Sensor and sense-ability: building systems in the face of uncertainty

Wednesday 9th February , 6:30 pm.

Speaker: Professor Simon Dobson, School of Computer Science, University of St Andrews.

University of Edinburgh Informatics Forum, 10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AB - map (click on Informatics Forum in the list of buildings).


It has been an old maxim in computing that incorrect inputs can acceptably give rise to unacceptable outputs: "garbage in, garbage out".

This is ceasing to be true, and many classes of systems must behave predictably even in the face of inputs containing substantial garbage -- although researchers delicately use terms like "imprecise" or "unstructured" instead of "garbage".

In this talk we discuss some approaches to managing the problem of imprecise, inaccurate, untimely and partial inputs in the context of pervasive and sensor-driven systems, and suggest that we need to re-think radically the way we build software and represent decision-making in these environments.

About the speaker


Simon Dobson became SICSA Professor of Computer Science at the University of St Andrews in 2009. His main research interest is in software design and analysis, especially in developing the mathematical models, novel programming languages and techniques for building adaptive sensor-driven systems. This research is vital for fields like environmental sensing, where Simon's work is helping to build systems that can respond to changes in the phenomena they are observing.

Adaptive sensing techniques can also be applied to observe and influence networks, smart buildings, and even financial instruments. Simon is a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society and a Chartered Engineer.

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