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Progress reporting


Lately I’ve been working my way through an academic requirement for all phd students at UTS, which involves submitting a progress reports on my work each and every semester. These reports are essentially a simple 4-page form but require an appended (also 4 page) report outlining what you set out to do, what you achieved and what you’ll be doing next semester. It’s a standard activity and from the outset fairly banal, however going through this again was quite nice given just how much has actually happened in the last few months.So, in light of this output of events I think it’s high time I gave a quick update on what’s what in the world of interactive research. The following notable things have happened in the last few months;

Joanne Jakovich and I co-wrote a paper called Realtime Response on our research work in the Computational Environments architecture design studio and a small installation we designed called Filtration Fields. The paper was presented at the inaugural Seam: Spatial Phrases Symposium in Sydney during September, which marked a) the first paper I’d had the chance to work on and b) the first conference I’d had the opportunity to present at. These two facts meant that I was fairly anxious prior to the event and unsure as to how it would all play out, but the Seam crowd were very gracious and asked all the questions I didn’t anticipate. The feedback from Seam was most interesting, some of the more predominant questions were completely unrelated to the architectural implications (I believe) my work implies, however they did prompt a flurry of thoughts surrounding interesting digital-social issues such as data privacy and ethics.  I also had the chance to meet the fascinating mind that is Josh Harle, who’s working on his own phd over at UNSW with Russell Lowe and Richard Goodwin.

Next I was invited to collaborate on a paper with UTS design, architecture and innovation Professor Tom Barker, UTS post-doctoral researcher Hank Haeusler and a colleague of mine Frank Maguire, this time writing on the interface design research and issues surrounding the Janus project (titled Investigating Political and Demographic Factors in Crowd-Based Interfaces). This paper was written for the upcoming OzCHI conference taking place next week in Melbourne, and happily it was also accepted. I will be heading down to Melbourne to present this paper with Frank, so if you’re in Melbourne or attending the conference I look forward to seeing you down there! I’ll be attending the Tuesday workshop on street computing and presenting our paper on Friday.

Following on the same paper writing theme, last week I was in contact with architecture graduate Ben Coorey and Anthony Burke, senior lecturer in the architecture faculty at UTS, to join in writing a paper on the 2008 Master of Digital Architecture master-class known as Street As Platform. The studio was run primarily by Dan Hill (of Arup and cityofsound.com renown), Anthony and Mitchell Whitelaw, who joined us from ANU in Canberra. Ben was one of the key students in the studio, so with the team complete we all attacked the paper from our particular perspectives. The paper has been submitted to the CAADRIA 2010 (The Association for Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia) conference next April in Hong Kong, and focused on the issues surrounding the realtime street as an alternative design analysis model to GIS or agent-based modeling. This paper was a bit more short notice so I expect we’ll go through another round of edits to massage the text but for now it’s all done and dusted.

All of these papers are either in the process of being indexed and published, or still in development, so I can’t put them on here, but if and when I can I will.

In addition to these efforts at publishing research I’ve been involved with, I’ve also been trying to work on my actual phd! At this point that has amounted to lots of work and not as much written outcome, however I’m taking steps to change this ratio. Meanwhile I’ve been working quite hard on a number of fronts – some visual/interface/technologically related and others are more involved in demonstrating my prototype projects to whomsoever happens to be in the studio at any point. The Interactivation studio at UTS (run by my phd supervisor and where I spend most of my time) has been host to many guests lately and it has been a concerted effort to keep things running and demonstrable at any time. Some of my work has made it on to this site recently, but I do aim to upload more in the near future. Certainly there have been a number of interesting finds related to simplifying techniques (translate: doing things much better than we did previously!) and fulfilling discussions on where we see this research leading us in the future. All very good food for thought and I really should do more of my bit to share.

So that’s the end of the academic progress reporting. The conclusion so far? Progress is good! I thought I’d done roughly about the amount I planned on doing, but my supervisor thought I’d done more – so far I’d say the going is good and I’ll let you know if that changes!

One more thing – I’ve also recently had a major change in my work/study balance, but I’ll wait for another day to mention any more – it’s good news but good news can wait.