Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July 2010 - International Workshop on Mobile Collaborative Augmented Reality

I'm been invited to serve on the program committee for a very interesting workshop on mobile collaborative augmented reality which is part of ISMAR 2010. I've been interested in AR for a number of years as a means to bridge the digital physical divide. While we have many methods for bring digital information down into our physical world currently our means of bringing information into the digital is limited to mobile, desktop, gaming interfaces and sensor systems. While we look at new means of bringing the digital into our physical day to day life (such as MobileAR, which can overload us) we do need to explore methods to ease the movement of information from our physical world (without burdening people in the provision of input or obtrusive sensing).

"Mobile Augmented Reality For Art Interaction" (image from thesis)
by Laurence Judge University College Dublin Ireland
"Augmented reality is a direct or indirect view of real world scenes in which physical objects are annotated with, or overlaid by computer generated graphics. The past two decades have seen a fast growing body of research and development dedicated to techniques and technologies for augmented reality. In particular, advances in hardware and networking have made possible a wide use of augmented reality for remote collaboration. However, in order to develop systems that are truly useful and comfortable for end users, many challenges need to be addressed first.

Two of those challenges include handling environmental constraints and understanding human needs. The former requires that systems can handle ever changing real word conditions to be continuously functional, while the latter requires that systems are constructed in ways with which end users can work effectively and comfortably. To address these challenges, we invite you to a one-day workshop on research issues specific to mobile augmented reality for remote collaborations.

This workshop aims to bring industrial and academic researchers together and to provide a platform to foster discussions among participants on the current state of art and future directions for mobile collaborative augmented reality. The workshop will be held on October 13, 2010 in Seoul, Korea, in conjunction with ISMAR2010. We solicit high quality research and position papers for the workshop. Submitted papers will be peer-reviewed by our highly regarded international program committee members. Accepted papers will be published in the workshop proceedings. Currently we are investigating the possibility of including the proceedings in ACM or IEEE Digital Library, and inviting selected papers for a special issue of a journal."

Please see the website at for more details.

Friday, July 16, 2010

July 2010 - First week as a Professor - From Golf to New Jobs and EU funding

So today is the end of the first week in my new role as Professor in the Chair of Human Computer Interaction at the School of Computer Science in St. Andrews University Scotland. While it's been a relatively quiet week within the University it's been a hectic time outside as the Golf Open Championship started here on Thursday. On Tuesday I was invited to attend an Open Golf Graduation where Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Padraig Harrington  were awarded Honorary Degrees by the University in a public ceremony. In the past I've not been a great fan of such degrees but having seen the event myself, the caliber of the recipients and the nature of the honorary degree I think I was wrong about such awards.  Thankfully the campus closes down for two days to help facilitate the tournament. Given the traffic and numbers in town I think this is the wise (and financially opportune) thing to do. 

As for the University, it's well and true enmeshed within St. Andrews itself. It's an idyllic setting overlooking the sea, cliffs and beaches and is a quintessential University town. During the graduation ceremony I was able to sit beside two retired ladies from St. Andrews. Their knowledge and pride in the institution is a testament to the high esteem the people of the area hold the University in. Across the board I feel a sense of great academic and community pride throughout St. Andrews. It's difficult to pick out what is and isn't part of the University, so much so the whole place feels like the campus. However, my part of the University with Computer Science (shown to the right), Mathematics, Biomedical Science, Physics etc. is one of the few clearly defined "campuses" around. We are on the edge of the town where our teaching, research, office and lab space is more characteristic of a more modern campus.  None the less, the character, caliber and ethos remains very much the same. 

Along with the usual paper, reviewing deadlines and work on existing grants I've been getting settled in. I've assumed my teaching duties for HCI and Graphics along with coordination for Knowledge Transfer and as Honours project coordinator. I'm looking forward to the teaching where I hope to weave in some of the latest findings from CHI, UIST, ITS etc. And with graphics to explore the fundamental aspects while pushing into mobile and algorithmic methods to exploit more recent graphics hardware. The Knowledge Transfer role should be an interesting challenge. Moving research findings out to the broader community to encourage dissemination and impact creation. As part of this role I'm going to attend an FP7 (EU) Information and Communication Technologies Funding Day  in Edinburgh on the 20th of July. I've been involved in a number of EU projects in the past and I think the range of EU opportunities affords us some timely knowledge transfer pathways. 

Finally, my new school is seeking applications for a lectureship in human-computer interaction and a lectureship in Software Engineering which each have a closing date of 15 September 2010.   The lectureship in human-computer interaction is funded by the Scottish  Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA).  "The overall objectives of SICSA are to build a world-class Scottish computer science research community and to promote cultural change so that researchers in Scotland work collaboratively rather than in competition. The SICSA research themes of Next-generation Internet, Multi-modal Interaction, Modelling and Abstraction and Complex Systems Engineering."

I'm looking forward to some fun and exciting times here.