Student advocate for women in technology wins Google Anita Borg scholarship

Student advocate for women in technology wins Google scholarship
Winning Google’s 2014 Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship is inspiring Judith Gammie to continue encouraging more women into technology careers.
A Master of Computer Science [insert link: http://www.rmit.edu.au/programs/mc061] student at RMIT University, Ms Gammie feels that the scholarship comes with an obligation to carry on the work of American computer scientist Anita Borg, in whose memory the scholarship is named.
“Receiving this award is a real honour as the scholarship is named after Dr Anita Borg, who devoted her life to breaking down barriers that prevent women from entering technical fields,” Ms Gammie said.
“The scholarship has really encouraged me to continue to do whatever I can to help set an example and support other women thrive in technical degrees.”
To redress the gender imbalance in technological areas Dr Borg founded the Institute for Women and Technology in 1997, with a vision of ensuring that women made up 50% of all computing graduates by 2020.
Although Dr Borg died with her work far from finished, through this scholarship Google aims to encourage women studying computing and technology to become active role models and leaders in these fields.
“I think this award is really important because it acknowledges the importance of making sure women are strongly represented in technical degrees and careers,” Ms Gammie said.
“I also admire the fact that Google is putting its money where its mouth is to help tackle the under-representation of women in the industry.”
While acknowledging that addressing this inequality is a worthy cause on its own, Ms Gammie feels there are also practical reasons for encouraging more women to take up technology careers.
“I’m passionate about getting more women in tech as I think it’s important for the makeup of teams who are creating products to reflect the makeup of their user base,” she said.
“For example, the first batch of artificial heart valves couldn’t be used for women and children because they had been designed for men and were too big.”
Earlier this year, Ms Gammie and a group of other female students established RMIT SWITCH (Society for Women in Information TeCHnology), to build a supportive community of female tech students by running a combination of social, technical and career focussed events.
“I am the President and one of the co-founders of SWITCH and so far we’ve got 70 members, which is a great start,” she said.
“We want to do whatever we can to help women thrive in technical degrees and careers, as well as working to increase the visibility of female role models in the tech industry.
“The opportunities for interesting and rewarding careers in tech are endless and it is a shame that many women miss out on those opportunities because they don’t see tech as a viable option for them.”
Along with her outstanding academic record, it was this enthusiastic advocacy for women in technology that swayed the scholarship judges, according to Stephanie Borgman, a Google talent scout and internship program manager.
“Judith was selected based on her demonstrated leadership in the field and passion for computing and technology,” she said.
“I’m happy to congratulate her as one of the 2014 APAC Google Anita Borg Scholars, and we continue to invest in scholars such as Judith because it’s important to support the next generation of female computer scientists.”
Ms Borgman emphasises that the influence of these scholarships will hopefully extend much further for just the individual award winners.
“Judith is a role model for other women and will continue to dismantle the barriers that keep women from entering computer science fields,” she said.
“Even more than the scholarship award, we want to create a supportive peer network, not just in Australia, but throughout the world.
“We believe having a diversity of perspectives leads to better decision-making, more relevant products, and makes work a whole lot more interesting.”
As a recipient of one of only six scholarships awarded in Australia, Ms Gammie joined another 26 Anita Borg Memorial Scholars from all over Asia Pacific for the APAC Anita Borg Scholars Retreat in Tokyo in September, which included workshops, speakers, panellists, breakout sessions and social activities over several days.
“I am so thrilled to be one of the recipients of this scholarship, and it definitely helps to validate all those late nights spent finishing assignments, emailing SWITCH sponsors and organising launch parties!” she said.
Dr Lawrence Cavedon, from RMIT’s School of Computer Science and IT [insert link: http://www.rmit.edu.au/compsci], sees the scholarship as just reward for a lot of hard work and high achievement.
“This is a fabulous achievement by Judith and the School is extremely proud for one of our students to have achieved this award,” he said.
“Judith is a very worthy recipient and makes a great ambassador: as well as achieving outstanding academic results (she was at the very top of my course), she is also co-founder and current President of RMIT’s Society for Women in IT, a group that supports and encourages women studying and interested in IT.
Ms Gammie is currently finishing her Masters, but while she has plenty of ideas for what she wants to do afterwards, providing leadership to women in technology will remain a priority.
“I’d like to spend some time working in technology consulting once I finish my degree, as I’m really attracted to the idea of working with a wide variety of clients from different industries and with different types of businesses, either here in Australia or over in the US, and eventually I plan to start my own business,” she said.
“But whatever success I am able to achieve, I’d like to use that to help other women by supporting or investing in female-led tech businesses.”
Dr Anita Borg would be delighted.
Google scholarship winner Judith Gammie speaking at a meeting of RMIT Society for Women in IT (SWITCH)

Google scholarship winner Judith Gammie speaking at a meeting of RMIT Society for Women in IT (SWITCH)

Winning Google’s 2014 Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship is inspiring Judith Gammie to continue encouraging more women into technology careers.

A Master of Computer Science student at RMIT University, Judith feels that the scholarship comes with an obligation to carry on the work of American computer scientist Anita Borg, in whose memory the scholarship is named.

“Receiving this award is a real honour as the scholarship is named after Dr Anita Borg, who devoted her life to breaking down barriers that prevent women from entering technical fields,” said Judith. “The scholarship has really encouraged me to continue to do whatever I can to help set an example and support other women thrive in technical degrees.”

To redress the gender imbalance in technological areas Dr Borg founded the Institute for Women and Technology in 1997, with a vision of ensuring that women made up 50% of all computing graduates by 2020. Although Dr Borg died with her work far from finished, through this scholarship Google aims to encourage women studying computing and technology to become active role models and leaders in these fields.

“I think this award is really important because it acknowledges the importance of making sure women are strongly represented in technical degrees and careers,” said Judith. “I also admire the fact that Google is putting its money where its mouth is to help tackle the under-representation of women in the industry.”

While acknowledging that addressing this inequality is a worthy cause on its own, Judith feels there are also practical reasons for encouraging more women to take up technology careers.

“I’m passionate about getting more women in tech as I think it’s important for the makeup of teams who are creating products to reflect the makeup of their user base,” she said. “For example, the first batch of artificial heart valves couldn’t be used for women and children because they had been designed for men and were too big.”

Earlier this year, Judith and a group of other female students established RMIT SWITCH (Society for Women in Information TeCHnology), to build a supportive community of female tech students by running a combination of social, technical and career focussed events.

“I am the President and one of the co-founders of SWITCH and so far we’ve got 70 members, which is a great start,” she said. “We want to do whatever we can to help women thrive in technical degrees and careers, as well as working to increase the visibility of female role models in the tech industry.

“The opportunities for interesting and rewarding careers in tech are endless and it is a shame that many women miss out on those opportunities because they don’t see tech as a viable option for them.”

Along with her outstanding academic record, it was this enthusiastic advocacy for women in technology that swayed the scholarship judges, according to Stephanie Borgman, a Google talent scout and internship program manager.

“Judith was selected based on her demonstrated leadership in the field and passion for computing and technology,” she said. “I’m happy to congratulate her as one of the 2014 APAC Google Anita Borg Scholars, and we continue to invest in scholars such as Judith because it’s important to support the next generation of female computer scientists.”

Ms Borgman emphasises that the influence of these scholarships will hopefully extend much further for just the individual award winners.

“Judith is a role model for other women and will continue to dismantle the barriers that keep women from entering computer science fields,” she said. “Even more than the scholarship award, we want to create a supportive peer network, not just in Australia, but throughout the world.

“We believe having a diversity of perspectives leads to better decision-making, more relevant products, and makes work a whole lot more interesting.”

Judith Gammie helped found RMIT SWITCH to encourage women studying technology to pursue careers in the field

Judith Gammie helped found RMIT SWITCH to encourage women studying technology to pursue careers in the field

As a recipient of one of only six scholarships awarded in Australia, Judith joined another 26 Anita Borg Memorial Scholars from all over Asia Pacific for the APAC Anita Borg Scholars Retreat in Tokyo in September, which included workshops, speakers, panellists, breakout sessions and social activities over several days.

“I am so thrilled to be one of the recipients of this scholarship, and it definitely helps to validate all those late nights spent finishing assignments, emailing SWITCH sponsors and organising launch parties!” she said.

Dr Lawrence Cavedon, from RMIT’s School of Computer Science and IT, sees the scholarship as just reward for a lot of hard work and high achievement.

“This is a fabulous achievement by Judith and the School is extremely proud for one of our students to have achieved this award,” he said. “Judith is a very worthy recipient and makes a great ambassador: as well as achieving outstanding academic results (she was at the very top of my course), she is also co-founder and current President of RMIT’s Society for Women in IT, a group that supports and encourages women studying and interested in IT.”

Judith is currently finishing her Masters, but while she has plenty of ideas for what she wants to do afterwards, providing leadership to women in technology will remain a priority.

“I’d like to spend some time working in technology consulting once I finish my degree, as I’m really attracted to the idea of working with a wide variety of clients from different industries and with different types of businesses, either here in Australia or over in the US, and eventually I plan to start my own business,” she said. “But whatever success I am able to achieve, I’d like to use that to help other women by supporting or investing in female-led tech businesses.”

Dr Anita Borg would be delighted.

Further information:

Connect with us and keep in touch:
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Finding the right words: RMIT hosts conference double for web search and text processing

Dr. Jennifer Lai of IBM talking about Watson

Dr. Jennifer Lai of IBM talking about Watson

Late November saw RMIT University hosting two major web search conferences in the fields of text and natural language processing and information search and retrieval, including processing speech, social media, and large document collections.

The Australasian Document Computing Symposium (ADCS) and the Australasian Language Technology Association Workshop (ALTA) brought together more than 120 of the top researchers in this subject area, from Australia and New Zealand, as well as further afield.

The major sponsors for the conferences included SEEK, Bing, Google, CSIRO, SIGIR, IBM Research, and RMIT University, with keynote talks by leading international researchers, such as Maarten de Rijke, from the University of Amsterdam; Diane Kelly, from the University of North Carolina; and Jennifer Lai of IBM Research.

This event went from 26-28 November, 2014, and was the twelfth annual installment of the Australasian Language Technology Association Workshop (ALTA) in its most-recent incarnation – the continuation of an annual workshop series that has existed under various guises since the early 1990s. The 19th Australasian Document Computing Symposium (ADCS) ran from 27-28 November, 2014, and was an opportunity for researchers and practitioners in document management and information retrieval to meet and present their work, with the symposium aiming to cover all aspects of Document Computing and Information Retrieval and emphasising both commercial and academic issues by encouraging a variety of submissions.

The conferences were hosted by RMIT’s School of Computer Science and IT.

Related links and further information:

  • The 12th Australasian Language Technology Association Workshop (ALTA): http://www.alta.asn.au/events/alta2014/index.html
  • The 19th Australasian Document Computing Symposium (ADCS): http://www.cs.rmit.edu.au/adcs2014/
  • RMIT School of Computer Science and IT.
  • Find out about the research culture at RMIT’s School of Computer Science and IT (video).
  • Find the school on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

KPMG top teacher award for CSIT’s Shekhar Kalra

Congratulations to Mr Shekar Kalra for winning the KPMG Acclaimed Educator Award 2014.
The KPMG Acclaimed Educator Award is an industry sponsored initiative that gives students the opportunity to name their most inspiring teacher they’ve encountered during their first semester at RMIT. Over 600 students from across the university voted this year, ranging from certificate to masters programs.
Shekar is from the School of Computer Science and IT in the College of Science, Engineering and Health.
Shekar will be awarded a $3000 prize from KPMG at a celebratory luncheon in October.Congratulations to Mr Shekar Kalra for winning the KPMG Acclaimed Educator Award 2014.
The KPMG Acclaimed Educator Award is an industry sponsored initiative that gives students the opportunity to name their most inspiring teacher they’ve encountered during their first semester at RMIT. Over 600 students from across the university voted this year, ranging from certificate to masters programs.
Shekar is from the School of Computer Science and IT in the College of Science, Engineering and Health.
Shekar will be awarded a $3000 prize from KPMG at a celebratory luncheon in October.Congratulations to Mr Shekar Kalra for winning the KPMG Acclaimed Educator Award 2014.
The KPMG Acclaimed Educator Award is an industry sponsored initiative that gives students the opportunity to name their most inspiring teacher they’ve encountered during their first semester at RMIT. Over 600 students from across the university voted this year, ranging from certificate to masters programs.
Shekar is from the School of Computer Science and IT in the College of Science, Engineering and Health.
Shekar will be awarded a $3000 prize from KPMG at a celebratory luncheon in October.Congratulations to Mr Shekar Kalra for winning the KPMG Acclaimed Educator Award 2014.
The KPMG Acclaimed Educator Award is an industry sponsored initiative that gives students the opportunity to name their most inspiring teacher they’ve encountered during their first semester at RMIT. Over 600 students from across the university voted this year, ranging from certificate to masters programs.
Shekar is from the School of Computer Science and IT in the College of Science, Engineering and Health.
Shekar will be awarded a $3000 prize from KPMG at a celebratory luncheon in October.Congratulations to Mr Shekar Kalra for winning the KPMG Acclaimed Educator Award 2014.
The KPMG Acclaimed Educator Award is an industry sponsored initiative that gives students the opportunity to name their most inspiring teacher they’ve encountered during their first semester at RMIT. Over 600 students from across the university voted this year, ranging from certificate to masters programs.
Shekar is from the School of Computer Science and IT in the College of Science, Engineering and Health.
Shekar will be awarded a $3000 prize from KPMG at a celebratory luncheon in October.Congratulations to Mr Shekar Kalra for winning the KPMG Acclaimed Educator Award 2014.
The KPMG Acclaimed Educator Award is an industry sponsored initiative that gives students the opportunity to name their most inspiring teacher they’ve encountered during their first semester at RMIT. Over 600 students from across the university voted this year, ranging from certificate to masters programs.
Shekar is from the School of Computer Science and IT in the College of Science, Engineering and Health.
Shekar will be awarded a $3000 prize from KPMG at a celebratory luncheon in October.
Congratulations to Shekhar Kalra, School of Computer Science and IT, for winning the KPMG Acclaimed Educator Award 2014

Congratulations to Shekhar Kalra, School of Computer Science and IT, for winning the KPMG Acclaimed Educator Award 2014

Popular computer science lecturer Shekhar Kalra was modesty personified after winning the KPMG Acclaimed Educator Award 2014, claiming that his award was more a reflection of the overall teaching excellence within RMIT’s School of Computer Science and IT.

“First, it is a surprise!” he said. “I don’t tend to think of myself in award-winning terms, but while being nominated for this award is an honour in its own right, to be accepted and chosen to represent a department filled with such talent is extremely humbling.”

The KPMG Acclaimed Educator Award is an industry-sponsored initiative that gives students the opportunity to name the most inspiring teacher they’ve encountered during their first semester at RMIT.

“As a proud employee of RMIT I am happy that our department here gets the recognition it richly deserves, but as a lecturer who strives daily to give my best to and for students I also really welcome the recognition it brings,” said Shekhar.

“It is important for me at a personal level because I strive for excellence in my teaching practice – perhaps I am more on the path to becoming a decent lecturer than I imagined!”

Over 600 students from across the university voted this year, ranging from certificate to masters programs, and though Shekhar is both incredulous and curious about how he won this award, he’s more certain about what constitutes good teaching.

KPMG and RMIT executives awarded Shekhar a $3000 prize at a celebratory luncheon in October

KPMG and RMIT executives awarded Shekhar a $3000 prize at a celebratory luncheon in October

“Frankly I have no idea how I won this award, and I am curious to learn the answer to that question,” he said.

“But as for what makes a good teacher: empathy with students; curiosity and openness to new ideas, accompanied by a willingness to change and a passion for preparing people for real-world experience.”

Although he’s taught at the School of Computer Science and IT for some time, Shekhar’s enthusiasm and optimism about the future for RMIT remains undimmed.

“I have been here for some years, but indeed look forward to the time ahead and ongoing recognition of RMIT as a flagship of excellence in education.”

Shekhar was awarded a $3000 prize from KPMG at a celebratory luncheon in October. KPMG is one of the largest professional services companies in the world, specializing in audit, tax ad advisory services, with over 155,000 people in member firms across 155 countries.

Connect with us and keep in touch:
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Watching brief yields IEEE journal success for Masters student on the ethics of CCTV surveillance

The article, written by Michael Kerr and myself called “Adapting Law Enforcement Frameworks to Address the Ethical Problems of CCTV Product Propagation” points addresses a really important issue in ubiquitous video surveillance, that Michael sees on a daily basis at work.
As a technical office in the Federal Attorney-General’s office, Michael sees a lot of video surveillance footage.  It lead him to consider some of the ethics behind such use.  Having an MA in Applied Ethics from Melbourne University, gives him a slightly more practised view on the ethical problems that can occur here.
The article – which is quite readable to the general public – gives some hypothetical examples of the use and rules behind the use of video surveillance footage and how they can be extended beyond what was originally intended.  It is one of two articles that lead the theme of the whole issue – Surveillance, the back story.
A concrete local example, was the rape and murder of a woman in Melbourne some time ago, where the video surveillance footage in shops was used to ‘look out the shop window’ literally, to catch the perpetrator.  While few in the public would object to such usage, a question has to be asked, where do you draw the limit?   What was interesting here was the public outcry referred to on ABC (“Thousands March in Honour of Meagher,”) and Youtube (“Thousands Rally for Jill,”) in support of more public surveillance.
Dr Ron van Schyndel, Michael’s supervisor, said that “… this is a great example of how someone who sees a need to address an issue that is important to him or her, can do so, in a research thesis, where a proper study can be made of the issue, and a possible solution proposed…”.  Dr van Schyndel, added that “..a person that has such strong conviction about an issue can really do a lot of work through a research degree, even a part-time one, as in this case.  It also adds to the satisfaction of the job, when you can address a personal side of it (and better still with the permission of your boss), and it often has little impact on the day job, because you already have the expertise of the job, and adding the research part to that may not be a large time-burden.  A part-time research degree does not have to take twice as long as a full time one for this reason alone.”
The article appears in IEEE Security and Privacy magazine.
Can there be ethical surveillance?

Can there be ethical surveillance?

A top international computer science journal has published an article by RMIT Research Masters student Michael Kerr on the ethical questions of ubiquitous video surveillance. Michael works for the Federal Attorney General’s Office and the paper was informed by his day to day experience working with various law enforcement agencies.

The article, written by Michael Kerr with his thesis supervisor, Dr Ron van Schyndel, is titled, ‘Adapting Law Enforcement Frameworks to Address the Ethical Problems of CCTV Product Propagation’, and is published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE – the world’s largest technical professional society, with 600,000 members worldwide) in their magazine, Security and Privacy.

While the paper’s subject matter may have been informed by his professional experience, Michael’s academic background in another field was also crucial, according to Dr van Schyndel.

“Working in the Federal Attorney-General’s office, Michael sees a lot of video surveillance footage and it lead him to consider the ethics behind such use,” he said. “Having an MA in Applied Ethics from Melbourne University, gives him a slightly more practised view on the ethical problems that can occur here.”

The article gives some hypothetical examples of the use and rules behind the use of video surveillance footage and how they can be extended beyond what was originally intended and it is one of two articles that lead the theme of the whole issue of the magazine – ‘Surveillance, the back story’.

“A concrete local example, was the rape and murder of a woman in Melbourne some time ago, where the video surveillance footage in shops was used to ‘look out the shop window’ literally, to catch the perpetrator,” explains Dr van Schyndel.

“While few in the public would object to such usage, a question has to be asked, where do you draw the limit? What was interesting here was the public outcry referred to on ABC (Thousands March in Honour of Meagher) and Channel 7 (Thousands Rally for Jill) in support of more public surveillance.”

Relating research topics to work or life experience is a great advantage, according to Dr van Schyndel.

“This is a great example of how someone who sees a need to address an issue that is important to him or her, can do so, in a research thesis, where a proper study can be made of the issue, and a possible solution proposed,” he said.

“A person that has such strong conviction about an issue can really do a lot of work through a research degree, even a part-time one, as in this case.  It also adds to the satisfaction of the job, when you can address a personal side of it (and better still with the permission of your boss), and it often has little impact on the day job, because you already have the expertise of the job, and adding the research part to that may not be a large time-burden. A part-time research degree does not have to take twice as long as a full time one for this reason alone.”

The article appears in IEEE Security and Privacy magazine.

Read the article:

Related links and further information:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Chinese delegation from Shanghai Jiao Tong University cement research links with visit to RMIT AICAUSE

Shanghai Jia Tong Collaboration Visit
On 24 October AICAUSE hosted Prof. Ruimin Shen and his delegation from Shanghai Jia Tong University (SJTU). Prof. Shen is a professor in the Computer Science & Engineering Department of SJTU and directs the eLearning Lab of SJTU for about twenty years, researching effective methods for virtual classrooms and real-time mobile protocols that enable large numbers of remote students to interact both in synchronous and asynchronous teaching and learning modes.
Shanghai Jiao Tong University is one of the oldest universities in China. For some time, it is recipient of significant public funding programs to pave the way for eLearning both in vocational training and higher education.
In the morning Prof Shen and his delegation took a tour through our virtual collaboration and remote control facilities (www.rmit.edu.au/research/aicause). This included a visit to the Advanced Manufacturing Precinct where we have some of the remote controlled robots.  The visitors were impressed with our remote controlled robotics testing lab in the AMP and with the advanced manufacturing capabilities there. Also the 3D printing and robotics area there provided interesting background for brainstorms and discussions on training involving engineering laboratories with access from remote and virtual work-integrated learning  for what we might call the coming automation or machine age, in which China plans to play an important role.
Prof Shen gave his seminar as a joint AICAUSE and CSIT Seminar “Constructing a user experience-based mobile learning environment” (http://www.cs.rmit.edu.au/seminars/2014/shen.html) . Dr George Wang talked about the SJTU’s “Development of MOOC Platforms” in the afternoon.
The guests were then hosted by the DVC International and VP, Prof. Andrew MacIntyre.
The meeting provided opportunities for discussing and exploring future collaboration between SJTU and RMIT.
Advanced Manufacturing Robotics Interoperation Testing (AMRIT) Lab. Left to right: Jiajun Wang, Heinz Schmidt, Ruimin Shen

Advanced Manufacturing Robotics Interoperation Testing (AMRIT) Lab. Left to right: Jiajun Wang, Heinz Schmidt, Ruimin Shen

On Friday 24 October RMIT University’s Australia-India Research Centre for Automation Software Engineering (AICAUSE) hosted Professor Ruimin Shen and his delegation from Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU).

Professor Shen is a professor in the Computer Science & Engineering Department of SJTU, with twenty years’ experience directing the eLearning Lab of SJTU, researching effective methods for virtual classrooms and real-time mobile protocols that enable large numbers of remote students to interact both in synchronous and asynchronous teaching and learning modes.

RMIT Director e-Research Professor Heinz Schmidt showed the party around.

“In the morning Professor Shen and his delegation took a tour through RMIT’s virtual collaboration and remote control facilities, which included a visit to the Advanced Manufacturing Precinct (AMP) where we have some of the remote controlled robots,” said Professor Schmidt.

“The visitors were impressed with our remote controlled robotics testing lab in the AMP and with the advanced manufacturing capabilities there. Also the 3D printing and robotics area there provided interesting background for brainstorms and discussions on training involving engineering laboratories with access from remote and virtual work-integrated learning  for what we might call the coming automation or machine age, in which China plans to play an important role.”

Following the tour, Professor Shen presented at a joint AICAUSE and School of Computer Science and IT Seminar, titled Constructing a user experience-based mobile learning environment. Dr George Wang then talked about SJTU’s Development of MOOC Platforms in the afternoon, before being hosted by the DVC International and VP, Professor Andrew MacIntyre. The meeting provided opportunities for discussing and exploring future collaboration between SJTU and RMIT.

AICAUSE centre - Additive Manufacturing Floor - 3D Printer stations

Additive Manufacturing Floor - 3D Printer stations

Shanghai Jiao Tong University is one of the oldest universities in China. For some time, it is recipient of significant public funding programs to pave the way for eLearning both in vocational training and higher education.

The Australia-India Research Centre for Automation Software Engineering (AICAUSE) is a joint initiative of RMIT University, the State Government of Victoria and the ABB Group (India and Australia).

Related links and further information:

Australia-India Research Centre for Automation Software Engineering (AICAUSE)

RMIT School of Computer Science and IT

Professor Shen’s seminar: Constructing a user experience-based mobile learning environment

Find the school on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Speak and ye shall find: speech-only web search leads to scholarship success

Research Masters student Johanne Trippas won a 10,000 Euro scholarship

Masters student Johanne Trippas won a €10,000 scholarship

A 10,000 Euro scholarship is set to help Computer Science student Johanne Trippas pursue her Masters research project into web search using speech-only communication channels that could help people with disabilities to more easily access information.

The scholarship is funded by the VOCATIO Foundation from Johanne’s home country of Belgium and is offered to Belgians under the age of 30 who are undertaking a project they are passionate about and which contributes to society in a broader sense.

Johanne was one of a very small number who got the award this year and she’s especially delighted with the funding.

“This is brilliant news as the scholarship allows me to travel to the US to meet with a team at the University of Massachusetts and ​I will also have the opportunity to meet researchers in user experience at University of California, Santa Cruz,” she said. “I’m very fortunate to receive this, as it is a very prestigious scholarship in Belgium, coming under the patronage of Their Royal Highnesses King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, with leading researchers and artists on the selection committee, and in addition to financial support, the foundation offers winners career mentoring and the opportunity to network with former laureates and leading figures in your particular field.”

​Established in 1963 as the “Fondation belge de la Vocation”, before being rechristened “VOCATIO” in 2011, the organisation supports young people in Belgium ​to pursue a ‘life project’ (or your vocation) that benefits wider society in some way. Projects can be in a number of fields including technology, art and science, and the aim is to enable young people to make an impact irrespective of their background.

“As part of my application, I presented the selection committee with my Masters research project which is investigating browsing web search results over a speech-only communication channel”, Johanne said. “I discussed how valuable browsing web search results over a speech-only communication channel would be for people with disabilities as it would enable them to access information with greater ease.”

How much is it worth? What does the scholarship entail?
​The scholarship is worth 10,000 euros. I receive the first half now and I have up to three years to demonstrate the progress I have made with my project before receiving the second half.​
In what way will this scholarship help you?
​This scholarship allows me to travel to the US to meet with a team at the University of Massachusetts. ​I will also have the opportunity to meet researchers in user experience at University of California, Santa Cruz. In addition, the scholarship helps fund me as I complete my research project.
Which organisation gave you the scholarship and what do they do?
​The scholarship is from VOCATIO (www.vocatio.be) which is a foundation established in 1963. They support young people in Belgium ​to pursue a ‘life project’ (or your vocation) which will benefit wider society in some way. Projects can be in a number of fields including technology, art and science. In addition to financial support, the foundation offers winners career mentoring and the opportunity to network with former laureates and leading figures in your particular field. Their goal is to enable young people to achieve irrespective of their background.
Is this a prestigious or exclusive scholarship in Belgium? Are many awarded?
Ten to fifteen scholarships of up to 10,000 euros are awarded each year. Candidates are selected out of 350-400 applicants. ​ ​
​It is a prestigious scholarship under the patronage of Their Royal Highnesses King Philippe and Queen Mathilde with leading researchers and artists on the selection committee.
What are you studying?
I am studying Masters of Computer Science with a minor thesis.
Why did you choose to study at RMIT?
​I decided to study at RMIT because it is a leading university in computer science but it also offers a very hands-on learning experience. When I was choosing where to study, I felt that this practical approach would be very useful for future employment opportunities.
What do you like about studying at RMIT and studying computer science?
RMIT is a very supportive environment and the staff have been very helpful Studying at RMIT has offered me the opportunity to meet people from many diverse backgrounds
What sort of path do you wish to follow after your masters? What are your career ambitions? What do you enjoy about technology and computing?
​I’m looking at continuing my research into a PhD​ and work to contribute to the knowledge of Human Computer Interaction
How common is it for women to study or work in ICT in Belgium? How does the situation in Australia compare? What are the key issues for you?
​ In both Belgium and Australia women continue to be in the minority in ICT. With technology being such a significant part of our lives today, it is important that more women are part of the process of creating technology. Key to getting more women involved is promoting the study of science and technology amongst girls in schools and having networking initiatives for women working in the industry.
What sort of interesting projects, groups or other things have you been involved in while at RMIT?
I have been involved in an interesting project to make a robot with Microsoft Kinect sensors for the Artificial Intelligence department, this has been one of the highlights of my studies. It was a project with other volunteer students from both undergraduate and postgraduate programs. I learned a lot and met new people from my department who encouraged me to do well in my courses.
I’ve been involved with a team of students to create a good RMIT experience, and acted as a mentor to new international students. I have also been active as a tutor for a couple of courses at the School of Computer Science and Information Technology.
I was also a lead ambassador for Girl Geek Coffees, who are trying to provide meaningful interpersonal support to female students and early career in ICT and related STEM fields. I helped organise meet and greet open discussion groups.
What sort of study/learning environment is it at RMIT and how does this compare to Belgium? How do you find your fellow students and your tutors?
​ The learning environment at RMIT is very supportive and offers a lot of flexibility (so you can study full-time or part-time) with individual learning needs taken into account. So it is possible, for example, to study and work as many classes in computer science are offered outside of business hours. This is great for people who might want to change their career or who have financial commitments and family responsibilities. I have been told that in Belgium there is less flexibility with many universities offering a more traditional model of education for full-time students.
What is it about Melbourne and RMIT that you like? What do you enjoy doing?
​I love the diversity of Melbourne – you meet so many people from so many different parts of the world. And the beauty of technology today is that my family and friends in Europe are never far away! Outside of studies I enjoy climbing, running and singing in my local community choir. ​

Johanne is also pleased that the extra funding will allow her to remain in Melbourne at RMIT.

​”RMIT is a very supportive environment and the staff have been very helpful, while I’ve also been able to meet so many people,” she said. “I love the diversity of Melbourne – you meet so many people from so many different parts of the world – and the beauty of technology today is that my family and friends in Europe are never far away!”

While it was practical considerations that led her to choose RMIT to study, Johanne has found that there are so many other compelling reasons to remain in Melbourne.

“I decided to study at RMIT because it is a leading university in computer science, but it also offers a very hands-on learning experience, and when I was choosing where to study, I felt that this practical approach would be very useful for future employment opportunities,” she said. “Outside of studies I enjoy climbing, running and singing in my local community choir, but I have also been involved in an interesting project to make a robot with Microsoft Kinect sensors for the Artificial Intelligence department, which has been one of the highlights of my studies.”

It was a project with other volunteer students from both undergraduate and postgraduate programs and I learned a lot, while meeting new people from my department who encouraged me to do well in my courses.”

As well as project work, Johanne has also been heavily involved with helping to guide new students and in promoting the involvement and interest of women in computing and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

“I’ve been involved with a team of students to create a good RMIT experience, and acted as a mentor to new international students, while I’ve also been active as a tutor for a couple of courses at the School of Computer Science and IT,” she said. “I’ve also been a lead ambassador for Girl Geek Coffees, who are trying to provide meaningful interpersonal support to female students and early career professionals in ICT and related STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields.”

Increasing the numbers of women actively participating in computer science and ICT, whether in a research capacity or as industry professionals is especially important to Johanne.

“In both Belgium and Australia women continue to be in the minority in ICT, and with technology being such a significant part of our lives today, it is important that more women are part of the process of creating technology,” she said. “The key to getting more women involved is promoting the study of science and technology amongst girls in schools and having networking initiatives for women working in the industry.”

​For her own part, Johanne sees her career as continuing in a research direction, which might possibly see her remain at RMIT in Melbourne.

“I’m looking at continuing my research into a PhD​ and working to contribute to the knowledge of Human Computer Interaction,’ she said. “The learning environment at RMIT is very supportive and offers a lot of flexibility (so you can study full-time or part-time) with individual learning needs taken into account, so it is possible, for example, to study and work, as many classes in computer science are offered outside of business hours. This is great for people who might want to change their career or who have financial commitments and family responsibilities, though I’ve been told that in Belgium there is less flexibility with many universities offering a more traditional model of education for full-time students.”

Connect with us and keep in touch:
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Paper trail leads William to academic heights

PhD student William Raffe, Dr Fabio Zambetta and Ass Prof Xiaodong Li have co-published with Kenneth O. Stanley (a major player in games research who  visited from Florida to give a NICTA Vision talk: <a href=”http://youtu.be/tZBViI8ZaU0″ target=”_blank”>http://youtu.be/tZBViI8ZaU0</a>) a paper entitled “An Integrated Approach to Personalized Procedural Map Generation using Evolutionary Algorithms” in IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games.
That is the top journal for AI in Games with an impact factor of 1.694
(at the level of other established top machine learning and AI
journals).
This is the key contribution from William’s PhD that has just been
passed, by the way :-)
Computer Science PhD student William Raffe with his co-authors Associate Professor Xiaodong Li and Dr Fabio Zambetta.

Computer Science PhD student William Raffe with his co-authors: Associate Professor Xiaodong Li and Dr Fabio Zambetta.

Having your thesis passed would be cause enough to start celebrating for most students, but Computer Science PhD William Raffe also discovered that he was getting a paper published in one of the top peer-reviewed journals in his field.

The paper, “An Integrated Approach to Personalised Procedural Map Generation using Evolutionary Algorithms“, was published in IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games, which is a journal produced by IEEE (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), and is considered the top journal for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Games (with an impact factor of 1.694).

“By publishing there, I not only exposed my work to a rigorous peer-review process (which has benefited my thesis immensely) but have also disseminated the knowledge to a large audience of like-minded games researchers; an important achievement for any research student studying AI in games,” said William.

“The journal is relatively new, but is growing in popularity and impact every year and is a preferred venue for experts in the field, such as my co-authors, who I can’t thank enough for their support and encouragement.”

William produced the paper in collaboration with his thesis supervisors from the School of Computer Science and IT, Associate Professor Xiaodong Li and Dr Fabio Zambetta, as well as Kenneth O. Stanley (a major player in games research from the University of Central Florida who visited the school to give a NICTA-sponsored talk, “Discovery without objectives“).

“This paper is about personalising video games to the preferences and skills of individual players,” said William. “This is done by getting a player to leave feedback on the maps in the game that they play, and this data is then combined with machine learning and evolutionary computing techniques to procedurally generate new maps that are tailored to maximise that player’s enjoyment.

“This is important, because rather than assuming that all players are the same or fit into broad categories, as is traditionally done, personalised procedural content generation respects the individuality of each player.”

While he was primary supervisor during William’s PhD, Dr Fabio Zambetta is also keen to point out that his familiarity with William’s work does not begin or end there.

“Getting the paper published in a top journal is a great achievement for William and it’s great to see his PhD passed too, but I’m not surprised,” he said. “I’ve watched William’s progress since he was an outstanding undergraduate student here at RMIT, then through his PhD, and now Xiaodong and I are delighted to have him working with us as a Postdoc Fellow on an ARC Linkage grant.”

More information:

Connect with us and keep in touch:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Professor Sellis explains Big Data potential to Australia’s financial sector leaders

Big Data expert Professor Timos Sellis

Big Data expert Professor Timos Sellis

After speaking in Melbourne today (5 August) at a major conference for business leaders, RMIT Big Data expert Professor Timos Sellis is off to Sydney on Thursday to present the same seminar at the event’s second leg. The conference is one of the biggest ANZ Technology & Innovation events for the financial sector, featuring top financial services institutions such as Westpac, ANZ, GE Capital, Commonwealth Bank and BT Financial Group.

The Sydney and Melbourne editions of the conference, Technology & Innovation – the Future of Customer Experience and Business Intelligence, are bringing together the best and brightest of Australia’s financial sector to share their industry-specific experiences.

As one of the keynote topics on the conference agenda, Professor Sellis explains how to harness big data analytics for improved business and customer insights. More details of Professor Sellis’ talk today can be found on the Melbourne agenda, while the Sydney conference has a slightly altered schedule.

Exploring and discovering information by sifting through large quantities of data
How to acquire, understand and correlate social media for decision making
Understanding the behaviour of customers based on geospatial and text data
Speaker: Professor Timos Sellis, International Big Data Expert, RMIT UniversityTransforming Big Data into Unlimited Knowledge
How is the volume, variety, velocity and veracity of data affecting knowledge discovery?
Exploring and discovering information by sifting through large quantities of data
How to acquire, understand and correlate social media for decision making
Understanding the behaviour of customers based on geospatial and text data
Speaker: Professor Timos Sellis, International Big Data Expert,
Transforming Big Data into Unlimited Knowledge

  • How is the volume, variety, velocity and veracity of data affecting knowledge discovery?
  • Exploring and discovering information by sifting through large quantities of data
  • How to acquire, understand and correlate social media for decision making
  • Understanding the behaviour of customers based on geospatial and text data

Speaker: Professor Timos Sellis, International Big Data Expert, RMIT University

RMIT University
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Clean sweep for RMIT in student iAwards at ICT industry gala night

RMIT student projects claimed both the undergraduate and postgraduate prizes at the 2014 Victorian iAwards, a showpiece industry event to celebrate the best of the best of Victoria’s ICT scene.

iAwards banner

The two projects from RMIT’s School of Computer Science and IT faced intense competition, with more than 90 nominations across a range of categories – a 40 per cent increase in nominations from last year – and Head of School Professor Athman Bouguettaya believes that winning these iAwards shows the calibre of not just the projects themselves, but also of the work being done in the school.

“I’m so proud of our students for producing such outstandingly innovative projects, and the staff for excellent supervision and leadership,” he said. “It’s gratifying to receive this sort of recognition from the local ICT industry, as that’s primarily the aim of much of the work we do – industry-partnered and industry-focused with real world applications.”

The iAwards are hosted by the Australian Computer Society (ACS), the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) and the Pearcey Foundation, honouring the most innovative and unique ICT solutions, companies and individuals on an annual basis, and are highly valued as industry recognition of excellence and innovation.

2014 Victorian postgraduate iAward for RMIT's EnviS

2014 Victorian iAward for RMIT's EnviS

“Everyone sits up and takes notice of the iAwards, as they’re all about innovation and providing industry-focused solutions, which is why such prestigious institutions as the ACS, AIIA and Pearcey established them,” said Professor Bouguettaya. “We’re keen to build on success like this, to develop even more partnerships with businesses and organisations, whether from within or from outside the ICT industry, who are seeking tech-based answers to their particular problems.”

The winner of the postgraduate iAward, EnviS, is a wireless multi-sensor monitoring system that tracks movement and monitors the accruing data accordingly. It was developed over three months by a team of five RMIT postgraduate Computer Science students during their Software Engineering course, and continued by a product development team, all recent graduates of RMIT’s Industrial Design program, from the School of Architecture and Design. Leading the project is Dr Flora Salim, from the School of Computer Science and IT, and she hopes that this iAward will help EnviS attract an industry sponsor to help develop the tool to its full potential.

“EnviS has mainly been a research project that has been supported by various seed fundings in RMIT,” said Dr Salim. “Now that EnviS has won the Victorian state level iAwards for postgraduate student project category, we are calling for industry partners to collaborate with us and invest in this project.”

The wireless sensor network modules are cheap to manufacture en masse, and end-users will be able to add or remove sensors to suit their needs, which widens the potential market for the product, according to Dr Salim, while creating the app for Android also allows for greater flexibility and scalability in the future. Dr Salim believes the EnviS wireless sensor network modules could be adopted to suit a range of different uses, including:

  • Smart health and activity monitoring. The router-nodes are fitted with accelerometers to monitor the low-level activities (walking, standing, sitting, running, cycling, etc). If combined with location information derived from GPS or Wifi access point data, the data could be analysed to monitor high level routines and predict the users’ activity and mobility patterns over time. If associated with their medical and physiological data, their cardiovascular activities can also be measured.
  • Parents can attach the sensor modules to their children’s school bags and monitor their whereabouts, activities, and the environmental contexts (air quality, noise, etc).
  • Smart home/building monitoring. EnviS could be used as a wireless sensor network at fixed points indoor and outdoor to monitor the changing thermal, light, noise, and occupancy conditions, and air quality indoor and outdoor. With the data management on the cloud, the data could be analysed to inform better operational management and reduce energy.

The undergraduate iAward went to RMIT Bachelor of Software Engineering student Shishir Chawla for his work in the initial development of an evaluation tool for assessing housing options. The tool is currently being developed by RMIT with funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC)SJB Urban and the Telematics Trust. As part of the RMIT team working on the tool, looking into how people make housing choices and implications for the city, Dr Dhirendra Singh is very excited about the interest being shown in Shishir’s work and the potential impact it could have.

“This iAward is great recognition of the value of this tool for home buyers and renters, and the excellent work Shishir has done in developing it,” said Dr Singh. “It really is about helping us make informed housing choices, and building vibrant and sustainable cities and neighbourhoods, and the tool is getting a lot of interest from all sorts of people and organisations (including realestate.com.au), even while still under development.”

Winners of the State iAwards will now go on to compete in the National iAwards in August, which is sponsored by the Victorian Coalition Government. Find out more about the iAwards.

EnviS: personalised wireless sensor monitoring system

EnviS is an integration of configurable wireless sensor network modules with cloud-based web services, which include a database that stores real-time readings from multiple sensor types and a mobile application which provides both historical and real-time data visualization of sensor readings within user-modelled three-dimensional maps of indoor spaces. Find out more.

This project is seeking an industry sponsor to help with further development and if you wish to get involved, contact Flora Salim (flora.salim@rmit.edu.au).

Housing Assessment Tool

Housing Assessment Tool.
* The Housing Assessment Tool was conceived of by SJB Urban (http://www.sjb.com.au/people/urban-design), and is currently being developed by RMIT, with funding from the Australian Research Council (435k for the larger project looking into how people make housing choices and implications for the city: http://goo.gl/zCZrfg), the Telematics Trust (http://www.telematics.org.au/), and SJB Urban. A early version of the tool was awarded the Victorian iAward this week for work by student Shishir Chawla: http://goo.gl/r7DbLE. A first public release is planned for later this year.
* The tool gives home buyers and renters an easy way to evaluate their housing options. Users can enter any residential address in Australia, and the tool then accesses it on a range of lifetime affordability and liveability factors. These include how well the place rates in terms of walking access to shops and services, how well connected it is in terms of public transport, and how accessible are green open spaces. It can even calculate the actual time it will take to travel to the user’s workplace or other frequent destinations, using public transport or car, and compare their costs. Assessment also covers aspects of the specific dwelling, such as likely ongoing energy costs based on the type of house, but also recommendations where significant savings are possible.

The tool gives home buyers and renters an easy way to evaluate their housing options. Users can enter any residential address in Australia, and the tool then accesses it on a range of lifetime affordability and liveability factors. These include how well the place rates in terms of walking access to shops and services, how well connected it is in terms of public transport, and how accessible are green open spaces. It can even calculate the actual time it will take to travel to the user’s workplace or other frequent destinations, using public transport or car, and compare their costs. Assessment also covers aspects of the specific dwelling, such as likely ongoing energy costs based on the type of house, but also recommendations where significant savings are possible. A first public release is planned for later this year.

Related links:

iAwards in the news

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Boeing scholarships for CSIT students at Science Awards night

Here are the recipients for the School of Computer Science and IT and Boeing Scholarship:
1) NICTA Prize for Computer Science – Best Bachelor of Comp Sci in their final year.
Joshua John Webb
2) NICTA Prize for Information Technology – Best Bachelor of Info Tech in their final year.
Jayden Kristian Ivanovic
3) NICTA Prize for Software Engineering – Best Bachelor of Software Engineering in their final year.
Wriddhi Banerjee
4) NICTA Prize for Master of Computer Science – Best Master of Computer Science in their final year.
Pulkit Karawal
Alsharif Abuadbba
** As per before, for the Boeing Scholarship, out of 5 awards/recipients, 4 were CSIT students:
1) Boeing Female UG Scholarship – Bachelor of Info Tech
Kim Alda Tria
2) Boeing Postgraduate Scholarship – Master of Comp Sci
Maria Elena Duenas
3) Boeing Postgraduate Scholarship – Master of Comp Sci
Saurav Jha
4) Boeing Middle to Latter Career Undergraduate Scholarship – Bachelor of Technology( Computing Studies)
Yoann Herve StringiniHere are the recipients for the School of Computer Science and IT and Boeing Scholarship:
1) NICTA Prize for Computer Science – Best Bachelor of Comp Sci in their final year.
Joshua John Webb
2) NICTA Prize for Information Technology – Best Bachelor of Info Tech in their final year.
Jayden Kristian Ivanovic
3) NICTA Prize for Software Engineering – Best Bachelor of Software Engineering in their final year.
Wriddhi Banerjee
4) NICTA Prize for Master of Computer Science – Best Master of Computer Science in their final year.
Pulkit Karawal
Alsharif Abuadbba
** As per before, for the Boeing Scholarship, out of 5 awards/recipients, 4 were CSIT students:
1) Boeing Female UG Scholarship – Bachelor of Info Tech
Kim Alda Tria
2) Boeing Postgraduate Scholarship – Master of Comp Sci
Maria Elena Duenas
3) Boeing Postgraduate Scholarship – Master of Comp Sci
Saurav Jha
4) Boeing Middle to Latter Career Undergraduate Scholarship – Bachelor of Technology( Computing Studies)
Yoann Herve Stringini
The SEH Science Prizes Ceremony 2014

The SEH Science Prizes Ceremony 2014

Computer Science and IT students took out four of the five Boeing scholarships awarded at RMIT’s Science Prizes ceremony, held on 15 May 2014 at Storey Hall, Melbourne. The School of Computer Science and IT is one of four science schools at RMIT University, yet its students dominated the Boeing scholarships – the only awards competed for by students from all the science schools. Read more about RMIT’s Science Prizes ceremony.

Here are the prizes awarded to students for the School of Computer Science and IT:
NICTA Prize for Computer Science – Best Bachelor of Comp Sci in their final year.
Joshua John Webb
NICTA Prize for Information Technology – Best Bachelor of Info Tech in their final year.
Jayden Kristian Ivanovic
NICTA Prize for Software Engineering – Best Bachelor of Software Engineering in their final year.
Wriddhi Banerjee
NICTA Prize for Master of Computer Science – Best Master of Computer Science in their final year.
Pulkit Karawal and Alsharif Abuadbba

The Boeing Scholarship (out of 5 awards/recipients, 4 were CSIT students):

1) Boeing Female UG Scholarship – Bachelor of Info Tech
Kim Alda Tria
2) Boeing Postgraduate Scholarship – Master of Comp Sci
Maria Elena Duenas
3) Boeing Postgraduate Scholarship – Master of Comp Sci
Saurav Jha
4) Boeing Middle to Latter Career Undergraduate Scholarship – Bachelor of Technology( Computing Studies)
Yoann Herve Stringini

Congratulations to all our student award winners!
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed