Results of the 3TU.H&T kick-off meeting

held on 16 April 2015 - including Dirk's notes on kick-off
4TU Delft
4TU Eindhoven
4TU Twente
4TU Wageningen

On April 16 the kick-off meeting of the new 3TU Centre for Humans and Technology was held in the DesignLab at the University of Twente. The centre aims to promote collaborations between the three technical universities in the Netherlands in the field of Human-Machine Interaction and to make their research and activities on this topic internationally visible.

The aim of the centre is to work together towards a research agenda for the field.  As well as research, the centre will focus on the possibilities for coupling the education programmes at Bachelors’ and PhD levels on these themes. The centre aims to

facilitate the exchange between students and teachers and will organise courses and seasonal schools for PhD students.

The aim of the opening on April 16 was to learn more about the various research groups that work on Human and Machine Interaction in the 3TUs, to explore new cooperation opportunities, and to discuss plans for the research and education agenda related to the centre. A number of break-out sessions were organised around these subjects and participants were asked to present one or more posters to describe their research. The results would later be fed back to the 3TU.H&T community as a whole so as to further the aims of the centre.

The meeting also gave the researchers an opportunity to get to know each other and to gain some familiarity with the various research groups. This was facilitated initially in the introductory presentation by the director, Dirk Heylen, when he asked various cross-sections of the gathering to stand-up and introduce themselves: the professors, the postdocs, everyone from TU Delft, everyone from TU Eindhoven, and so on. This was a simple but very effective strategy that had everyone present on their feet at least once. Later the participants were asked to swap tables for the different break-out sessions so that they got to share ideas with a greater number of people from different organisations and different disciplines.

During the sessions ideas for future collaboration and joint projects were discussed, common and complementary expertise was identified, MSc and PhD education in the groups present was compared and plans prepared.

The contributions to the discussions were wide-ranging as the participants represented various disciplines: computer science, behavioural sciences, management sciences, industrial engineering, electrical engineering and (industrial) design.

Participants were asked to name their major expertise. The final list included the following: Behaviour change and Persuasive Computing; Measuring Physical activity, physiology; Virtual reality; Social Signal Processing; Artificial Intelligence; Virtual human interaction / robots; Language technology (interaction); Telepresence - Mediated touch; UCD: wearables, sensors, real-time signals for better addiction care; Virtual agents / Robots; Affective Processes (simulation and modelling); Ethics - Value-sensitive design; Multi-media analysis, Machine learning & signal processing; Extreme wireless systems; Social signal processing; Psychology and Technology --> social science basics / methods & statistics; Affective Computing / Ubicomp; Haptics / touch / embodied interaction; Advanced Data analysis; and Psychometrics.

The participants recognised the following goals and challenges they would like to address in the near future: Human sensing on a large scale; Technology for understanding psychological processes; Methodological innovations combining a variety of methods (quantitative and qualitative research - focusing on field studies away from the lab - interested in relation self-report, physiology, observations: different methods); Trying out and combining different approaches; simulation/modelling; lab experiments; living lab experiments; field experiments; design research; analysis of human behaviour; qualitative research; and, the question of "in the wild" + long-term + co-evolution.

The goals named for PhD education were: a Market model or forum where the students could formulate their needs and the lecturers would offer seminars based on those needs; a problem-oriented PhD school; Bottom-up projects for summer schools; boot camps with a 4 week PhD-challenge – a design competition; the PhD students from the various groups should adopt some regular form of communication. As one participant put it: “PhD interaction from different backgrounds leads to beautiful moments of insight”.

In general terms, we can say that 3TU.H&T wants to achieve: research across the domains; exposure of students to new opportunities; access to talent (recruitment); and, political influence (STW/NWO…), steering research agendas, new research programmes, roadmaps, vision, promotion, visibility.

For now, the next steps will be: to set up a staff dedicated website; to arrange theme-based seminars; to initiate publications (books); to organize the CHI conference; to promote visibility through conferences and workshops, for example, ECAI, ACM Multimedia); to co-supervise MSc students (funds for students) and set up projects across the disciplines; to coordinate and collaborate in proposals for new projects; to give incentives for projects reaching across the 3TUs and across the disciplines; to set up facility sharing, joint large investments, and joint proposals; joint invitations for visiting researchers; and, to swap offices.

And, of course, we will soon arrange a follow-up to see how much of the above has been translated into action.

Results of the 3TU.H&T kick-off meeting

On April 16 the kick-off meeting of the new 3TU Centre for Humans and Technology was held in the DesignLab at the University of Twente. The centre aims to promote collaborations between the three technical universities in the Netherlands in the field of Human-Machine Interaction and to make their research and activities on this topic internationally visible.

The aim of the centre is to work together towards a research agenda for the field.  As well as research, the centre will focus on the possibilities for coupling the education programmes at Bachelors’ and PhD levels on these themes. The centre aims to

facilitate the exchange between students and teachers and will organise courses and seasonal schools for PhD students.

The aim of the opening on April 16 was to learn more about the various research groups that work on Human and Machine Interaction in the 3TUs, to explore new cooperation opportunities, and to discuss plans for the research and education agenda related to the centre. A number of break-out sessions were organised around these subjects and participants were asked to present one or more posters to describe their research. The results would later be fed back to the 3TU.H&T community as a whole so as to further the aims of the centre.

The meeting also gave the researchers an opportunity to get to know each other and to gain some familiarity with the various research groups. This was facilitated initially in the introductory presentation by the director, Dirk Heylen, when he asked various cross-sections of the gathering to stand-up and introduce themselves: the professors, the postdocs, everyone from TU Delft, everyone from TU Eindhoven, and so on. This was a simple but very effective strategy that had everyone present on their feet at least once. Later the participants were asked to swap tables for the different break-out sessions so that they got to share ideas with a greater number of people from different organisations and different disciplines.

During the sessions ideas for future collaboration and joint projects were discussed, common and complementary expertise was identified, MSc and PhD education in the groups present was compared and plans prepared.

The contributions to the discussions were wide-ranging as the participants represented various disciplines: computer science, behavioural sciences, management sciences, industrial engineering, electrical engineering and (industrial) design.

Participants were asked to name their major expertise. The final list included the following: Behaviour change and Persuasive Computing; Measuring Physical activity, physiology; Virtual reality; Social Signal Processing; Artificial Intelligence; Virtual human interaction / robots; Language technology (interaction); Telepresence - Mediated touch; UCD: wearables, sensors, real-time signals for better addiction care; Virtual agents / Robots; Affective Processes (simulation and modelling); Ethics - Value-sensitive design; Multi-media analysis, Machine learning & signal processing; Extreme wireless systems; Social signal processing; Psychology and Technology --> social science basics / methods & statistics; Affective Computing / Ubicomp; Haptics / touch / embodied interaction; Advanced Data analysis; and Psychometrics.

The participants recognised the following goals and challenges they would like to address in the near future: Human sensing on a large scale; Technology for understanding psychological processes; Methodological innovations combining a variety of methods (quantitative and qualitative research - focusing on field studies away from the lab - interested in relation self-report, physiology, observations: different methods); Trying out and combining different approaches; simulation/modelling; lab experiments; living lab experiments; field experiments; design research; analysis of human behaviour; qualitative research; and, the question of "in the wild" + long-term + co-evolution.

The goals named for PhD education were: a Market model or forum where the students could formulate their needs and the lecturers would offer seminars based on those needs; a problem-oriented PhD school; Bottom-up projects for summer schools; boot camps with a 4 week PhD-challenge – a design competition; the PhD students from the various groups should adopt some regular form of communication. As one participant put it: “PhD interaction from different backgrounds leads to beautiful moments of insight”.

In general terms, we can say that 3TU.H&T wants to achieve: research across the domains; exposure of students to new opportunities; access to talent (recruitment); and, political influence (STW/NWO…), steering research agendas, new research programmes, roadmaps, vision, promotion, visibility.

For now, the next steps will be: to set up a staff dedicated website; to arrange theme-based seminars; to initiate publications (books); to organize the CHI conference; to promote visibility through conferences and workshops, for example, ECAI, ACM Multimedia); to co-supervise MSc students (funds for students) and set up projects across the disciplines; to coordinate and collaborate in proposals for new projects; to give incentives for projects reaching across the 3TUs and across the disciplines; to set up facility sharing, joint large investments, and joint proposals; joint invitations for visiting researchers; and, to swap offices.

And, of course, we will soon arrange a follow-up to see how much of the above has been translated into action.