Friday, March 27, 2009

Mar 2009 Holiday! What holiday?

March 15 - 21st was a week of CAPSIL events in the USA which I've blogged about previously. The week after was intended as a family holiday week. However due to various deadlines and upcoming events I had to slot in some work tasks along the way. Looking back at what I did this week made me realise I accomplished more "work" tasks during my holidays than most people do in a good work week. Normally I try to disconnect but I think this blend of holiday activity and work (during travel times) worked out quite well. Sweden is a big place so there were lots of opportunities while travelling from A to B.

Ice Hotel

The first part of the week was spent in Kiruna mainly at the Ice Hotel. We got to go hiking, dog sledding, sleeping in our Ice Room and drinking in the Ice Bar along with other activities. Some of these pics are below.


During the week I worked on the final versions of my contributions to an EU FP7 grant submission. Along with colleagues in 8 European countries we are submitting a request for a new support action. Some late evenings were required and work on trains and flights but the new workpackages look very strong.

COST action

In parallel to the FP7 submission I also submitted a pre-proposal to the COST framework. Following a number of past events and special journal issues a set of academics around Europe and the world came to the realise we need the support a COST action can offer to help develop the field of multi-device surface user interfaces. A Surface User Interface is a class of user interface that relies on a self illuminated (e.g. LCD, PDA or iPhone) or projected horizontal, vertical or spherical interactive surface (e.g. a touch-screen or video wall) tied with the control of computation in the same physical surface. New applications with interfaces that transcend one device onto a class of other devices (i.e. multi-device surface user interfaces) are now emerging. When one considers applications that support multi-device, multi-touch or multi-hand (e.g. an iPhone working with a Microsoft Surface or a PDA working with a public touch-screen) then the underlying interface assumptions break down. There are real problems in terms of knowledge of suitable design, seamless operation, coupling, gesture interaction, middleware, interaction design, usability study and evaluation. Sharing and documenting knowledge for all around these problems is the central goal of our very timely proposal. Take for example Ann Morrison in HITT who has been involved in the FP6 Integrated project on Interaction and Presence in Urban Environments called IPCity. Last year she presented some of their group work at PPD08 in Naples and with a support like this COST action we can have student and researcher exchange to work with their very novel systems and setup in Helsinki. This is but one example of the many projects ongoing in this space.

Spring Summit Umeå Institute of Design

Later in the week, thanks to a tweet from an Interaction Designer I hired for TRIL on the Umeå Institute of Design I discovered they were having a conference called "Sensing And Sensuality" the day I was in town. This spring summit 2009 was held on Friday March 27, 2009 at 10:00 and was hosted by the Umeå Institute of Design & Tellart. Sadly I couldn't attend the entire day but I got to hear some very interesting presentations from speakers including, Mikael Wiberg on “Interaction & Textures”, Matt Cottam from Tellart & Rhode Island School of Design and Lennart Andersson on “Industrial Design meets Interaction Design”. There were many pragmatic design solutions presented along with a number of artistic endeavours. Having just come from the Ice Hotel in Kiruna I wasn't convinced by Mikael Wiberg's talk on their work with the Ice Bar in Copenhagen "Purity with a twist". The idea is interesting but blending low-res led displays with the amazing ice cut from the Torne river struck me as Neanderthal Man making "art" on cave walls with stone. It's art but this attempt to blend the digital and the physical is sadly misguided. There was also too much focus on the invisibility of pervasive systems. As a community I think we have come to realise we need "invisibility in action" not literal invisibility to progress our user interfaces. Other talks on interaction design and industrial design struck a better cord with me.

Research Assistant

[ Academic Jobs EU advert ]

My advert for a new research assistant also required my attention during this week and went live towards the end of the week.
I am looking for a Research Assistant for a 20 month period to work on 'Tabletop, Mobile and Interactive Surfaces". This is a funded research project and based in UCD School of Computer Science and Informatics working with me based in the Complex and Adaptive Systems Laboratory.
This project forms the first part of a phased program of research exploring the role of tabletop computing along with coupled public and private displays in rehabilitation, gaming and computer supported corporative work. The research assistant is expected to explore questions posed by the project lead and other team members. A large component of this post will be the development of research prototypes, using off the shelf development toolkits along with contributing to our open source developments in this area. Strong programming skills along with the ability to work with software and hardware co-design. The research assistant is further expected to support and maintain the tabletop physical hardware systems in place within the CASL along with developing new forms of system is called upon in the course of this research.

LoCA 2009

Over the past two weeks I've been working with Springer Verlag on getting the final copy correct for the proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Location and Context Awareness (LoCA) which will be held on May 7–8, 2009 in Tokyo, Japan. Location and context awareness are fundaments to next-generation mobile and pervasive computing systems. Pervasive computing is a model of computing in which computation is everywhere and computer functions are integrated into everything. The ultimate aim is to make information, applications and services available anywhere and at anytime in the human environment in a fluid manner appropriate to our current context. In addition to working on the final copy of the proceedings I announced our keynote Dr. Atsushi Shionozak's title and abstract on our website. The title of his keynote will be From PlaceEngine to Location Amplifier: Rolling Out Commercial Location Based Services.


So the lesson is I need to leave my laptop at home if I want to relax I suppose? However, given these deadlines and the fact I'm involved in collaborative research efforts this week required me online. The other way to look at this is I need to take more holidays to boost my productivity!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mar 2009 New Pervasive and Autonomic Research Papers

Congrats to my postgraduate student Ross Shannon and postdoctoral colleague Emil Vassev on their recent success with 3 new papers from our group.

Ross is coming towards the end of his doctoral studies. His emerging interest in pervasive advertising [ 1,2 ] stems from his desire to explore novel methods in the commercialisation of his research after his PhD.

In this regard Ross, along with some of his peers, are taking part in a Campus Company Development Programme this year around "pervasive advertising". The NovaUCD Campus Company Development Programme (CCDP) is a part-time enterprise support initiative designed to suit the timetable of busy researchers and academics. It comprises a mix of practical training and consultancy support including 12 half-day workshops, one-to-one advice and consultancy meetings, and a series of networking events.

Ross will already be in Japan along with myself and others from the SRG in UCD as we have a full paper in the main conference [ 5 ]. Ross is already an accomplished entrepreneur with some of his web endeavours having thousands of visitors per week [ 3 ].

Emil joined us here in UCD late last year and is already making his presence felt with numerous new collaborations and many research papers submitted. Emil will be going to the NASA Ames Conference Center, Moffett Field, California, USA to present [ 4 ] our paper related to his research in Autonomic Computing with Lero.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mar 2009 Hiring a Surface Computing research assistant

(updated March 13th 2009)

Research Assistant – Human Computer Interfaces
Post Duration 20 Months

A Research Assistant is sought for a 20 month period to work on 'Tabletop, Mobile and Interactive Surfaces", a funded research project and based in UCD School of Computer Science and Informatics with Dr. Aaron Quigley based in the Complex and Adaptive Systems Laboratory. NOTE: The formal advertisement for this will go online in the coming weeks so I will update this post with links to the UCD advertisement and application process then.

This project forms the first part of a phased program of research exploring the role of tabletop computing along with coupled public and private displays in rehabilitation, gaming and computer supported corporative work. The research assistant is expected to explore questions posed by the project lead and other team members. A large component of this post will be the development of research prototypes, using off the shelf development toolkits along with contributing to our open source developments in this area. Strong programming skills along with the ability to work with software and hardware co-design. The research assistant is further expected to support and maintain the tabletop physical hardware systems in place within the CASL along with developing new forms of system as called upon in the course of this research.

Recent developments have seen the wide spread proliferation of both large shared displays and small display technologies. In parallel we have seen the emergence of new classes of device which support both touch or multi touch interaction. Examples of small touch driven devices include PDAs, Tablets and iPhones and examples of large interactive surfaces (mutli-touch driven displays) include the Diamondtouch and Microsoft Surface Computing. Interactive surfaces offer great potential for face-to-face work and social interaction and provide natural ways to directly manipulate virtual objects whereas small devices afford the individual a personal workspace or "scratch space" to formulate ideas before bringing them to a wider audience. Advanced visual interfaces can be built around a combination of both private and public touch driven displays. Such computer mediated multi-device interaction between local touch-driven displays and shared public ones presents a number of novel and challenging research problems.

The Research Assistant will work under the direction of the Project Leader, Dr Aaron Quigley. Candidates for the position must have an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, Software Engineering or Computer Engineering. Demonstrated experience with hardware or image or video processing is a plus. The post would suit an exceptional recent graduate or a graduate with 1-3 years development experience. Given the highly specialised nature of this research, candidates are not expected to have development experience with tabletop or surface computing, however demonstrated experience with the development of novel or exceptional user interfaces is a plus.

Candidates should have very good research skills, an ability to work independently to a tight schedule, and experience in writing and editing reports. The appointment may begin on the 1st of June 2009. The project will be managed by Dr. Aaron Quigley and collaborations with CLARITY researchers may form part of this project going forward. The annual salary for this post is €26,000 - €29,000 per annum.

Please note that although the job is based in Dublin there will be opportunities to travel for conferences and collaborative activities elsewhere (travel and accommodation provision will be made for this.)

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

  • Responsible for the development of demonstrator or proof of concept prototypes will tabletop systems.
  • Responsible for maintenance, support and development of the tabletop hardware systems in this project.
  • Responsible for developing high quality code (suitable for open source release), as well as stand-alone proof-of-concepts and prototypes on mobile platforms (eg. iPhone).
  • Responsible for developing multi-device (coupled) applications software and robust prototypes.
  • Writing standards-compliant APIs.
  • Work with other team members, including postgraduate, postdoctoral and researchers as directed by the project lead.

Selection Criteria

  • Degree in Computer Science, Software Engineering or Computer
  • Strong programming skills.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Strong understanding of interfaces.
  • The ablity to adapt to changing priorities and to thrive in a fast-paced work environment.
  • Fluency in the English language.


  • Experience with hardware or image or video processing.
  • Understanding of basics of Usability, Human Computer Interaction, and Design Guidelines.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mar 2009 NCOA Panel Las Vegas

[ See Details ] Along with colleagues from around the world we are having a panel on Technologies for Successful Aging at the Aging in America Conference in Las Vegas on March 17th. While my family and friends are enjoying St. Patrick's day in Ireland, I'll be busy at work at this conference and panel! I will also be busy with a series of one on one meetings on the 16th and morning of the 17th with researchers and others interested in our roadmap and CAPSILs of knowledge. I'm seeing at least one St. Patrick's festival event in Dublin before I leave.

This panel represents an opportunity for you to learn more about "Technologies for Successful Aging" from leading experts from the USA, Japan and Europe (EU). Members of the CAPSIL consortium along with representatives of the European Commission will present state of the art overviews on technology for the EU, US, and Asia. CAPSIL is an EU "support action" which is developing a series of "CAPSILs" see [ Wiki ] of knowledge along with a technology detailed roadmap for future research to achieve effective and sustainable solutions to independent living. This panel session will also provide you an opportunity to hear more about this roadmap along with posing questions to the panel on current and future directions.

Panel Members:
Dr. Terry Dishongh, Intel - Digital Health Group, USA
Prof. Shuji Hashimoto, Waseda University, Tokyo Japan
Prof. Holly Jimison, Oregon Health and Science University, USA
Dr. Benjamin Knapp, Queen's University, Belfast UK
Prof. Misha Pavel, Oregon Health and Science University, USA
Dr. Aaron Quigley, University College Dublin, Ireland
Peter Wintlev-Jensen, European Commission, eInclusion directorate, Brussels, Belgium

Welcome and CAPSIL overview
State of the art technology review - USA
State of the art technology review - Japan
State of the art technology review - Europe
CAPSIL roadmap for future research
Question and Answer Session

This panel session is an action of CAPSIL and International Support of a Common Awareness and Knowledge Platform for Studying and Enabling Independent Living.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Mar 2009 Dviz hiring two more staff - Deadline March 20th!

Detailed advert links

Web Developer (n-tier)

Ref: : 5/09
Location: : The Digital Hub - Central Dublin
Rate: € 47.7 to € 54.6 K (permanent)

Front –end Web Application Developer

Ref: : 6/09
Location: : The Digital Hub - Central Dublin
Rate: € 47.7 to € 54.6 K (permanent)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Mar 2009 Keynote talk ruSMART 2009 St.Petersburg, Russia

I've been invited to present a keynote talk at the 2nd Conference on Smart Spaces ruSMART 2009 to be held from the September 15-16, 2009 in St.Petersburg, Russia. This event is co-located with The 9th International Conference on Next Generation Wired/Wireless Advanced Networking NEW2AN 2009. The topic of my talk is Ubiquitous computing User Interfaces, next generation effects and challenges.

Keynote “Ubiquitous computing User Interfaces (UUI)”, Dr. Aaron J. Quigley (University College Dublin, Ireland)


The user interface represents the point of contact between a computer system and a human, both in terms of input to the system and output from the system. Ubiquitous Computing or UbiComp consists of hardware, software, systems and services which act as the computational edifice around which we need to build our user interfaces to afford natural or “invisible” interaction styles. This is driven by the evolution from the notion of a computer as a single device, to the notion of a computing space comprising personal and peripheral computing elements and services all connected and communicating as required. This presentation discusses research and developments in the realisation of User Interfaces for UbiComp and in particular Smart Spaces. Examples are drawn from research and development groups around the world who are exploring mobile and embedded devices in almost every type of physical artefact including cars, toys, tools, homes, appliances, clothing and work surfaces.

Mar 2009 Session Chair Pervasive 2009

I've been asked to be a session chair on Navigation during Pervasive 2009. This is the Seventh International Conference on Pervasive Computing which will be held May 11-14, 2009 in Nara, Japan. This session includes papers I'm looking forward to hearing more about including, "Realistic Driving Trips for Location Privacy" by John Krumm, "Enhancing Navigation Information with Tactile Output Embedded into the Steering Wheel" by Dagmar Kern, Eva Hornecker, Paul Marshall, Albrecht Schmidt, Yvonne Rogers, "Landmark-Based Pedestrian Navigation with Enhanced Spatial Reasoning" by Harlan Hile, Radek Grzeszczuk, Alan Liu, Ramakrishna Vedantham, Jana Kosecka, Gaetano Borriello.

This annual conference is the premier forum for researchers to present their latest results in all areas related to architecture, design, implementation, application and evaluation of pervasive computing. My colleague Albrecht will chair the session our paper is in on the final morning of the conference.

Read more about the program or register for the conference.

March 2009 Higher Diploma in Computer Science UCD

My two years as Director of the Higher Diploma in Computer Science in Computer Science and Informatics in UCD are now at an end and my colleague Dr. Eleni Mangina is now taking over this role. She, along with colleagues in CSI are re-launching the HDip in Computer Science with some new and innovative aspects for the 2009 programme. If you have any questions on this new program please contact:

Thanks to all the lecturing staff for their help and students who have undertaken the Higher Diploma over the past two years. As always, many of these students have gone onto great things with several now undertaking postdoctoral study in UCD.

March 2009 CAPSIL events in the USA

From March 16th - 20th the CAPSIL consortium comes together in the USA for several leading events we have organised to reach out to the independent living research and development community and the US based policy and funding bodies. We are doing this by having events from panel sessions with members of the European Commission to small meetings between the European Commission, CAPSIL and US funding agencies. I fly to Las Vegas on the 15th and then to Washington DC on the evening of the 17th, I fly back to Dublin on the evening of the 20th, so it's a packed week of events.

NCOA logo
On the March 17 at 1-2pm in Bally's – Las Vegas 4 (South Tower - Third Floor) CAPSIL with host a panel session on Technologies for Successful Aging. This panel is part of the Aging in America conference, the 2009 Annual Conference of the American Society on Aging and the National Council on Aging. This panel includes an Overview of CAPSIL, State of the Art of Technology in Aging in the EU, US and Asia along with our Roadmap – Recommendations for the Future.

From the 18th to the 20th of March the CAPSIL consortium comes together in Washington DC for our 4th General Assembly, 4th working session along with a very large program of events with US based funding and decision makers. Our 3 days of events are being hosted at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Rockville Maryland.

The CAPSIL consortium will be holding our 4th general assembly during this time along with further time devoted to roadmap development. Over the course of three days CAPSIL will host bilateral meetings between representatives from the EU with representatives from the US. Those from the EU include, members of CAPSIL, representatives of the Delegation of the European Commission in Washington DC, representatives of the European Commission, Information Society & Media D-G and representatives of the Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) Joint Programme. Those from the US for example include, representatives of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), specifically the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Further meetings with the NSF and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering will happen during this three day period.

The goal for these bilateral meetings is to further understand the activities underway in each area focussed on independent living supported by technology and to strengthen the opportunities for EU and US researchers to collaborate. There are many funded and unfunded research and development programs in the EU, US and Japan and if the agencies can aid, rely and build on each others efforts then the collective efforts of not just one region but all can be brought to bear on the challenges in independent living.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Mar 2009 Pervasive Advertising. "A sin by any name"?

Myself and my co-chairs Jörg Müller, Albrecht Schmidt and Bo Begole are currently busy reviewing the submissions to our Workshop on Pervasive Advertising in conjunction with Pervasive 2009 to be held on May 11, 2009 in Nara, Japan.

I've been amused by one of the negative reactions the idea for this workshop has already generated. The aim of this workshop is to allow people to come together to "build a community to forecast and create the upcoming era of advertising in pervasive information environments."

This community will allow for the full and frank discussion of all aspects of advertising both positive and negative which will be possible as further advancements in pervasive information environments come to pass. As people knew Spam would come with email, banner/blinking/adwords with the web we can clearly predict advertising, in some form will come hand in hand with the wide-spread deployment of devices, displays, services which form the edifice of future pervasive computing environments. Ignoring this fact won't make it go away, discussing it to ensure appropriate measures to allow us to opt-in or out, government regulation, self-directed policy etc. is the responsibility of our research community.

The trend toward such infrastructure is already taking place. This article drew my interest as it states that "The market for Digital Signage is set to grow rapidly over the next few years. A recent report by MultiMedia Intelligence predicts that the digital signage market will more than double in size by 2012 to consume 2.3 million displays, having grown by 34% from 2007 to 2008 to 1.1 million displays." [1] "Digital Signage" is a clear example of the ubiquitous infrastructure required to realise many of the pervasive computing scenarios we envisage for the future. However, without a discussion aorund their use, first and foremost in advertising we cannot hope to understand how they might be used in alternate contexts.

If this topic is of interest to you I encourage you to submit by May 1, 2009 one-page submission to allow you to join the workshop as a participant.

  1. IBC points the way in digital signage

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Mar 2009 Dviz hiring two more staff

The Dviz project is a collaborative digital technology research project between Twelve Horses, IADT and UCD, and is funded by the NDRC [ more blog posts ]. This project brings together a diverse skill set from both its commercial partner and institutional research teams to realise an innovative visualisation platform with strong commercial potential. [ Vacancies PDF ]

Applications are invited for appointment to the following two year fixed term contract posts:

  • Web Developer (n-tier) Ref: 5/09
  • Front–end Web Application Developer Ref: 6/09

Inclusive salary scale: €47,675 to €54,642 (5 points)

Further details on the above posts are available on our website or by contacting: The Human Resource Office, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Kill Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. Telephone: (01) 239 4601, Fax: (01) 239 4700, Email:

Applications by way of letter of application highlighting your key competencies, skills, knowledge and experience to date which you believe match those required to successfully deliver on the responsibilities of the post holder should be submitted not later than: 12 Noon, Friday 20th March 2009. A copy of your current Curriculum Vitae should also be submitted with your letter of application. Late Applications will not be accepted IADT is an equal opportunities employer.

[ IADT Website ] [ Vacancies PDF ]

Advert to appear in print on Friday (click to see larger version):

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

March 2009 Cloud Computing

As part of our applied research project Dviz I've been building up an understanding and appreciation of the incredibly over-hyped area of cloud computing. However, for Dviz it is important as it allows us to develop a scaleable approach to the delivery of the infrastructure. Dviz is a collaborative digital technology research project between Twelve Horses, IADT and UCD, and is funded by the NDRC. This project brings together a diverse skill set from both its commercial partner and university research teams to realise an innovative visualisation platform with strong commercial potential.

Cloud computing refers to a style of computing in which resources are provided as a service over the Internet to users who need not have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure. The canonical example is Google Docs, a functional word processing office app delivered entirely via one's web browser [1]. The level of interest in Cloud Computing as an accessible service for the realisation of new web based applications has been growing over the past year with both academic research [6] and is also leaking into mainstream discussion [5]. Discussion on how the cloud will impact high performance computing [4] and other areas such as its use in Green IT are also ongoing.

Quote: "Cloud Computing, the long-held dream of computing as a utility, has the potential to transform a large part of the IT industry, making software even more attractive as a service and shaping the way IT hardware is designed and purchased. Developers with innovative ideas for new Internet services no longer require the large capital outlays in hardware to deploy their service or the human expense to operate it. They need not be concerned about overprovisioning for a service whose popularity does not meet their predictions, thus wasting costly resources, or underprovisioning for one that becomes wildly popular, thus missing potential customers and revenue. Moreover, companies with large batch-oriented tasks can get results as quickly as their programs can scale, since using 1000 servers for one hour costs no more than using one server for 1000 hours. This elasticity of resources, without paying a premium for large scale, is unprecedented in the history of IT." [4]

Some of the different application areas where cloud computing might make an impact include [2]:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service
  • Storage-as-a-Service
  • Data-as-a-Service
  • Platform-as-a-Service
  • Software-as-a-Service

UCSB & IBM T.J. Watson Research five-layer grouping.

Discussions on cloud ontologies have come to light that provide a great starting point for taxonomy discussions [3].


  1. Cloud computing: Threat or Menace?
  2. A crack in the madness of clouds
  3. A better way to understand cloud computing
  4. Berkeley Releases Cloud Computing Study Detailed Report [ PDF ]
  5. Cloud computing ascends the mainstream
  6. Tech Titans Building Boom
  7. Cloud Computing Journal