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.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