Fully funded Joint PhD (co-tutelle) in Computer Science at University of Primorska (Slovenia) and University of St Andrews (UK) – starting Oct 2019

The Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies at the University of Primorska (UP FAMNIT) is offering one fully-unded PhD scholarship for a planned Joint PhD (co-tutelle) in computer science with University of St Andrews (UK).

The selected candidate will receive a 36-48 month scholarship which includes:

  • Monthly payments of 1,544 € before tax + expenses
  • Research equipment and a working desk.
  • Yearly budget for other research costs for covering fieldwork and conference attendance.
  • Tuition fees at University of Primorska.

NOTE: St. Andrews tuition fees are not covered by this scholarship. For possible exemptions and height of tuition fees visit follow this link. Fees need to be paid during the time at St. Andrews (minimum one year). READ MORE

SACHI sponsor prize at Augmented Reality Summer School Auckland

As an ACM Distinguished Speaker, Professor Quigley was recently invited to deliver a series of lectures in New Zealand on “Novel Interactions in Augmented Reality” and “Discreet Computing” at the “Magic Leap Workshop” (a.k.a. Augmented Reality Summer School February 11th – 15th, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand). To thank the summer school participants, SACHI sponsored a prize (from the Weta Workshop), which Aaron gave to three teams at the AR Summer School.



SACHI and Summer Schools

IUI Summer School in Acre (2018)

The St Andrews Computer Human Interaction research group (SACHI) was established in 2011. Each year our members have been involved in summer or winter schools, either as organisers or participants. Starting from 2011 we organised, with our colleagues across Scotland, the SICSA Multimodal Systems for Digital Tourism summer school here in St Andrews. In 2012, Professor Quigley taught a summer school in Oulu Finland “UbiOulu” on UbiComp and Big Data. In early 2013, Dr. Anne-Marie Mann attended the “Tiree Tech Wave” and later that year we organised another school here in St Andrews called the SICSA summer school on Big Data, Information Visualisation with Professor Adam Barker the director of the Systems Research Group. SICSA further supported this event with a distinguished visiting fellowship for Professor John Stasko, of Georgia Tech, who is now a visiting Professor here in St Andrews.



Keynote in KAIST Korea

Keynote in KAIST, Daejeon

Aaron with two of his co-authors Juyoung Lee and Hyung-il Kim in KAIST.

On February 1st, Professor Quigley delivered an invited talk as part of the ACM Distinguished Speaker Program during the HCI@KAIST International Workshop in KAIST, Daejeon, South Korea.


CUTE Centre Seminar Singapore

Professor Aaron Quigley is currently in Singapore on sabbatical with the CUTE centre. His welcome seminar was on the topic of Discreet Computing and showcased a number of SACHI projects.


SICSA All Hands event welcome CHI 2019 subcommittee chairs to St Andrews.

The SICSA HCI theme has an annual all hands meeting and in 2019, the St Andrews Computer Human Interaction research group (SACHI) is organising and hosting this event in St Andrews today.

This year we took the opportunity to create a unique event where we invited all the subcommittee chairs of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) to join us and present an introduction to their research. Today twenty of these chairs will join nearly 100 HCI researchers from across Scotland. We will have presentations from our visitors from around the world and from across SICSA.


SACHI Seminar: Jason Alexander (Lancaster University) – What would you do if you could touch your data?

Event details

  • When: 29th November 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a

Title:  What would you do if you could touch your data?

Abstract: Data Physicalizations are physical artefacts whose geometry or material properties encode data. They bring digital datasets previously locked behind 2D computer screens out into the physical world, enabling exploration, manipulation, and understanding using our rich tactile senses. My work explores the design and construction of dynamic data physicalizations, where users can interact with physical datasets that dynamically update. I will describe our data physicalization vision and show our progress on designing, building, and evaluating physicalizations and discuss the many exciting challenges faced by this emerging field.

Speaker biography:  Jason is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Computing and Communications at Lancaster University. He has a BSc(Hons) and PhD in Computer Science from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and was previously a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Bristol. His research is broadly in Human-Computer Interaction, with a particular interest in developing novel interactive systems to bridge the physical-digital divide. His recent work focuses on the development of shape-changing interfaces—surfaces that can dynamically change their geometry based on digital content—and their application to data physicalization. He also has interests in digital fabrication and novel haptic interaction techniques.

SACHI Seminar – Professor Anirudha Joshi: The story of Swarachakra – Cracking the puzzle of text input in Indian languages

Event details

  • When: 29th October 2018 15:00 - 16:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a

Title: The story of Swarachakra – Cracking the puzzle of text input in Indian languages

Abstract: There was a time when text input in Indian languages was called a ‘puzzle’. People found it so difficult that became a barrier that prevented them from using most other technology products, from doing common tasks such as searching the web or saving a contact. As a result, Indians typed very little in their own languages. The Roman script (in which we write English) is an Alphabet. In contrast, a large majority of Indian scripts are Abugidas – a different type of scripts. In our lab, we were convinced that we need different solutions – what works for Alphabets may not work for Abugidas. Over the years we explored several designs. Our early solutions were for desktop computers. Later we developed concepts for the feature phones. We tried several creative ideas and made prototypes. We got interesting results in the lab. We published papers and case studies. But beyond that, we could not reach out and make a difference to the end-users. Then smartphones arrived, and quickly became popular. It became relatively easier to develop and deploy keyboards. Again, we tried several ideas. One solution stood out in comparison with others. We called it “Swarachakra”. Today, Swarachakra is available for 12 Indian languages and has been downloaded by about 4 million users. What was the problem, and how was it solved? And what challenges remain? Come to the talk to find out.

Speaker biography: Anirudha Joshi is professor in the interaction design stream in the IDC School of Design, IIT Bombay, India, though currently he is on a sabbatical, visiting universities in the UK. His specialises in design of interactive products for emergent users in developing economies. He has worked in diverse domains including healthcare, literacy, Indian language text input, banking, education, industrial equipment, and FMCG packaging. Anirudha also works in the area of integrating HCI activities with software engineering processes. He has developed process models, tools, and metrics to help HCI practitioners deliver a better user experience. Anirudha is active with HCI communities in India and outside. He has chaired in various roles in several conferences including India HCI, INTERACT and CHI. Since 2007, he represents India on IFIP TC13. He is the founding director of HCI Professionals Association of India since 2013. Since 2015 he is the Liaison for India for the ACM SIGCHI Asian Development Committee. Since 2016, he has been the VP Finance of the ACM SIGCHI Executive Committee. Anirudha has diverse backgrounds. He is a BTech (1989) in Electrical Engineering, an MDes (1992), in Visual Communication Design, and a PhD (2011) in Computer Science and Engineering, all from IIT Bombay.

Cultural Heritage in the Age of Technology – IUI Summer School 2018

Iain Carson attends IUI Summer School in Haifa

The old city of Jaffa, Tel Aviv, at sunset

I was recently fortunate enough to be accepted to the Intelligent User Interfaces Summer School in Haifa, Israel – a series of talks and workshops encouraging generation of ideas and collaborations in the era of IoT and smart environments, with consideration for the use of technology in cultural heritage as a focal point for the presentations and discussions.

As there is no direct flight between Edinburgh and Israel, I arrived keen yet bleary-eyed in Tel Aviv at 4.30am just a couple of days before the conference; just enough time to recover and get to grips with the country before having to check in at the workshop.

Narrow streets of Jaffa

Tel Aviv greeted me with wall to wall sunshine and a scorching air temperature of 30degC. My explorations of the ancient city of Jaffa (the oranges were really grown here, but the cakes are just riding on their fame) showed me that Israel is a country proud of both its incredible history and its technological prowess.

In Jaffa, the stone-clad, narrow streets of the old town create a winding labyrinth built on foundations of the ancient Egyptians, modifications of the Israelites, then Phoenicians, further fortifications from the Ottoman Empire, elements of destruction at the hand of Napoleon, all falling through dereliction to be processed by modern rehabilitation efforts. Amongst the art and architecture sit bakeries, a sprawling flea market and numerous falafel kiosks, many observing a strict closing at midday on Fridays to celebrate Shabbat. Somehow, these layers of a rich Arabian history embedded in the crumbling stonework sit in stark contrast to the Silicon Valley-esque ideals one may have on the origin of Israel’s numerous internationally-recognised tech start-ups, which include Waze, Wix, Viber, Gett and Cortica, and the Israeli-only but nonetheless impressive Pango.

With its rich cultural heritage and strong tech foundations, Israel is a fitting location for the IUI summer school and its focus on the use of technology in cultural heritage.

Introduction to Acre

The summer school took part in Haifa, some 90km North of Tel Aviv, at the University of Haifa. With the air-conditioning set to max, we attended a series of stimulating talks by researchers from around the world. Topics covered a broad range of technologies, not exhaustively from “smart objects” in museums (presented by Massimo Zancanaro) to blind navigation aids (Jeremy Cooperstock), robots (Cristina Gena) to relics, and city-guide drones (Jessica Cauchard) to animal interfaces (Anna Zamansky). Even with such diversity, all talks were tailored to prime our minds for the pinnacle task of the summer school – working in small groups to ideate, design and present a realistic technological research proposal. We were encouraged to consider how cutting-edge technology may improve accessibility and engagement with cultural heritage, and after an afternoon brainstorming we were left with a real feeling of excitement for the task ahead.

Acre’s ancient sea wall

The next day, an excursion to the UNESCO world Heritage site Acre demonstrated some excellent applications of technology in cultural heritage, where projectors, sound systems, interactive displays and some beautiful visual effects provided new pathways for our minds and senses to navigate between the physical and the information space. We were encouraged to think strongly about how our ideas and developments may be used in such contexts, but equally to learn from the (hit and miss) effectiveness of such technologies in the wild, which may influence our decisions.

Group presentation of SHIP – the Special Hecht Interaction Playground

It became clear that while good tech can increase engagement and enrichen the museum experience, poorly implemented interfaces can be tedious enough to elicit frustration, or so stimulating that they distract altogether from the exhibit, defeating their purpose.

With the talks and first-hand experience in mind, our group of 5, representing an age range of 30 years and spanning multiple nationalities, settled on the presentation of a series of interactive podiums and a collaborative exploration table for the Ma’agan Mikhael ancient ship exhibition

Sarona Market – not your average Arabian flea market!

A lot of work went into the presentation of the idea, and we hope to develop the foundations into a project proposal and framework for improving child engagement with non-physical or ancient exhibitions through roleplaying in a collaborative, gamified environment.

After the presentations I was left to explore the towering skyscrapers of new Tel Aviv, navigating the shopping malls and their app-powered coffee and burger chains to acquire yet another perspective on this inspiring culture.

Alongside my undeniable tan and plethora of new contact details, my week in Israel had left me with plenty to think about on my journey back to a sunny, yet undeniably chilly, Edinburgh.

My sincere thanks go to SIGCHI, School of Computer Science and the ACM for the financial and logistical assistance in travelling to and staying in Israel, enabling such an excellent experience.

Everyone at the IUI Summer School in Acre

SACHI members to attend womENcourage ’18, IEEE VL/HCC ’18, ACM UbiComp ’18, ACM UIST ’18, ISMAR ’18 and IEEE VIS ’18 this month.

This month nine different members of SACHI will be travelling to Belgrade, Lisbon, Singapore, Berlin and Munich to attend womENcourage ’18, VL/HCC ’18, UbiComp 2018, UIST 2018, ISMAR 2018 and IEEE VIS 2018.

womENcourage ’18

At the start of October Maheshya and Adrianna will attend womENcourage ’18 in Belgrade. Adrianna is posters co-chair in 2018 and serves on the steering committee for this conference series. Maheshya will present two posters on “Novel Technologies in Teaching and Learning towards Enhanced Knowledge Retention” Maheshya Weerasinghe, Matjaž Kljun, Klen Čopič Pucihar and Aaron Quigley and “An Active Video Game Based Lower Limb Rehabilitation Approach to Assist Children with Cerebral Palsy” Maheshya Weerasinghe. Adrianna is involved with a further two posters on “Self-Flip: How Learning through Making Can Flip the Classroom” Anna Vasilchenko and Adriana Wilde and the “Impact of Design Decisions in Information Visualization: two takes on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites dataset” Paulina Busch, Eszter Kocsis and Adriana Wilde.

VL/HCC ’18

From Oct 1st Daniel will be in Lisbon to present two papers. First, a paper “Towards end-user development for chronic disease management” Rough, DJ & Quigley, AJ 2018, in Designing Technologies to Support Human Problem Solving: A Workshop in Conjunction with VL/HCC 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal, Oct. 1, 2018. After this Daniel is presenting a full paper entitled “End-user development in social psychology research: factors for adoption.” Rough, DJ & Quigley, AJ 2018, at the IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC 2018). in Lisbon, Portugal.

Ubicomp and ISWC ’18

From October 7th, Aaron and Tristan will be attending Ubicomp 2018 in Singapore. Tristan will present “How portable is portable? Exercising the GDPR’s Right to Data Portability” Proceedings of the Fourth International Workshop on Legal and Technical Issues in Cloud and Pervasive Computing (CLaw 2018) collocated with Ubicomp. While Aaron will give a talk on “Becoming a Volunteer at ACM SIGCHI and SIGMOBILE”, register here.