Universities of Brighton and Cambridge share £368,000 Leverhulme grant

The universities of Brighton and Cambridge have won a £367,700 grant to research the use of diagrams instead of mathematical symbols to make complex data accessible to more people.

Scientific advances today increasingly depend on understanding, manipulating and querying data – and businesses which can capitalise on the value of information will have a competitive edge.

Traditional mathematical logics used to represent information are inaccessible to most people but by combining computer science and cognitive science, researchers aim to develop a novel and accessible diagram-based logic suitable for information representation and reasoning across a wide range of subject areas.

Gem1[1]

Dr. Gem Stapleton

Dr Gem Stapleton, Reader in Computer Science in the University of Brighton’s College of Life, Health and Physical Sciences, said: “The tools we develop will enable better communication and understanding between those who produce models to represent information, and those who use them, and ultimately lead to more robust and effective models to underpin scientific research.

“A particularly exciting aspect of our project is that it draws on both computer science and cognitive science to address a long-held assumption that using diagrams makes modelling and reasoning accessible. To do this, we will produce a formal and accessible diagrammatic reasoning system. In doing so, we aim to bring the full communicative benefits of diagrams to the field of knowledge management.

“This will enable non-specialist users to access and understand data, a process which is vital to scientific advances in the 21st century.”

The grant, which will fund two post-doctoral researchers, one at Brighton and one at Cambridge, for three years, has come from the Leverhulme Trust which makes awards for the support of research and education. It was started by Victorian businessman William Lever who founded Lever Brothers.

The lead researcher at Cambridge is Dr Mateja Jamnik, Senior Lecturer in the Computer Laboratory. For more information on Dr Stapleton, go to: https://sites.google.com/site/stapletongem/home and for more information about the research project, go to: https://www.brighton.ac.uk/research/our-research/life-health-and-physical-sciences/research-groups/computing/accessible-reasoning-with-diagrams.aspx

or https://www.brighton.ac.uk/research/our-research/life-health-and-physical-sciences/research-groups/computing/accessible-reasoning-with-diagrams.aspx

User centred design at IBM talk

A speaker from IBM is coming along TODAY at 13.00  in Watts 107 to talk about user centred design at IBM. She’ll be describing what it is like to be a Designer at IBM (including IBM’s legacy with design), the different design roles and what to expect if you were to work as a Designer at IBM e.g. the people/social side, perks of the role etc. She will also include how she got in to the industry and the growth in focus on usability.

A student startup success story

I’m always impressed when our students are able to combine their academic work at the University of Brighton with work commitments in the outside world. Usually this involves working for others but some of our students set up their own businesses. Thea and Sam are two such students. They have created a website, Share Style, which showcases fashion for real people.
Thea

Thea

Sam

Sam

I did a quick Q&A with Thea and Sam to find out more about Share Style and their plans for the future:
1) What courses are you studying and what year are you in? 
We’re studying Digital Media and Computer Science and we’re in the 2nd year.
2) What is Share Style and who is it aimed at? 
Share Style is a shopping and style sharing website; you can discover new brands, share your own style photos and collections; and most importantly shop the clothes you see on real people. The website is open to anyone, in fact a big aim of ours is to encourage people who might not ordinarily get themselves out there on social media to inspire each other and share style tips.
3) How did you come up with the idea for the site?
The initial idea came around because of our own frustrations when shopping online. We were sitting around in our flat one day trying to shop for clothes online, but ended up becoming more and more frustrated by the lack of choice and difficulty finding exactly what we wanted. The solution was simple, create a place where you can browse for clothes and see what they look like on real people!
4) Who does what on the site? 
Sam, who studies computer science handles the web development and infrastructure whereas I (Thea) take care of the design, marketing and PR. We’re lucky that we have a very cohesive skill sets and between the two of us we cover all the areas necessary to build and launch an online startup.
5) What have been the biggest challenges so far? 
Initially the biggest challenge was building the website whilst trying to keep on top of university and holding down part time jobs. There was a huge skill-gap that we needed to get past and it was incredibly time intensive. Since our launch, we’ve ditched the part-time jobs which relieves a little stress but the biggest challenge has been maintaining the marketing and keeping the website stable on a shoestring budget.
 
6) How do you balance your university work with running the site?
It’s definitely a challenge. Generally, during busy times at university we spend the weekdays doing university work and evenings and weekends working on the website. I can’t say we’ve always got the balance perfect, it’s taken lots of late nights and early mornings to squeeze everything in.
 
7) How much interest have you generated so far with it?
We’ve had some great feedback from our early adopters and everyone who comes across the site says they love the concept. Since our launch in February we’ve have collaborated with dozens of talented bloggers worldwide to celebrate how real people express themselves through style.
8) How do you see the site developing in the future?
In the coming months, Share Style will be released from beta with a bunch of new exciting features and an ultra modern front end.
We’ll be putting more of an emphasis on personalisation, for example, you’ll be able write and share posts formatted in a whatever font and style you please. We’re also introducing blog and Instagram integration, for our blogging community. After the website is officially re-released, plans for creating a Share Style app will swiftly follow. Everybody is crazy about apps, so we think this will be a great way for us to expand and grow.