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Wikileaks founder to speak at conference

Controversial Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been invited to speak by the organisers of this year’s British Human Computer Interaction Conference to be held in Lincoln.

The previous editor-in-chief of the website WikiLeaks, which Assange also co-founded in 2006 after an earlier career in hacking and programming, will appear by video link on 17th July, 2015.

Organised by the University of Lincoln’s Social Computing research centre in conjunction with the BCS Interaction Specialist Group, the British Human Computer Interaction Conference (HCI 2015) is inspired by the anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215, an event viewed as an international cornerstone of liberty and one that challenged society’s relationship with authority.

Taking place on the University’s Brayford Campus from 13th-17th July, the conference will focus on our ever-evolving digital society.

Director of Lincoln’s Social Computing research centre, Professor Shaun Lawson said: “The conference has invited Julian Assange to speak to delegates as he has a range of views, experiences and knowledge relevant to the conference themes of digital civics, online democracy and citizens’ relationships with authority and government.

“Experts in the field of human computer interaction who are investigating the role interactive technology plays in mediating and communicating political views will be joining Assange to discuss the topic. Researchers wanting to be involved or submit papers can find more information on the conference website.”

Lincoln is home to one of only four surviving copies of Magna Carta and will take a major role in the 800th anniversary celebrations, coinciding with the city hosting HCI 2015.

Professor Lawson added: “The overarching conference theme reflects the increasing public consciousness of how interactive technologies fundamentally affect our privacy, rights, and relationships with authority, government and commerce.

“This conference will set the agenda in the UK and internationally around the design of future interactive digital systems. The research community used to be interested in the use and design of a device, but now it’s more about the experience and the way digital technology affects our lives, including our political and democratic lives.”

Lincoln’s Social Computing research centre is focussed on the social aspects of human-computer interaction (HCI). This includes investigations into how people engage with mobile and social platforms including online social networks, micro-blogging services, and social and pervasive games. Much of the group’s recent work is built upon the hypothesis that such technology can provide a compelling platform to deliver serious messages about societal issues, as well as interface between computing and the arts.

The centre’s grant income in the last five years totals around £1.5 million. Professor Lawson is currently leading a new research project that will investigate how social media can play its part in both inciting discrimination against and building understanding of marginalised communities. The CuRAtOR (Challenging online feaR And OtheRing) project, funded by a £750,000 grant from the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Empathy and Trust In Communicating ONline (EMoTICON) call, will focus on understanding how empathy and trust are developed, maintained, transformed and lost in social media interactions.

For more information on HCI 2015 please e-mail or visit the website

Posted in Events, School news.

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MyHealthAvatar consortium to meet in Lincoln

Researchers from across Europe are visiting the University of Lincoln as part of a 2.4 million Euro project.

Dr Xujiong Ye, from the School of Computer Science, is hosting the MyHealthAvatar consortium on 25th and 26th February.

MyHealthAvatar is a three-year European Commission project designed to provide a computing platform that offers access, collection, sharing and intelligent analysis of long-term personal health status data.

It will give people more knowledge and control of their health via their computers and mobile phones.

The programme will keep archives of each user’s electronic health records, as well as store data about daily activities and family history.

MyHealthAvatar, which began in 2013, will help deliver clinical analysis, prediction, prevention and treatment tailored to individual subjects.

It will also build a consistent continent-wide record of individual citizens enabling effective treatment should travellers become unwell anywhere in the EU.

The UK’s University of Lincoln is involved in the project, which is being led by the University of Bedfordshire.

Dr Ye, who is working with a team from Lincoln’s Laboratory of Vision Engineering (LoVE), is primarily focussing on the areas of multi-scale medical image analysis and intelligent life-logging data analysis

Click here for more information on MyHealthAvatar.

Posted in Research, School news.

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Lincoln’s robots travelling the globe

Robots from the University of Lincoln, UK, were two of the major exhibits at one of the largest technology festivals in Asia.

3D-printed robot MARC (Multi-Actuated Robotic Companion) and ERWIN (Emotional Robot with Intelligent Network) were invited to Kshitij Techno-Management Fest, hosted by Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur – one of India’s premier technical institutions.

The robots were accompanied by their creator, Dr John Murray and PhD student Mriganka Biswas from Lincoln’s School of Computer Science.

Dr Murray said: “It was a fascinating and inspiring event, with highly respected scholars attending from all over the globe. The students and visitors really engaged with MARC and it was a great opportunity to showcase the future of robotics.”

MARC and ERWIN, are being used to help scientists understand how more realistic long-term relationships might be developed between humans and androids.

The project team believe their studies into human-computer interaction could one day see robots act as companions and may also help researchers to understand how relationships are built by children with conditions such as autism, Asperger syndrome or attachment disorder. MARC is a 3D-printed robot whose design was supplied by the open source project InMoov (

Kshitij, which attracted more than 65,000 visitors, provides a platform for students, academics and industry to showcase talent and innovation in technology. Workshops are conducted at several locations all over the country, to help the participants gain hands-on experience and enhance their technical skills. Culminating in a four day extravaganza, Kshitij also organises many inspiring guest lectures, exhibitions and megashows.

This year’s event, which ran from which ran from 31st January to 2nd February, was sponsored by major companies including Boeing, Hospira, Airbus Group and Honeywell; and it also gained UNESCO patronage.

Dr Murray and ERWIN have also been invited to attend Techkriti 2015 – the annual Technical and Entrepreneurial Festival of IIT Kanpur, India, from 19th to 22nd March, 2015.

In November 2014, MARC and his female counterpart TAMMIE (Technologically Advanced Multi-Modal Interactive Entity) attended Web Summit – Europe’s largest annual technology event in Dublin.





Posted in Uncategorized.

Huge success of Global Game Jam

Lincoln’s School of Computer Science was again an official site of the Global Game Jam (GGJ).

More than 50 jammers joined from all over the UK in what is becoming one of the School’s most enjoyable events.
The GGJ is the world’s biggest hackathon focused on games development, which this year involved more than 28,000 people from 78 countries creating 5,437 new games.

The theme was the simple question “What do we do now?”, which served as inspiration for a wide variety of games from imaginary skipping ropes, through to idol worship simulators, co-op platformers, games of Celtic mysticism and even a game that uses a real coffin as a controller.

All the games created by the University of Lincoln jammers are open source and downloadable for free and there is a video of the event.

It was organised by Dr Ben Kirman and Lincoln Computing Society, with special thanks to School of Computer Science technician Matt Ashton.

The weekend stirs a global creative buzz in games, while at the same time exploring the process of development, be it programming, iterative design, narrative exploration or artistic expression.

The GGJ encourages people from all kinds of backgrounds to participate and contribute to this global spread of game development and creativity.

Posted in Games development, Students.

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How outages of social networks affect the internet

An article by Dr  Ben Kirman and Tom Feltwell, from the School of Computer Science, is featured on news analysis and opinion website The Conversation.

The piece discusses the issues that arise when social networks crash, following the server error which brought down Facebook, Instagram and Tinder for about 50 minutes earlier this week.

The apparent outage at Facebook’s HQ cascaded to other networks that use Facebook to authenticate users.

Read the article here:

Posted in Social media.

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