“Crowd Saucing” & ACM Interactions

We have recently published an article in the ACM Interactions magazine, which is the most widely read industry & research magazine in the field of Human Computer Interaction. The article reports work carried out in the 2011/2012 academic year by two undergraduate students in the Lincoln School of Computer Science. The students, Tom Leeman and Chris Borrowdale, worked on their final year projects under the supervision of  Dr. Conor Linehan  – building and evaluating social media systems with the intention of helping users monitor and control their diet. Quick descriptions of the two projects:

Social Receipt

Social Receipt aimed to provoke people to think more critically and make more informed decisions about food purchasing. It sought to provide feedback to users on the healthiness of their diet. A bespoke social networking system was developed that allowed for the uploading of photographs and text-based interaction between users. Food purchasing was measured through the participants’ uploading of shopping receipts to the website. Analysis of receipts was crowdsourced among users, and users rated receipts via the traffic-light system commonly seen on food packaging in the U.K. (see Figure 1). We were interested in whether we could derive valid health information from the uploaded receipts through crowdsourcing the analysis of those receipts among the users of the site. Dietary feedback was delivered to users numerically, through the crowdsourcing task, but also socially, through the interaction of participants using typical social-network commenting systems. A prototype of the application is available to access in a limited capacity at http://socialreceipt.tomleeman.co.uk

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Plate and Rate

Plate and Rate aimed to provoke people to think more critically and make more informed decisions about food consumption. It also sought to facilitate an understanding of long-term dietary balance, something that people often find difficult. A Web-based application was developed, which, similar to Social Receipt, allowed for the uploading of photographs and text-based interaction between users. Food consumption was measured through the uploading of food photographs, and participants were expected to upload photographs of all their meals. Analysis of these photographs was carried out anonymously by other users of the application, who were asked to rate the plates of food uploaded in terms of how closely they resembled the Eatwell Plate, a visualization of a balanced diet developed by the U.K. National Health Service (see Figure 2). Ratings were averaged across users in order to generate a consensus rating for each plate. Feedback was presented to users via their own personal profiles, on which they could see a number of statistics showing how they differed from the guideline for each meal uploaded, as well as a visualization of the overall balance of their longer-term diet.

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Full text of the article is available for free on the magazine website.

LSoCS was well represented in the “Annual Vision & Language (V&L) Network workshop”

Two Presentations and Posters delivered by members of the Lincoln School of Computer Science (LSoCS), and the DCAPI research group, while attending the Annual Vision & Language (V&L) Network Workshop, 13-14th Dec. 2012 in Sheffield, UK.

Amr Ahmed, Amjad Al-tadmri and Deema AbdalHafeth attended the event, where  2 oral presentations and 2 posters were delivered and presented about their research work:

1. VisualNet: Semantic Commonsense Knowledgebase for Visual Applications
2. Investigating text analysis of user-generated contents for health related applications

Abstracts are available on ( http://www.vlnet.org.uk/VLW12/VLW-2012-Accepted-Abstracts.html)

Congratulations for all involved.

Amjad Altadmri and Amr Ahmed around their poster at the Vision & Language Net workshop, 13-14th Dec 2012, Sheffield, UK.
Amjad Altadmri and Amr Ahmed around their poster at the Vision & Language Net workshop, 13-14th Dec 2012, Sheffield, UK.
Deema AbdalHafeth and Amr Ahmed at the Vision & Language Net workshop, 13-14th Dec 2012, Sheffield, UK.
Deema AbdalHafeth and Amr Ahmed at the Vision & Language Net workshop, 13-14th Dec 2012, Sheffield, UK.

The event included tutorial sessions (Vision for language people, and language for vision people) and key-note speakers from organisers of popular challenges (e.g. TRECVID and ImageNet).

We had even better presence this year. Last year, we had a good presence in the last year’s workshop (http://amrahmed.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/2011/09/19/vl-network-workshop-brighton/), had good discussions and useful feedback on the presented work.

Thanks and well done for all involved.

New PostDoc and PhD positions available in Robotics

The Centre for Autonomous Systems is seeking to recruit two Postdoctoral Fellows and one PhD student in the context of a European collaborative project, involving six academic institutes and two industrial partners across four European countries. The project aims to enable robots to achieve robust and intelligent behaviour in human environments through adaptation to, and the exploitation of, long-term experience.

Lincolnshire Computing At School Intiative Launched by SoCS Staff

SoCS staff presenting to Computing School Teachers from the Lincolnshire region
SoCS staff presenting to Computing School Teachers from the Lincolnshire region

Thursday December 13th saw the official launch of the Computing At School Lincolnshire Hub with a meeting of computing teachers from across the region hosted by School of Computer Science staff on Brayford Campus.

School and Sixth Form College teachers from as far afield as Leicester, Skegness and Peterborough as well as from the immediate Lincoln area gathered for the launch of the Computing At School (CAS) Hub which is a national initiative sponsored by the British Computer Society (BCS) to help promote best practice in the teaching of computing at schools and to push forward the Government agenda to drive the focus of the national curriculum away from ICT to a more Computer Science approach.  As a member of the BCS “Network of Excellence” in the Computer Science field, SoCS were invited to create a Lincolnshire Hub centred on the University and staff have worked hard to create and promote what is hoped to be a continuing forum for the promotion of the subject of computing across the region. 

The initial meeting concentrated on proposals from the Education Secretary Michael Gove to promote Computing Science in Schools, and how the University of Lincoln could offer reskilling opportunities for current ICT teachers to enable them to become Computer Science teachers in the future.  Future meetings are already in the pipeline with possible future topics for investigation including the gender imbalance in the technology field; enhancing the classroom experience; promoting the need to ‘think’ in compulsory education and bringing Python into the classroom.  The meetings are informal and allow like-minded professionals to promote best practice, to get ideas of how to improve teaching of ‘tricky’ subjects and to provide a networking opportunity for teachers across the region. 

One attendee commented that “it was good to hear [SoCS] enthusiasm for working with local schools”, adding “we really value working with the University to make teaching of Computer Science a real success.”

University of Lincoln, UK