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Research interests

My publications are listed separately.

As an information system professional, my research is focused on information systems in educational and personal technology, particularly what have come to be called electronic portfolios, interoperability of tools and portability of records, and from there to skills, competences, and how to represent these interoperably. There is a short jump from there to other personal qualities and personal values, and then to extending the personal development aspect of e-portfolios to include identity development and personal values, and what we call "ethical development". Interned-based systems for two-way matching of preferences could be used as an effective and efficient employment agency, and also as much more.

Past areas of research interest include cognitive science, complex tasks and systems (my PhD areas), and also electronic commerce.

My skills interests started with helping to develop the concepts and architecture of LUSID at Liverpool, which then moved on to LUSID more generally which involved interesting challenges in the structuring of information, the database and interface design, as well as the pragmatics of implementing the software and managing the project. My research interests include in particular the problem of defining and categorising skills in general.

This has broadened out to a more general interest in information in an economic and social context. What information is needed to catalyse social and economic interaction? Can we maintain interactive databases of this kind of information? Would it help community and economic development?

As a practical application of this, I am researching near future paradigms of electronic commerce, as there is little current knowledge about exactly how the large growth in e-commerce will be carried out.

At the JRC, I was interested in the modelling of cognition of humans performing complex tasks, such as piloting commercial aircraft, air traffic control, the supervisory control of process plant, and the complex tasks involving automation or complex computer-controlled technology involved in the financial sector or the medical profession. All these tasks share a `real-time' quality and involve significant risk of errors attributed to humans. This work was in the context of the Aviation Safety Group of the former Socio-Technical Systems Safety sector, (subsequently the Transport Safety Sector) and it is seen as the general modelling of cognition. Its real significance is of course much wider than aviation safety. For more context on the JRC's interest, I drafted a brief overview of my past research in modelling of cognition in the JRC.

My work in this area was particularly concerned with modelling human error, and problems concerning this, especially the question of an architecture for cognitive modelling in complex tasks. I have described in outline a general architecture, SimulACRUM, capable of representing complex task knowledge, including error.

Another theme of research in the same general area is that of human factors, interfaces and errors in financial systems such as trading interfaces. If you are interested in this area please get in touch, as this topic is still ripe for future work even though I first put this notice here several years ago!

More generally, I have an HCI background, and I'm also interested in any other attempts at serious modelling of people engaged in complex activities. There is also a learning aspect to this, and my long-term interest extends strongly to modelling learning, and to using machine learning techniques not so much for modelling learning but for analysing data of human performance and information usage, in order to build models of the cognitive (or affective) processes involved. I suggest a look at my thesis for a deeper understanding of my background and motivation in this area.