I am a Lecturer in Software Engineering in the School of Computer Science at the University of St Andrews and a member of the St Andrews Institute for Data-Intensive Research. I am also currently a visiting fellow in the School of Informatics at Edinburgh University. Previously, I have been a visiting fellow at Manchester University.
My main research interest is the development, operation and use of distributed systems, especially the ways in which such systems are integrated in and supported by socio-technical arrangements. Systems that span organisational boundaries and rely on an interplay of machine processing and human work challenge traditional software engineering approaches based on a reductionist world view and I am interested in alternative approaches that take seriously both human competencies and the immense opportunities that lie in machine processing.
I am also interested in the use of new forms of data about the social world in research - be it academic research in the social sciences, investigative journalism or work conducted by other parties such as NGOs. Today’s ubiquitous use of information and communication technologies generates a vast amount of data that may tell us something about what is going on in societies. Such data have a wide range of potential applications and complement more traditional data such as those from surveys, population census programmes or healthcare incident data, to name a few examples. Using these new forms of data poses a range of challenges, from technical issues to analytical ones to ethics.
Recently I have focused on developing a research infrastructure to support the analysis of social media data such as Twitter messages for social scientfic research. Together with Rob Procter from Warwick University and others, I have analysed the use of Twitter, e.g., during the Riots in England in August 2011 and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This work is now being taken forward in the COSMOS project, which involves colleagues from Cardiff and Warwick. We are using the COSMOS platform to research topics such as Hate Speech, Crime Sensing or audience responses to media events such as Olympic games and the Football World Cup.
Links to some conferences that I support as a programme committee member:
I am a supporter of the recently founded Humanism in Scotland organisation, which promotes a life-enbracing, non-transcendental moral code.