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UOA 23 - Computer Science and Informatics

City University, London

RA5a: Research environment and esteem

Strategic Areas of Computing Research

 

1.   Design and Evaluation of Dependable Socio-Technical Systems

Computing research at City investigates new theories, techniques and tools for developing and evaluating dependable socio-technical systems. Our focus on socio-technical systems – systems in which the reciprocal interrelationship between humans and machines shapes both the technical and the social conditions of work – is a defining characteristic of our research, and is based on a long-standing track record of interdisciplinary activities that have breadth as well as depth. Our focus on dependable systems is based on research around two equally important themes – systems evaluation and systems design. And our research into different attributes of dependability, which include safety, security, reliability, usability and diversity, both draws on and contributes to research in software and systems engineering, artificial intelligence, cognitive science and human-computer interaction.

 

Research around the evaluation theme has delivered the majority of recent research results on the dependability benefits of diversity. This work recognises diversity as a common pattern in dependable technical and socio-technical systems and processes, and produces probabilistic models to assess its effects on reliability, safety and security. Our evaluation research has shown the need to support user diversity – in particular disabled and elderly users – to deliver usable, accessible and dependable socio-technical systems. It has also addressed important forms of social interaction, and we have pioneered new uses of social network analysis and activity theory to show effective evaluation of such interactions. Evaluation is also a theme in our research into dependable service-centric systems. We have shown that software verification techniques can be applied to monitor service-centric systems against requirements.

 

Research around the design theme seeks to improve the development of dependable socio-technical systems throughout life cycles. Our requirements research has been shown to develop more complete, correct and hence dependable specifications of socio-technical systems based on new models of creativity and scenario-based design, whilst our programming research has delivered new static analyses to ensure that applications are secure. Research around this design theme also addresses new technologies including service-oriented and autonomous intelligent systems. Our software engineering research has shown that new processes and tools for discovering and composing services can improve the design of service-centric systems. And our artificial intelligence research reinforces this theme with its distinctive work on the principled design of neighbourhood search and evolutionary optimisers, computational learning, and the integration of logics and neural networks in the design of hybrid reasoning and learning systems. It provides the foundations for extending our dependability research into new application domains such as autonomous vehicles and financial computing, and contributes to research in the music and bioinformatics disciplines.

2.   Research Groups

City’s research occurs in 6 groups:

 

A.   Software and systems dependability, which researches the evaluation of socio-technical systems to determine their dependability, based on the diversity of human and computerized activities;

B.   Human-computer interaction, which researches the evaluation of computer-based systems that support complex human activities such as medical care, learning and social interaction, with diverse types of users including the elderly and disabled;

C.   Requirements engineering, which researches the invention, specification and analysis of socio-technical systems during the early stages of development;

D.   Software systems design and verification, which researches processes, techniques and tools for designing and verifying software and service-centric systems;

E.   Programming languages and systems, which researches new analyses to ensure dependability through security, and frameworks for using domain-specific languages dependably;

F.    Intelligent systems, which researches the integration of learning, optimisation and reasoning in multi-agent systems, and the application of artificial intelligence techniques in the music and bioinformatics disciplines.

Staff participation in the 6 groups is depicted in the following table.

 

Staff name

A

Software and systems dependability

B.

Human-computer interaction

C.

Requirements engineering

D.

Software systems design and verification

E.

Programming languages and systems

F.

Intelligent systems

Alberdi

X

X

 

 

 

 

Alonso

 

X

 

 

 

X

Ang

 

X

 

 

 

 

Bishop

X

 

 

 

 

 

Bloomfield

X

 

 

 

 

 

Conklin

 

 

 

 

 

X

Galliers

 

X

X

 

 

 

Garcez

 

 

X

 

 

X

Honingh

 

 

 

 

 

X

Howe

X

 

 

 

X

 

Hunt

X

 

 

 

X

 

Jones

 

X

X

 

 

 

Karakostas

 

 

X

X

 

 

Kloukinas

 

 

 

X

 

 

Littlewood

X

 

 

 

 

 

Maiden

 

X

X

X

 

 

Paterson

 

 

 

 

X

 

Popov

X

 

 

 

 

 

Spanoudakis

X

 

X

X

 

 

Strigini

X

X

 

 

 

 

Tuson

 

 

 

 

 

X

Weyde

 

 

 

 

 

X

Wilson

 

X

 

 

 

 

Zaphiris

 

X

 

 

 

 

Zisman

 

 

X

X

 

 

X indicates staff participation in the research group

 

The next sections describe the 6 research groups.

2.1.1      Software and Systems Dependability

This group’s objective is to provide better means for achieving and assessing dependability in computer and computer-based socio-technical systems. Most of the work relies on powerful probabilistic theories and tools applied to modelling the human, computer and organisational components of such systems, and their interactions. In recent years, the direction and emphasis of research has been shaped by the need to take explicit account of how humans and organisations, besides 'technical' components such as software and computers, affect dependability; as well as by the recognition of the many important roles played by solution diversity in achieving and assessing dependability. Since 2001, research into systems dependability has won new funding of £1.7million, about £700,000 of which comes from EPSRC.

The group's output comprises the bulk of recent novel research results on the use of diversity for dependability. It has shown that our results are widely applicable: to common mode failures in all systems; to the effects of combining methods in software development; to combinations of human activities and of human and computerised activities; to security applications, e.g. diverse intrusion detection. Most recently, it has started to model the use of diverse arguments, driven by a strong industry need (supported with funding) for a clear formal understanding of how much diversity should increase the confidence in, say, a safety claim. Related work on confidence in cases has been taken up by nuclear regulators and also directly influenced new UK defence standards. Empirical work with complex off-the-shelf software produced convincing evidence of dependability advantages in building fault-tolerant systems from diverse off-the-shelf software. Work on human-computer diversity in a medical advisory system has revealed erroneous assumptions in certification, and suggested methodological improvements for design and assessment.

The group's research continues to emphasise the quantitative probabilistic assessment and prediction of dependability. It is developing a more rigorous approach to dealing with confidence in dependability cases, working towards a rigorous underpinning semantics to the goal-based approaches it has previously developed and which are now widely used. It is exploring the use of Bayesian Networks to describe diverse arguments, the probabilistic modelling of adaptation in human/computer systems and extensions of our probabilistic approaches into security. It is developing a security research infrastructure in the form of a forensically sound honey-net, supporting research into security fundamentals, diversity and forensics. It is studying a novel approach to approximate Bayesian analysis for 'on-line assessment' of systems time-varying dependability, e.g. web services.

Research is driven by real examples from British Energy, the Nuclear Installation Inspectorate, the CAA, the City of London Police, smart sensor manufacturers and Voca.

2.1.2      Human-Computer Interaction

This group researches the evaluation of computer-based systems that support complex human activities such as medical care, learning and social interaction in online communities, with diverse types of users including the elderly and disabled. Its approach is to apply theories and models from disciplines both within and outside computer science to evaluate human activities with such systems. In recent years research has evolved to address challenges posed by different types of users and new interaction technologies. Since 2001 research in this group has won research funding of £2million, £640,000 of which comes from EPSRC.

The group's work contributes to the body of research in user diversity. In 2004 it undertook the world's largest study of web accessibility, results from which informed new accessibility standards and guidelines such as Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 78. Mathematical modelling of web browsing behaviour of senior citizens has informed the study of web navigation for people with dyslexia and people with dementia. Contributions have extended accessibility research to make everyday devices, such as mobile telephones, usable in a wider range of environments, thus broadening existing concepts of accessibility. It has applied social network analysis to evaluate, for the first time, social interaction in different online support communities that have so far included the study of peer support in e-learning, self-support groups for the elderly and on-line computer gaming communities for the young. In dependable healthcare domains, it has applied distributed cognition and activity theories to understand the work of clinical handovers in hospital settings, with implications for patient care quality.

Current research is addressing how to evaluate new modes of social interaction with new technologies such as mobile telephones, online communities and 3-D computer-mediated communication. The group is applying advanced data gathering techniques to understand social interactions in Second Life. It is also investigating the use of mobile technologies to evaluate patterns of social interaction and inclusion of the young, currently supported by the UK Vodafone foundation in the Centre's Interaction Lab, to inform the design of new mobile services for young people.

2.1.3      Requirements Engineering

This group researches the invention, specification and analysis of socio-technical systems during their development, with a strong focus on industrial evaluation. Its approach is to use theories from non-computing disciplines to understand early requirements phenomena and improve dependability through requirements completeness. Results have been reported in numerous outlets – a review of over 4000 publications from 1963-2006 [1] revealed that City is the world leader in the number of academic publications in requirements engineering. City also topped the review of requirements journal publications. Since 2001 the group has obtained research grants worth over £1.4m and service-rendered contracts supporting practice-based research worth £400,000.

The group has contributed to early requirements research in three areas. Firstly it has shown how over-reliance on scenario and use case techniques can lead to requirements incompleteness, and was the first to develop models of how different forms and uses of scenarios can lead to requirements discovery and specification. Secondly the group has delivered the bulk of research that shows the importance of creative problem solving in requirements, and broadened the scope of the discipline as a result. Its application of creativity models from psychology and artificial intelligence to requirements problems has provided the most of the evidence that such models can lead to more complete and correct requirements. Thirdly, the group has contributed to research that supports the use of web services in requirements processes. It was the first to extend term disambiguation and query expansion theories from information retrieval to handle common requirements problems such as ambiguity, and the first to offer techniques to discover web services from natural language requirements.

The group continues to contribute to early requirements research. It is validating new models of scenario-based design using large datasets from industrial projects and extending these models with creativity concepts. It is also exploiting the model to prototype new mobile scenario tools for use in the work place and integrating established creativity support tools into requirements tools. In service-centric systems, the group is extending the service discovery engines to retrieve services of different granularities and evaluating precision and recall of these engines on large-scale empirical studies.

The group’s research is driven by case studies with NATS, Eurocontrol and UK airports.

2.1.4      Software Systems Design and Verification

This group researches the development of methods, techniques and platforms to support the design and verification of software systems, and is informed by industrial and technological constraints on the use of formal reasoning methods and techniques. This research has been funded by research grants and service rendered contracts worth £1.25m from the European Union, EPSRC and industry.

Research primarily contributes to the design and verification of service centric systems composed of web services. The group has developed a novel framework for monitoring and verifying dynamically the operations of service-centric systems against functional and quality-of-service requirements. This framework is the first to use the formal framework of event calculus for runtime system verification and provides reasoning capabilities for detecting runtime deviations. It also underpins a new language for specifying service level agreements developed in collaboration with the European Innovation Centre of Microsoft. Secondly, the group is the first to develop a service discovery platform that integrates the discovery process with mainstream industrial software system design processes, generating service discovery queries seamlessly from software design models and using rigorous matching algorithms that cover industrial standards for the specification of web services and software systems.  

The group’s research continues with a focus on the dynamic verification of security and dependability properties of distributed and mobile software systems. It supports development of dynamic verification platforms for hybrid peer-to-peer systems that may include mobile and non-mobile peers offering customisable and policy-driven monitoring and control capabilities. The research is based on industrial case studies provided by the security research laboratory of SAP and mobile OS provider Symbian. The group’s service discovery research is developing new techniques that support context awareness in run-time service discovery and discovery of mobile services, and optimised, asynchronous runtime service discovery processes. It is informed by case studies and requirements of several industrial partners of the group in the automotive, media service sectors, including the Research Centre of FIAT and Deutsche Velle.

2.1.5      Programming Languages and Systems

This research group seeks to develop new theories of programming languages, techniques and tools to support the production of correct, maintainable and efficient software. It addresses two complementary aspects of the field: the design of programming languages, data structures and transformation techniques, and automated, semantics-based static analysis of code. It was awarded research grants worth £240,000 from the EPSRC and other UK funding bodies.

The group's research contributes to the body of research in programming language design and automated analysis of software. Our proposal for an arrow syntax extension to Haskell has been implemented in GHC, the leading Haskell compiler, and is used around the world for applications including graphical user interfaces, robotics and quantum computing. Our work on generic static analysis techniques and algorithms has produced theoretical and practical contributions to the representation of dependencies in programs and related algorithms for scalable analysis. This work has been applied successfully in logic programming in a security context. The group has also developed techniques for verifying information flows in software, with potential applications in security analysis tools and certification frameworks.

Current static analysis research in the group is focused on security applications, including the recent development of the first tractable treatment of information erasure policies and their enforcement, and combined with results in computational geometry to analyse numeric program dependencies in languages. In language design the group is developing highly extensible frameworks for embedding domain-specific languages into general purpose programming ones through analyses of properties of structures corresponding to common programming patterns.

2.1.6      Intelligent Systems

This group researches the development of technologies where autonomy and intelligence are key factors for socio-technical systems in industry and commerce. It applies artificial intelligence techniques to applications including music and bioinformatics. It brings learning and reasoning together with the use of neural-symbolic integration and ideas from animal learning and optimisation, and applies them to real-world dependable applications such as autonomous vehicles. The group’s music research has delivered results in statistical modelling, computational musicology, music knowledge representation and pattern discovery, and its bioinformatics research has developed a new method for protein fold recognition developed and applied for the discovery of several new helical cytokines. The group was awarded research grants and service rendered contracts worth £970,000, about £450,000 of which comes from the EPSRC and AHRC.

The group has produced significant theoretical work in logical and animal learning that supports work in design and applications. Theoretically justified approaches to the design of neighbourhood search and evolutionary optimisers have been devised; along with novel work using logics and neural networks in the design of hybrid reasoning and learning systems. Significant applications include a new state-of-the-art algorithm for convoy scheduling and machine learning methods to support requirements traceability. Particularly relevant to designing socio-technical systems is recent work opening up the application of autonomous systems to control road and vehicle networks with agents, applied to bus and train fleets. In bioinformatics a new method for protein fold recognition was used as a basis for a novel gene finding algorithm based on the conservation of splice site patterns.

Current research expands on the complementary theoretical, design and applications themes. The formal design methods are being extended to a wider range of optimisation and learning methods. Application areas have also expanded with development of new work in financial computing and operational research. Music research continues to develop novel methods for melodic segmentation and similarity, music analysis and encoding, music semantics and music e-learning. Bioinformatics research is developing a new framework for generalised rule discovery from time series data, generalising results. Theoretical research on neural-symbolic systems for ontology learning may lead to applications not only in the context of gene ontology but also the semantic web.

3.   Research Outputs

Many of the research outputs documented in the RA2 have been published in major international journals including the IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, ACM Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction, Artificial Intelligence, Knowledge Engineering Review, and Cell. Results have also been published in top-ranked conferences such the IEEE International Conferences on Software Engineering, Dependable Systems and Networks, and Requirements Engineering, and ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Research outputs have received high citation counts, for example Conklin[4] has 246 citations (Google Scholar).

4.   Research Environment

4.1      Infrastructure, Facilities and Administrative Support for Research

In 2006 computing at City moved into a new space that provides integrated research and teaching facilities as well as room for planned growth. The combined use of office and open plan space supports focused work in the research groups and collaborations between them. There are new facilities that include a 75m2 Interaction Lab for human-computer interaction research funded by the UK Vodafone Foundation. The space is on the main University campus, providing access to central research facilities such as libraries, research student facilities, and opportunities to forge more collaborative links with other researchers.

All 6 research groups have access to specialist and dedicated research and technical support. All have access to 4 research administrators who manage all aspects of research projects and research student supervision, and liaise with the University’s research contracts office. Research income directly funds positions in a co-located technical support team, thus providing support that is responsive to researcher needs. Principal investigators also directly receive 8% of total income plus one third of principal investigators’ time to use locally to support and grow research initiatives.

Our infrastructure was severely affected by a major fire in May 2001, which impacted many computing staff. Key IT resources were destroyed, and staff lost research material as well as access to their offices (see relevant RA5b entries). EPSRC provided immediate extensions of 3 months to all computing grants and PhD studentships. Half of all computing research was housed in temporary accommodation from June 2001 to April 2006.

4.2      Arrangements for Developing and Supporting Staff in their Research

All of our academic staff are entitled to sabbaticals 1 year in 7 and are encouraged to take them through annual appraisals. In the RAE period 6 academic staff took 1-year full sabbaticals whilst another 3 took sabbaticals lasting 5 months on average. City also supports mini-sabbaticals of shorter durations that remove administrative and teaching loads for one semester to enable staff to achieve research goals. Eight academic staff took such sabbaticals from 2001 to 2007. Overall 16 FTE academic staff in post in 2001-7 took at least one research sabbatical or mini-sabbatical.

Many academic staff members have ring-fenced teaching and administrative loads to provide sufficient research time. It is policy that all new members of staff – both Category A and Category C – are assigned to a mentor who is able to advise on general academic matters and personal professional development. Mentors are selected from the same research group. Mentoring continues throughout the career at City. It is supported with extensive and free research training made available from the University. More senior staff members participate in the University’s Development Groups to provide peer support across disciplines. Category C staff members are actively encouraged to open up and research new areas through the co-supervision of research students, co-submission of research proposals and management of research assistants on funded projects. Evidence of this strategy is demonstrated by new research of creativity in software product design by Jones (funded by RCUK Fellowship) and cognitive analyses of music by Honingh (funded by competitive University Fellowships).

We have used HEFCE Rewarding and Developing Staff funds to support staff at early stages in their careers with research fellowships of two years’ duration. These fellowships have explored the role of computers in teaching autistic children, social interactions in 3D computer-mediated communication and cognitive aspects of music. We have used part of a £3m university strategic development fund to support an additional 9 new research studentships, infrastructure projects and new research activity into system dependability towards security in financial organisations.

4.3      Cumulative Impact of Research

Our research into systems dependability informed the EU Roadmaps for Dependability Research that was used by the CEC to guide funding of the FP6 and FP7 programmes. Littlewood’s receipt of the 2007 Harlan D. Mills award recognized his leading research on the application of rigorous probabilistic and statistical techniques that helped to bring computing research towards a recognition of the need to understand uncertainty.

Our research has had a cumulative impact on systems engineering and regulation of the UK’s air traffic management system. Our scenario-based requirements tools have supported the specification of 6 major UK and European air traffic management systems. Our work on confidence and diversity in safety cases is directly relevant to the CAA Safety Regulation Group and influenced the development and application of ATM regulations. We are currently collaborating with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Safety Requirements Group and recently provided a workshop on "confidence” at the request of the CAA.

Our research on solution diversity for dependability has been supported continuously since 1996 with £800,000 of funding through the UK Nuclear Safety Programme. Results of the programme have already influenced the design of safety cases for power reactors, and are likely to play an important role in the licensing process of any new build.

Results from our Disability Rights Commission funded human-computer interaction research into web accessibility directly informed the development of new accessibility standards and guidelines.

4.4      Academic Collaboration, National and International, within Discipline and Interdisciplinary

Many external research collaborations take place in large EPSRC and European Union-funded projects. Individual researchers complement these collaborations with interdisciplinary research on themes around music and bioinformatics. Key academic collaborations are summarised in the following table.

 

Project

Funding

Academic collaborations

Dependability IRC

EPSRC

Our software and systems dependability group collaborated with Newcastle, York, Edinburgh and Lancaster Universities on dependability in socio-technical systems

INDEED

EPSRC

Our software and systems dependability group is co-operating with York, Edinburgh and St Andrews Universities on dependability modelling and argumentation for socio-technical systems

RESIST Network of Excellence

EU

Our software and systems dependability group is co-operating with IBM to define a research agenda for resilience in large scale socio-technical systems

IRRIIS

EU

Our software and systems dependability group is collaborating with Technische Universität Dresden and the École Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications to develop methods for deterministic and stochastic analysis of interdependencies

SIMP

EPSRC

Our requirements engineering group collaborated with the University of Manchester and Queen Mary to develop new scenario-based techniques to analyze requirements on naval systems

SeCSE

EU

Our requirements engineering and software systems design and verification groups are collaborating with Politecnico di Milano and Microsoft Research (among others) on new methods, techniques and tools for delivering service-centric systems

APOSDLE

EU

Our requirements engineering and human-computer interaction groups are collaborating with the Universities of Twente, Trento and Graz and Fraunhofer IGD (among others) to develop new socio-technical systems to support work-integrated learning

TRACEBACK

EU

Our requirements engineering group is collaborating with food researchers at the Universities of Parma and Kent and MTT Agrifood Research Finland (among others) to develop new computer-based systems to track food from farm to fork

SERENITY

EU

Our software systems design and verification group is collaborating with the Universities of Trento and Malaga and the Fraunhofer Institute (SIT) (among others) to develop a pattern-driven runtime verification framework for ambient intelligence systems

GREDIA

EU

Our software systems design and verification group is collaborating with the National Technical University of Athens and University of Malaga to develop new a Grid application development platform

 

In other research projects we are collaborating with Kings College London on the interplay between reasoning and learning systems, notably on the integration of logics and neural networks, international bioinformatics and genomics laboratories, including the National Institute of Medical Research and Genome Bioinformatics Unit and the Department of Animal Biology.

4.5      Industrial Collaboration, Relationship with Research Users, Contribution to Public Awareness and Understanding

Knowledge transfer of our systems dependability results is facilitated by co-location with Adelard, a specialist dependability consultancy. The shared appointment of Bishop and Bloomfield means that software and systems dependability research is informed by practice and vice-versa. Adelard facilitates application of these systems dependability results to sectors beyond the safety-critical industries to include banking, medical, insurance and police. Our research partnership with the City of London Police on high-tech crime and counter terrorism has attracted £300,000 of strategic funding from the University. Bloomfield’s work in the Cabinet Office Information Assurance Research and Coordination Group is setting the dependability research agenda across UK Government, and his work with Littlewood for the Nuclear Advisory Safety Committee is setting an agenda for research in the UK nuclear industry. Long-term collaborations with British Energy, the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate and CAA have informed our systems dependability research to enable this knowledge transfer.

Our scenario-based requirements tools were showcased at the IBM/Rational User’s Conference in 2004. New tools from SeCSE to discover web services from natural language specifications have been trialled at FIAT and CA, and showcased at CA World in 2007. Key industrial collaborations are summarised in the following table.

 

Projects/Groups

Industrial partners

Dependability IRC

British Energy and Voca

SIMP

BAE SYSTEMS

SeCSE

CA, FIAT, Telefonica and European Innovation Centre of Microsoft

SERENITY

Thales, SAP Labs France

PEPERS and GREDIA

Symbian

RESIST

France Telecom, IBM and Qinetiq

IRRIIS

Siemens, Telecom Italia and Alcatel France

APOSDLE

EADS, SAP

TRACEBACK

Parmalat

GHANDI

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust

Human-Computer Interaction Group

Collaborations with charities including the Disability Rights Commission, RNIB, RNID and the UK Vodafone Foundation

Intelligent Systems Group

Delivered the Prova programming language to BioWisdon Ltd, the leading supplier of ontology-based solutions to the drug discovery industry, based on research into protein interactions, gene expression data, and ontology-based literature searches

Intelligent Systems Group

Conklin is the primary named inventor on 30 granted United States patents, and is secondary named inventor on a further 18, related to medically significant proteins such as Interferon Epsilon (IFNE1) that have potential applications in cancer treatment

 

We have also supported public understanding of artificial intelligence research by co-ordinating with the British Computer Society SGAI-BCS the Careers Advisor Event in Artificial Intelligence in October, 2004, and with the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Artificial Intelligence Public Understanding Event in August 2005.

4.6      Research Degrees Awarded

We have awarded 21 PhD and 5 MPhil degrees over the RAE period, and the trend is positive, with 7 PhDs awarded so far in 2007. This has been achieved in part through improved supervision and progress monitoring procedures. Each research student is required to have 2 supervisors. All supervisory meetings are documented and signed off by the student and supervisors. The Research Students Committee meets 4 times each year to monitor student progress, and reports progress to the relevant Board of Studies. Research students behind progress or near completion are given lower teaching support loads to shorten thesis submission times.

4.7      Resource Income: Funding Strategy, Amount Received and Sustainability

City’s current strategy for research income is three-fold:

1.         Undertake and grow basic research in the design and evaluation of socio-technical systems, primarily with UK Research Council funding;

2.         Apply and evaluate basic research results in the widest range of dependable domains, using European Union FP5, FP6 and FP7 funding;

3.         Transfer research results to practice in selected domains using industrial funding.

Total research income in the RAE period was £7,135,395 – an average of nearly £1,019,342 for each year of the period, and an average research income of £43,750 per included staff per annum of the RAE period. Direct income from UK Research Councils was £2,975,313. Research income from EU-funded projects totalled £2,765,013, and supported applied research in the automotive, telecommunications and food sectors. Increases in new research income in 2006 and 2007 demonstrate the sustainability of funded computing research at City.

Our research income strategy for the next 5 years builds on success in this RAE period and continues to seek funding from the UK Research Councils, the European Union and bilateral funding sources. The move towards full economic costing makes this strategy tenable in the medium and long terms.

4.8      Credibility, Vitality and Sustainability of Research Organisation

The credibility of City’s research is demonstrated by the continued success of its long-standing research groups in software and systems dependability, human-computer interaction and requirements engineering, and growth of new groups. University commitment is demonstrated by its provision of strategic research development funds and the new School space. The viability of the research is underpinned by maintenance of its undergraduate student numbers over a period in which the UK computing sector has shrunk significantly. These strong foundations have enabled City to continue to invest in its research throughout the RAE period, by recruiting new academic staff, and building new facilities.

The vitality of the research is enhanced with distributed financial and reporting structures that enable agile decision-making by the research groups wherever possible. Both groups and principal investigators have direct control over portions of overhead and directly allocated research income to maintain research, via staff bridging, funding research activities and growing new areas. Such agile decision-making was instrumental in new initiatives such as the Interaction Lab, and collaboration with the City of London Police. The vitality of our research is also demonstrated by the volume and quality of research seminars run by groups including Human-Computer Interaction and Music Informatics. High-profile external speakers have included Ben Shneiderman, Kristen Nygaard, John Rushby, Fred Schneider, John Knight, and Nicholas Cook, director of the AHRC Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music. High-profile research visitors have included Martyn Thomas (now a Fellow of the Royal Society).

5.   Esteem Indicators

Group and individual esteem indicators are listed in the following tables.

 

Staff/Research Group

Esteem indicator

Littlewood, Strigini, Bloomfield, Popov, Alonso

Members of the EPSRC College in period

Software and systems dependability group

Received award from the journal Academic Radiology in 2004 for the best clinical paper a medical case study

Human-Computer Interaction Group

With industrial partners in the EPSRC Vista project, won a Royal Television Society Technical Innovation Award for a complete Virtual Human Interface for digital television

 

 

Staff

Esteem indicator

Littlewood

Recipient of 2007 IEEE Computer Society Harlan D. Mills Award, with the citation: "For leading research on the application of rigorous probabilistic and statistical techniques to problems of assessment in software engineering, particularly in systems dependability."

 

Invited keynote talk at IEEE International Conference on Software Engineering 2007, the premier software engineering conference. One of 3 invited keynotes at conference of 750 delegates, 400 of whom attended this keynote talk

 

Member of national Nuclear Safety Advisory Committee

 

Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, one of two most prestigious software engineering journals

Maiden

Program Chair for 12th IEEE International Conference on Requirements Engineering, Kyoto Japan 2004. Program of 30 research papers (acceptance rate 23%) with 320 delegates

 

Current Editor of Requirements column in IEEE Software, and member of IEEE Software Editorial Board

 

Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, one of two most prestigious software engineering journals

 

PC Member IEEE International Conference on Requirements Engineering continuously 2001-2007, and Steering Committee member since 2003

Bloomfield

Member of UK Nuclear Safety Advisory Committee (2005-now), the top level independent committee with an overview of nuclear safety in UK and associated research. Independent member with specialist interest in trust and confidence of computer based systems

 

Member of Cabinet Office Information Assurance Research and Co-ordination Group 2007. Only non-government member

 

Led core team (of 6) that developed EU FP6 Dependability Roadmap for Information Society in Europe. Had major influence on €200million programme of work for FP7 on dependability and security

 

Joint chair of official US-EU workshop on ICT-Enabled Critical Infrastructures and Interdependencies: Control, Safety, Security and Dependability linking NSF, DHS  and EU’s IST Program

Alonso

Vice-chair of Society for Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour (SSAISB), 2003-2006. SSAISB is the largest AI society in Europe, second only to AAAI worldwide. Its annual convention attracts 500-700 delegates

 

Co-Editor of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour (ISSN 1476-3036)

 

Member of AgentLinII (European Network of Excellence for Agent-Based Computing, FP5) Management Committee, coordinating its Agents that Learn, Adapt & Discover (ALAD) Special Interest Group. AgentLink is the premier European agent-based computing organisation, currently a FP6 Co-ordinated Action with 40 participating organisations

 

Student Scholarships Co-chair of the Fifth International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems (AAMAS-06). Obtained funds to support 400 students from EU and USA's National Science Foundation

Garcez

Member of 40-strong advisory board of Springer-Verlag's Cognitive Technologies book series. Board includes world authorities in all aspects of computer science, logic, language, and cognitive science, and undertakes technical reviews of books

 

Organising committee of International Joint Conference on Neural Networks 2007

 

Editorial board member of Journal of Logic and Computation (impact factor 0.84)

 

Founding co-chair of Neural-Symbolic Reasoning and Learning international workshop series held in conjunction with IJCAI05 and ECAI06. Workshops typically receive on average 25 submissions, acceptance rate 30%

Zisman

PC Co-chair of 20th International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE’2005). 291 submissions received, 28 full papers accepted. 172 delegates attended conference

 

Member Steering Committee of International Conference on Automated Software Engineering

 

Co-founded series of International Workshops on Traceability in Emerging Forms of Software Engineering (TEFSE) and are members of its steering committee. Organized 4 workshops, on average attracting 30 delegates and 8 accepted papers

Spanoudakis

Programme Co-chair 18th and 19th International Conferences on Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering

 

Associate Editor (1 of 13) of International Journal on Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering, impact factor 0.413 (2006)

 

Co-founded series of International Workshops on Traceability in Emerging Forms of Software Engineering (TEFSE) and member of its steering committee. Organized 4 workshops, on average attracting 30 delegates and 8 accepted papers

 

Recipient of €10,000 award from Spanish Ministry of Education and Science to visit University of Malaga as an external research professor

Zaphiris

Co-editor of special issue of Interacting with Computers Journal (impact factor 0.83) on the topic of HCI issues and computer games. 25 full papers submitted, 6 accepted, one of which was most downloaded paper from journal for April-June 2007

 

Co-editor of special issue of Universal Access in Information Society Journal on Web and Ageing. 15 papers submitted, 7 accepted. First ever journal special issue on topic of web usage by older people

 

Co-editor of special issue of International Journal of Interactive Technology and Smart Education on topic of Computer game based learning. 24 papers

submitted, 6 accepted

 

PC Co-chair and workshop co-organizer of 1st International Workshop on Web and Aging, within HCI International Conference. 15 delegates, 7 presented papers

Strigini

Co-chair, Workshop on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Achieving and Analysing System Dependability, at DSN’2004 conference

 

Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, one of two most prestigious software engineering journals

 

Member Steering Committee for 1st International Workshop on Quality of Protection (Security Measurements and Metrics) 2005

Ang (early career researcher)

Best poster award at British Human-Computer Interaction Conference 2006. Received first prize of 30 posters submitted, 12 of which accepted at conference

 

Co-editor of special issue of Interacting with Computers Journal (impact factor 0.83) on the topic of HCI issues and computer games. 25 full papers submitted, 6 accepted, one of which was most downloaded paper from journal for April-June 2007

 

Co-editor of special issue of Universal Access in the Information Society journal on Web and Ageing. 15 papers submitted, 7 accepted. First ever journal special issue on topic of web usage by older people

Tuson

Publicity Chair for IJCAI 2005 Conference, the most prestigious AI conference. IJCAI 2005 had 1200 delegates, 8 invited keynote talks, 17 tutorials, 30 workshops and 14 co-located events

Paterson

Proposer of arrow syntax extension to Haskell shipped as standard in GHC, the leading Haskell compiler

 

PC member Haskell Workshop 2007. 10 accepted papers from 33 submissions, 80-100 delegates

 

PC member 8th International Conference on Mathematics of Program Construction

 

One of 18 members of Design Committee for Haskel-Prime Language

Conklin

Consulting Editor (1 of 40) of Musicae Scientiae Journal

 

PC Member for 2nd International Conference on Music and Artificial Intelligence 2002 (50 submissions, 15 accepted), 100 delegates attended

 

Steering Committee Member of London Bioinformatics forum, 30 members of London-based academics engaged in bioinformatics research, running seminars and other academic events

Wilson

Workshop co-chair for HCI 2006 Conference. Organised 10 workshops and 2 mini-conferences, involving over 200 delegates in total

 

Co-organizer of the video programme for Interact 2003 Conference

 

Invited participant at BMA/NPSA workshop (37 delegates) on shift handover. Resulted in revised publication "Safe handover: safe patients, Guidance on clinical handover for clinicians and managers", available on BMA website

Weyde

Consultant to NEUMES project at Harvard University (where he was the main technical consultant) and Eduserv NEUMES project at Oxford University. Had significant impact on design of software architecture

 

Nominated member of MPEG Ad-Hoc-Group on Symbolic Music Representation (SMR), working on integration of SMR into MPEG-4, influencing standards of music notation in MPEG-4 family of standards

 

Editor of Music and Composition Book Series, Electronic Publishing, University of Osnerbruck, Germany

 

Founding member of Scientific Steering Committee of MUSICNETWORK International Association

Honingh (early career researcher)

Organizer of Music, Mathematics and Computation workshop at University of Amsterdam

 

Board member of Society for Mathematics and Computation in Music (SMCM)

Hunt

Co-founder of International Workshop on Programming Languages Interference and Dependence (PLID), and PC member in 2004 and 2005

Howe

PC Member of LOPSTR' 07 (17th International Symposium on Logic-Based

Program Synthesis and Transformation). 30 submissions, 7 accepted full papers and 9 accepted as extended abstracts. Co-located with SAS'07 (Static Analysis Symposium). 150 delegates at both conferences

Galliers

2 Consultation meetings with Royal College of Physicians and National Patient Safety Association on handovers for patient safety, to ensure research outcomes inform current medical practices

Bishop

Invited one-day tutorial on software reliability modelling at Philips Software Conference, Eindhoven, 2005, with Norman Fenton and Paul Krause. 80 people attended tutorial. 200 delegates attended conference

Popov

Only invited speaker to Dependable Systems and Services (DESSERT) 2007 Conference of 120 delegates who attended the talk

Alberdi

One of 8 invited speakers at British Institute of Radiology meeting on "Computer Aided Diagnosis", April 2004. 100 delegates attended

 

6.   References

[1]        Davis A., Hickey A., Dieste O. Juristo N., Moreno A., 2007, ‘A Quantitative Assessment of Requirements Engineering Publications – 1963-2006, Proceedings REFSQ’2007 (ed P. Sawyer, B. Paech, P. Heymans), Lectures Notes on Computer Science 4542, Springer-Verlag, 129-143.