Glasgow hosts Chi 2019 - a Chair's perspective

I was one of the General Chairs of the ACM CHI 2019 conference held at the SEC and Crowne Plaza in May ( CHI is the top conference in human-computer interaction. It was the first time CHI had ever been in the UK and I was super happy that we got it to Glasgow. One reason was the great group that we have here.

CHI is big and this year was the biggest ever, with over 3800 attendees from 68 countries. We had ~3,000 full papers submitted and accepted 700. The conference had 22 parallel tracks. So, it was a huge event! You can see what we talked about in this nice visualisation: The three biggest topics were: VR, accessibility and AR.

We had some great keynotes, including Aleks Krotoski who does the digital human series on BBC Radio 4. They was a fantastic interactivity track, chaired by Julie Williamson, where people could try hands on demos. There were VR swings, a bucking bronco and lots of other crazy stuff.

Lots of people in the School helped organise it. Julie Williamson was the chair the hands-on Interactivity Track, Euan Freeman was the Web Chair, Helen Purchase the Certificates Chair, to name a few. Many GIST PhD students were student volunteers.

Organising it took a massive amount of time; I had been working hard on it for more than two years, but it was a great event. Lots of people came to visit the University and enjoyed the city. Glad it is done now though so I can get back to normal life!

Professor Stephen Brewster, General Co-Chair

Highly prestigious ERC Advanced Grant for Stephen Brewster

Congratulations to Professor Steve Brewster who has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant worth  €2.4 million for his 5-year project, "ViAjeRo: Virtual and Augmented Reality passenger experiences"ERC Advanced Grants back exceptional leaders throughout Europe who are recognised for their originality and the significance of their research contributions.

The project will investigate the use of virtual reality and augmented reality technologies for passengers on all forms of transport, but with particular interest in autonomous vehicles.   VR/AR headsets could allow passengers to use their travel time in new productive ways, but key fundamental challenges must be solved.   The key goals are:

  1. Develop novel interaction techniques for confined, seated spaces
  2. Support safe, socially acceptable use of virtual and augmented reality, providing awareness of others and the travel environment
  3. Overcome motion sickness thorugh novel multimodal countermeasures and neurostimulation
  4. Tailor the virtual and physical passenger environment to support new, immersive experience

More information on the University news web site

Professor Chris Johnson elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE)

Congratulations to Chris Johnson, Professor and Head of Computing Science, on his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE).

PWSAfrica - an article for early career researchers featured in LMS Newsletter, Issue 481

Research student Benjamin Bumpus provides an insight on his experience of teaching programming to students and academics in Nigeria in the London Mathematical Society Newsletter, Issue 481, March 2019, pp 31 - 32.

UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Social Intelligent Artifical Agents (SOCIAL)

Led by Computing Science Professor Alessandro Vinciarelli, a total of 50 new PhDs will be trained at the UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Social Intelligent Artificial Agents (SOCIAL).

SOCIAL is one of 16 new Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) which will share in £200m in new funding announced on 21 February 2019.   The overarching goal of the CDT is to shape the next generation of experts in Artificial Social Intelligence. It is the AI domain aimed at endowing artificial agents with social intelligence: the ability to deal with users’ attitudes intentions, feelings, personality and expectations.

As well as training in key areas of AI such as human-computer interaction and machine learning, students will be trained by specialists in fields such as psychology, social sciences, ethics and neuroscience. Research will be developed in collaboration with industry partners to address real-world industry problems. Each PhD project will have an interdisciplinary supervisory team and/or industrial associate.

Full article on the University News site at

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