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Updated 11 May 2007 12:33
Scottish Hoppers 2007: Friday 1st June

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Affective Computing
Professor Ruth Aylett, Heriot-Watt University

Affective computing is a new research area that concerns the development of systems that can register, model and/or influence human emotional and emotion-related states and processes. It is an inter-disciplinary area involving researchers from signal processing, psychology, interface design, animation and a number of AI fields such as agent architectures, robotics and reasoning. AI researchers have been attracted to the area because of the recognition that emotion in the broad sense pervades human communication and cognition. Human beings have positive or negative feelings about most things, people, events and symbols. These feelings strongly influence the way they attend, behave, plan, learn and select. The feelings are conveyed e.g. in faces, voices, gestures, and postures; and people judge others by the way they respond to such signals. This talk gives an overview of significant work in affective computing focusing on the role of emotion in autonomous agent action-selection systems. The FearNot! interactive drama system in which emotion-driven autonomous graphical characters are used for education against bullying will be used as an example of an affective system.

Biography Ruth Aylett is Professor of Computer Sciences in the School of Maths and Computer Science at Heriot-Watt University. She has a degree in mathematical economics from the LSE, and entered ICL as a graduate trainee in 1976. After three years of technical support she moved to Sheffield University where she worked in the micro-computing laboratory and became interested in Artificial Intelligence. Whilst a lecturer at the Sheffield Hallam University, she developed her interests with particular reference to cognitive modelling, natural language and intelligent interfaces. In 1989 she took up a post at the Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute in Edinburgh University, specialising in knowledge acquisition and knowledge engineering methodologies, followed by two years as leader of the AI group at the National Advanced Robotics Research Centre at Salford University. In 1998 she moved to the newly set up Centre for Virtual Environments and located her research in the overlap between 3D interactive graphics and artificial intelligence, first as Senior Lecturer, and then, from 2000, as Professor of Intelligent Virtual Environments. She moved to Heriot-Watt University in 2004.

Ruth's web pages

Directed Intervention Crossover applied to Bio-Control Scheduling
Dr Julie Cowie, University of Stirling

In this talk I will discuss my interest in optimisation methods, specifically focusing on current research examining the use of novel techniques for optimising scheduling problems. Two novel Genetic Algorithm cross-over techniques have been developed: Calculated Expanding Bin (CalEB) and Targeted Intervention with Stochastic Selection (TInSSel), which actively choose an intervention level and spread of interventions based on the fitness of the parent solutions selected for crossover.

CalEB and TInSSel are currently being evaluated by applying the techniques to two diverse application areas: a bio-control problem and chemotherapy treatment scheduling. The bio-control problem focuses on the area of mushroom farming, where the farmer seeks to optimise the use of the nematode Steinernema feltiae as a bio-control agent to control sciarid flies. Issues surrounding the application of the nematode include dosage levels and frequency of dose. In chemotherapy treatment, the aim is to maximise the effect of the chemotherapy treatment, whilst minimising the number of doses required.

Experiments to date have focused on the application of the techniques to the bio-control problem. Results indicate that the CalEB and TInSSel approaches lead to significant improvements over more traditional forms of genetic algorithm (such as uniform crossover) when a penalty is introduced for each intervention point used by the crossover algorithm. The basics of genetic algorithms, the two approaches developed and the results to date will be discussed in the talk.

Biography Julie Cowie is a lecturer in the department of Computer Science at Stirling University. Her research interests include the use of Intelligent Decision Support Systems (DSS) in the health service, with reference to health logistics. This concerns the day to day running of health care establishments and how the use of DSS and data modelling tools and techniques play a role in this area. She is also interested in the role of decision support systems in decision making. More recently, Julie has been looking at the use of optimisation techniques such as genetic algorithms and the use of neural techniques. This interest has lead her to investigate ways in which different operational research and artificial intelligence techniques might be combined to provide enhanced decision support. She has been involved in applying her ideas in diverse areas, such as optimising intervention points for bio-control agents in mushroom farming, the application of soil science techniques to archaeological questions, and providing an integrated model for early diagnosis of dementia. From 1996 to 2000 she conducted research at the University of Strathclyde towards her Ph.D. She is a key member of the multi-disciplinary Medical Informatics research group, which spans the Departments of Computing Science and Mathematics, Management and Organisation, Nursing and Midwifery, and Psychology.

Julie's web pages

Intelligent Formulation Software: Theory, Memory or Fantasy?
Professor Susan Craw, The Robert Gordon University

Chemical Formulation is important for the development of products in a range of industries: pharmaceuticals, ceramics, plastics, ... even Formula 1 racing! It involves component-based design in which the physical properties of the components deliver the required properties of the product and chemical properties determine the ability to form the product. Balancing these requirements ensures that formulation is a demanding problem-solving task. Formulation is the first step in developing many products that involve the design and control of a complete manufacturing process.

This talk seeks to answer the questions in the title. Is the intelligence of formulation software a reality or just "in theory"? Can memories invoke intelligence? Or is intelligent formulation software a fantasy? It explores knowledge-based approaches behind intelligent formulation software, the challenges in generating competitive formulations and the opportunities offered by self-adapting decision support tools. Will smart techniques enable theory or memory to achieve the fantasy of intelligent formulation software? Are there other applications on the horizon that may exploit these intelligent technologies?

Biography Susan Craw is Head of Research and Graduate Studies for Design & Technology at the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. She graduated from the University of Aberdeen with a 1st Class Honours degree in Mathematics (1977) and a research MSc in Mathematics (1979) on "Homotopy in Banach Algebras". Her first Computing qualification, a PhD on "Automated Refinement for Knowledge Based Systems", came much later in 1991. As a Mathematics teacher at Mackie Academy, Stonehaven, she first developed her interest in Computing, writing early software for classroom use in mathematics. In 1983 she joined RGIT (now RGU) as a lecturer, doing her part-time PhD, and then developing her research interests in the use of Machine Learning in Automated Knowledge Engineering Tools. Her 70+ Computing publications are complemented with one substantial mathematics journal paper! In 1998 she was awarded the title of Professor and became only the second female Professor of Computing in Scotland! She was appointed Head of the School of Computing in 2001 and Head of Research and Graduate Studies for Design & Technology in 2006. Despite spending all her academic career at RGU, she has the memorable experiences of sabbaticals at Kyoto University in Japan and the University of California at Irvine.

Susan's web pages

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