Dr Nguyen Dang, who has been awarded a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship. The 3 year Fellowships are intended to assist those at an early stage of their academic careers to undertake a significant piece of publishable work. Nguyen will be researching Constraint-based automated generation of synthetic benchmark instances.

Abstract summary: “Combinatorial problems such as routing or timetabling are ubiquitous in society, industry, and academia. In the quest to develop algorithms to solve these problems effectively, we need benchmark instances. An instance is an example of the problems at hand for testing how well an algorithm performs. Having rich benchmarks of instances is essential for algorithm developers to gain understanding about the strengths and weaknesses of their approaches, and ensure successful applications in practice. This fellowship will provide a fully automated system for generating valid and useful synthetic benchmark instances based on a constraint modelling pipeline that supports several algorithmic techniques.”

Winnability of Klondike Solitaire research features in Major Nelson’s video podcast

Research carried out by Charlie Blake and Ian Gent to compute the approximate odds of winning any version of solitaire features in Major Nelson’s Video Podcast [Interview with Ian and Charlie starts 23:56] for XBox news today.

Today is National Solitaire Day and the 30th anniversary of the game. The celebrations include an invitation to participate in a record breaking attempt at the most games of Microsoft Solitaire completed in one day. You can download the collection free or play it through your browser.

The Klondike Solitaire research also featured in the New Scientist last year.
Link to the full paper on arxiv: https://arxiv.org/abs/1906.12314

Online article published in Technology Nov 17th 2019: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2223643-we-finally-know-the-odds-of-winning-a-game-of-solitaire/

Professor Simon Dobson elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE)

Congratulations to Head of School Simon Dobson who has been elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh for his exceptional achievements in science. This prestigious award recognises expertise which supports the “advancement of learning and knowledge in Scottish public life”. The RSE established in 1783, plays a leading role in “the development of a modern enlightenment that will enable Scotland to contribute significantly to addressing the global challenges facing humanity in the 21st Century”. The RSE announced its newly-elected 2020 Fellows on Tuesday, describing Fellows as “leading thinkers and experts from Scotland and around the world whose work has a significant impact on our nation”.

Simon works on adaptive systems, especially those driven by sensors. He has concentrated recently on how to make robust decisions from sensor data as the sensor system degrades, which is a critical foundation for making best use of the torrent of data coming from the “Internet of Things”. He is also interested in complex processes such as how epidemics spread in a population and how urban transport networks function, where mathematical models need to be complemented by repeatable and validated computational experiments that pose a major software challenge.

The Serums Project Consortium meeting

This Week Dr Juliana Bowles brought together nine leading academic and industry partners for the 4th Consortium meeting for the Serums project.

The project aims to produce tools and technologies to support future-generation healthcare systems that will integrate home-based healthcare into a holistic treatment plan, reducing cost and travel-associated risks and increasing quality of healthcare provision.

For further information on the project visit the Serums website

Image and text provided by Annemarie Paton

Georgios Gerasimou (University of St Andrews): Frontiers in computational revealed preference analysis

Event details

  • When: 17th February 2020 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

RESCHEDULED: please note the changed date and a non-standard time!

Abstract: Prest is a recently published piece of open-source software for computational revealed preference analysis that provides novel ways to estimate decision makers’ preferences over choice alternatives by analysing their observable choice behaviour. This software is informed by classic as well as recent developments in economic revealed preference theory. Some of the recent developments take the form of models that are computationally complex. This complexity currently hinders the inclusion of these models in the Prest toolkit. The presentation will first aim to describe the primary ideas underpinning Prest and illustrate them with examples from its existing toolkit. It will then proceed with a discussion of some of the challenges pertaining to the expansion of that toolkit with more models and operations. The presentation will be self-contained and no prior background in economics will be necessary.

Speaker Bio: Georgios is a Reader in Economics at the University of St Andrews, working mainly on decision theory and revealed preference analysis. In the latter research programme, Georgios’ work aims to improve our understanding of people’s decision processes and preferences through theoretical, experimental/empirical as well as computational methods. Georgios co-developed the Prest software program for computational revealed preference analysis (https://prestsoftware.com/).

Philippe Palanque (University of Toulouse): Harnessing Usability, UX and Dependability for Interactions in Safety Critical Contexts

Event details

  • When: 3rd February 2020 11:00 - 12:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: SACHI Seminar Series, School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract: Innovation and creativity are the research drivers of the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) community which is currently investing a vast amount of resources in the design and evaluation of “new” user interfaces and interaction techniques, leaving the correct functioning of these interfaces at the discretion of the helpless developers. In the area of formal methods and dependable systems the emphasis is usually put on the correct functioning of the system leaving its usability to secondary-level concerns (if at all addressed). However, designing interactive systems requires blending knowledge from these domains in order to provide operators with enjoyable, usable and dependable systems. The talk will present possible research directions and their benefits for combining several complementary approaches to engineer interactive critical systems. Due to their specificities, addressing this problem requires the definition of methods, notations, processes and tools to go from early informal requirements to deployed and maintained operational interactive systems. The presentation will highlight the benefits of (and the need for) an integrated framework for the iterative design of operators’ procedures and tasks, training material and the interactive system itself. The emphasis will be on interaction techniques specification and validation as their design is usually the main concern of HCI conferences. A specific focus will be on automation that is widely integrated in interactive systems both at interaction techniques level and at application level. Examples will be taken from interactive cockpits on large civil commercial aircrafts (such as the A380), satellite ground segment application and Air Traffic Control workstations.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Philippe Palanque is Professor in Computer Science at the University Toulouse 3 “Paul Sabatier” and is head of the Interactive Critical Systems group at the Institut de Recherche en Informatique de Toulouse (IRIT) in France. Since the late 80s he has been working on the development and application of formal description techniques for interactive system. He has worked for more than 10 years on research projects to improve interactive Ground Segment Systems at the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and is also involved in the development of software architectures and user interface modeling for interactive cockpits in large civil aircraft (funded by Airbus). He was involved in the research network HALA! (Higher Automation Levels in Aviation) funded by SESAR programme which targets at building the future European air traffic management system. The main driver of Philippe’s research over the last 20 years has been to address in an even way Usability, Safety and Dependability in order to build trustable safety critical interactive systems. He is the secretary of the IFIP Working group 13.5 on Resilience, Reliability, Safety and Human Error in System Development, was steering committee chair of the CHI conference series at ACM SIGCHI and chair of the IFIP Technical Committee 13 on Human-Computer Interaction.