St Andrews HCI Research Group

Welcome to the website for SACHI which aims to act a focal point for human computer interaction research across the University of St Andrews and beyond.

SACHI is the St Andrews Computer Human Interaction research group (a HCI Group) based in the School of Computer Science. Members of SACHI co-supervise research students, collaborate on various projects and activities, share access to research equipment and our HCI laboratory. Established in 2011, we now have a regular seminar series, social activities, summer schools and organise workshops and conferences together. Along with the above links, you can find more news about us here.

News & Events

SACHI Seminar – Professor Alan Dix: Sufficient Reason


Event details

  • When: 16th October 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a

Title:  Sufficient Reason

Abstract:  A job candidate has been pre-selected for shortlist by a neural net; an autonomous car has suddenly changed lanes almost causing an accident; the intelligent fridge has ordered an extra pint of milk.  From the life changing or life threatening to day-to-day living, decisions are made by computer systems on our behalf.  If something goes wrong, or even when the decision appears correct, we may need to ask the question, “why?”  In the case of failures we need to know whether it is the result of a bug in the software,; a need for more data, sensors or training; or simply one of those things: a decision correct in the context, that happened to turn out badly.  Even if the decision appears acceptable, we may wish to understand it for our own curiosity, peace of mind, or for legal compliance.  In this talk I will pick up threads of research dating back to early work in the 1990s on gender and ethnic bias in black-box machine-learning systems, as well as more recent developments such as deep learning and concerns such as those that gave rise to the EPSRC human-like computing programme.  In particular I will present nascent work on an AIX Toolkit (AI explainability): a structured collection of techniques designed to help developers of intelligent systems create more comprehensible representations of the reasoning.  Crucial to the AIX Toolkit is the understanding that human-human explanations are rarely utterly precise or reproducible, but they are sufficient to inspire confidence and trust in a collaborative endeavour.

Speaker biography:  Alan Dix is Director of the Computational Foundry at Swansea University.  Previously he has spent 10 years in a mix of academic and commercial roles, most recently as Professor in the HCI Centre at the University of Birmingham and Senior Researcher at Talis. He has worked in human–computer interaction research since the mid 1980s, and is the author of one of the major international textbooks on HCI as well as of over 450 research publications from formal methods to design creativity, including some of the earliest papers in the HCI literature on topics such as privacy, mobile interaction, and gender and ethnic bias in intelligent algorithms.   Issues of space and time in user interaction have been a long term interest, from his “Myth of the Infinitely Fast Machine” in 1987, to his co-authored book, TouchIT, on physicality in a digital age, due to be published in 2018. Alan organises a twice-yearly workshop, Tiree Tech Wave, on the small Scottish island where he has lived for 10 years, and where he has been engaged in a number of community research projects relating to heritage, communications, energy use and open data.  In 2013, he walked the complete periphery of Wales, over a thousand miles.  This was a personal journey, but also a research expedition, exploring the technology needs of the walker and the people along the way.   The data from this including 19,000 images, about 150,000 words of geo-tagged text, and many giga-bytes of bio-data is available in the public domain as an ‘open science’ resource. Alan’s new role at the Computational Foundry has brought him back to his homeland.  The Computational Foundry is a 30 million pound initiative to boost computational research in Wales with a strong focus on creating social and economic benefit.  Digital technology is at a bifurcation point when it could simply reinforce existing structures of industry, government and health, or could allow us to radically reimagine and transform society.  The Foundry is built on the belief that addressing human needs and human values requires and inspires the deepest forms of fundamental science.  http://alandix.com/


SACHI Seminar – Alyssa Goodman: Visualization and the Universe


Event details

  • When: 12th October 2018 12:00 - 13:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b

Title:  

Visualization and the Universe: How and why astronomers, doctors, and you need to work together to understand the world around us

 

Abstract:

Astronomy has long been a field reliant on visualization. First, it was literal visualization—looking at the Sky. Today, though, astronomers are faced with the daunting task of understanding gigantic digital images from across the electromagnetic spectrum and contextualizing them with hugely complex physics simulations, in order to make more sense of our Universe.   In this talk, I will explain how new approaches to simultaneously exploring and explaining vast data sets allow astronomers—and other scientists—to make sense of what the data have to say, and to communicate what they learn to each other, and to the public.  In particular, I will talk about the evolution of the multi-dimensional linked-view data visualization environment known as glue (glueviz.org) and the Universe Information System called WorldWide Telescope (worldwidetelescope.org).  I will explain how glue is being used in medical and geographic information sciences, and I will discuss its future potential to expand into all fields where diverse, but related, multi-dimensional data sets can be profitably analyzed together.  Toward the aim of bringing the insights to be discussed to a broader audience, I will also introduce the new “10 Questions to Ask When Creating a Visualization” website, 10QViz.org.

 

Speaker biography: Professor Alyssa Goodman, Harvard University

Alyssa Goodman is the Robert Wheeler Willson Professor of Applied Astronomy at Harvard University, and a Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution. Goodman’s research and teaching interests span astronomy, data visualization, and online systems for research and education. Goodman received her undergraduate degree in Physics from MIT in 1984 and a Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard in 1989. Goodman was awarded the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize from the American Astronomical Society in 1997, became full professor at Harvard in 1999, was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2009, and chosen as Scientist of the Year by the Harvard Foundation in 2015. Goodman has served as Chair of the Astronomy Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and on the National Academy’s Board on Research Data and Information, and she currently serves on the both the IAU and AAS Working Groups on Astroinformatics and Astrostatistics. Goodman’s personal research presently focuses primarily on new ways to visualize and analyze the tremendous data volumes created by large and/or diverse astronomical surveys, and on improving our understanding of the structure of the Milky Way Galaxy. She is working closely with colleagues at the American Astronomical Society, helping to expand the use of the WorldWide Telescope program, in both research and in education.


SACHI Seminar: Alessio Malizia – User Experience: a step towards Natural User Interfaces.


Event details

  • When: 7th June 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a

Title: User Experience: a step towards Natural User Interfaces.

Abstract: The road to natural interfaces is still long and we are now witnessing an artificial naturality. These interfaces are natural, in the sense they employ hand gestures, but they are also artificial, because the system designer imposes the set of gestures. In this lecture we will explore together the benefits and issues of Natural User Interfaces.

Speaker biography: Alessio Malizia is a Professor of UX Design at the University of Hertfordshire and a distinguished speaker of the ACM (the international Association for Computer Machinery); he lives in London but is a “global soul” and has been living in Italy, Spain and US. He is the son of a blacksmith, but thereafter all pretensions of manual skills end. Prof. Malizia began his career as a bearded computer scientist at Sapienza – University of Rome and then, after an industrial experience in IBM and Silicon Graphics, moved on with a career in research. He was visiting researcher at the Xerox PARC where he was appreciated for his skills in neural networks (Multilayer Perceptrons) and as peanut butter and chocolate biscuits eater. He worked as Senior Lecturer at Brunel University London and as Associate Professor (and Spanish tapas aficionado) at the University Carlos III of Madrid. Prof Malizia’s research and teaching interests focus on Human-Centred Systems.

He is interested in the design of Ubiquitous Interactive Systems with a special focus on the End-User Development community. He is particularly interested in systems where the physical and digital become seamlessly intertwined producing a new hybrid landscape and the study of problems arising from designing such complex hybrid environments involving collaboration of various disciplines and stakeholders. In his role at the School of Creative Arts at University of Hertfordshire, he is keen to develop novel approaches and attract funding for improving methods to design almost invisible interfaces embedded in a physical environment naturally exploited by users’ innate interaction modalities.