Informatics Seminars 2020/21

2020/21 Semester One

  • Seminars will be held online until further notice. Please contact Effie Law or Thomas Erlebach to be added to the mailing list for receiving seminar announcements with the meeting links.
  • To get the link to the Teams meeting for the next seminar, please click here (UoL account login required)

Fri Oct 9, 14:00 (Host: Effie Law)

Alan Blackwell (University of Cambridge)

TitleHow to design a programming language

Abstract: Programming languages - how to tell a computer what to do - are the core technology of the digital revolution, just as the invention of the wheel was the core technology enabling the design of land transportation systems. Wheels have been necessary, but not sufficient, for the design of effective cars. Beyond basic optimisation, and occasional innovation, research into wheel technologies may be important, but provides little practical guidance for successful products. In the same way, compilers and type systems are necessary, but not sufficient, for the design of effective programming languages. This talk draws lessons from the design of cars to propose principles and processes for programming language design, as well as research agendas that will support those principles and processes.

Speaker Bio: Alan Blackwell is Professor of Interdisciplinary Design at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. Originally trained as a control engineer, his early career in industrial automation soon led to an interest in programming as a technical user interface. He implemented his first visual programming language in 1983 (an antecedent of Harel’s StateCharts) for specifying control of a cement batching plant in his hometown Wellington. Subsequent projects included a real-time expert systems language used to implement emergency response systems that now run on the trains of London Underground’s Central and Jubilee lines. After delivering his first conference keynote on programming language design in 1995, he realised that he knew nothing about the scientific causes that made one programming language more usable than another, so left his role as design lead of novel end-user programming languages at Hitachi to study for a PhD with Thomas Green at the MRC Applied Psychology Unit in Cambridge. Since becoming an academic, he and his team have contributed to the design of programming languages, tools and techniques at companies around the world, including Microsoft, Google, Intel, Nokia, Sony, AutoDesk and many others.

Fri Oct 16, 14:00 (Host: Eugene Zhang)

Yuankai Huo (Vanderbilt University)

Title: Machine Learning for Medical Image Analysis using Big Data

Abstract: Rapid developments in data sharing and computational resources are reshaping the medical imaging research field from small-scale (e.g., a cohort < 300 subjects) to large-scale (e.g., big data with thousands or more subjects). However, traditional medical image analysis techniques can be inadequate to overcome the new challenges in big data; including robustness of algorithm, inter-subject variabilities, computational resources etc. In this talk, I will (1) present an end-to-end large-scale lifespan brain image analyses on more than 5000 patients, (2) discuss the challenges and opportunities in machine learning for medical image analysis using big data.

Fri Oct 23, 14:00 (Host: Effie Law)

Jo Iacovides (University of York)

Title: Beyond play: exploring the complexity of player experience

Abstract: Gameplay frequently involves a combination of positive and negative emotions, where there is increasing interest in understanding more complex forms of player experience. In this talk I will present the findings of three different studies that consider overlooked aspects of gameplay. The first focuses on reflection as a core component of the player experience through exploring what sorts of reflection players engage in, when they do so and how they feel about reflection. The second study examines uncomfortable gameplay interactions across different commercial games to investigate how discomfort manifests and influences player engagement. Finally, the third study focuses on player motivation, through examining the role of games during difficult life experiences. Through exploring reflection, discomfort, and gaming as a form of coping, the talk will discuss how games can invoke powerful experiences that impact how we think and feel beyond the initial instance of play.

Speaker Bio: Dr Ioanna (Jo) Iacovides, is a Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of York, UK. Her research interests lie in Human Computer Interaction with a particular focus on understanding the role of learning within the player experience, and on investigating complex emotional experiences in the context of digital play. In addition, she is interested in exploring how games and playful technologies can created for a range of persuasive purposes, such as education and behaviour change. She has received awards for a work on examining reflection and gaming (best paper, CHI PLAY 2018), evaluating persuasive games (honourable mention, CHI 2015) and for the game Resilience Challenge, which encourages healthcare practitioners to consider how they adapt safely under pressure (first prize, 2017 Annual Resilience Healthcare Network symposium).

Fri Oct 30, 14:00 (Host: Effie Law)

Julien Maffre (Microsoft Research Cambridge)

Title: Overview of the Confidential Consortium Framework (CCF)

Abstract: In this talk, I present the Confidential Consortium Framework (CCF), Microsoft's open source framework ( for building a new category of secure, highly available, and performant applications that focus on multi-party compute and data.

Fri Nov 6, 14:00 (Host: Eugene Zhang)

Shuai Liu (Hunan Normal University, China)

Title: Introduction of Advance in Single Target Tracking

Abstract: Computer vision is one of the main application scenarios of artificial intelligence, and visual tracking is the main research branch of computer vision. Therefore, based on traditional methods, our team uses human visual perception capabilities, Short-Long Term memory functions and attention characteristics by combining traditional feature models, and proposed corresponding visual tracking method/mechanism from the direction of target template matching and updates mechanism. Experiments show that the introduction of human vision can improve the tracking effect, and the proposed model can also propose a targeted development direction for human vision research.

Speaker Bio,: Prof. Shuai Liu received his Ph.D. degree from the Jilin University, 2011. From 2011 to 2018, lecturer to full Professor, he was on the faculty at the Inner Mongolia University, China. He joined the Department of Artificial Intelligence at Hunan Normal University in 2019, where he is now a director of this department. He was assigned the editorial role for many respected journals. His research interests include computer graphics, image processing, and computer vision.

Fri Nov 13, 14:00 (Host: Thomas Erlebach)

Syed Waqee Wali & Jan Ringert (University of Leicester)

Title: TBA

Fri Nov 20, 14:00 (Host: Effie Law)

Nicholas Cummins (King's College London)

Title: TBA

Fri Nov 27, 14:00 (Host: Huiyu Zhou)

Hui Wang (University of Ulster)

Title: Knowledge-support Learning

Fri Dec 4, 14:00 (Host: Huiyu Zhou)

Andrew M. Wallace (Heriot-Watt University)

Title: TBA

Fri Dec 11, 14:00 (Host: Mohammad Mousavi)

Michael Fisher (University of Manchester)

Title: TBA

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