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Mobility Initiatives Empower Academic Community

Mobility Initiatives Empower Academic Community

Ian Oakley Ian Oakley, an assistant professor at the Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute of the Universidade da Madeira, was at the Human Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) at Carnegie Mellon University during the fall of 2012, as part of the exchange program of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal. According to the professor, ”the experience was inspiring, practically and culturally speaking,” and he strongly recommends it to other faculty members.

Between August 29 and December 21, Oakley took part in research, teaching and service activities. In the research component, he co-supervises the work of Christian Koehler, a dual degree doctoral student in Electrical and Computer Engineering, in collaboration with Anind Dey of the Human Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). “My visit allowed me to engage very closely with Christian’s ongoing work on indoor location prediction,” Oakley stated. Christian Koehler is conducting an extensive data analysis comparing the performance of a range of machine learning algorithms and analytic perspectives on both existing location data sets and one captured from participants in the Gates-Hillman Center at Carnegie Mellon. The weekly meetings with Christian Koehler “refined his research process and direction,” stated the assistant professor. The two of them are currently preparing a paper on the subject to be submitted in the spring.

Furthermore, Oakley advised two student groups of Jason Hong in the area of novel security and authentication interfaces and regularly attended a wide range of HCII research group meetings. “I also benefited substantially from the rich academic environment at Carnegie Mellon. I particularly enjoyed attending talks from Rodney Brooks (robotics), Hugh Dubberly (design) and Ed Colgate (haptics),” he added.

Oakley taught “Thinking with Things” (48-730), a nine-unit class in the Computational Design Lab at the School of Architecture. “The course aimed to introduce students to both the theory and practice of physical computing,” he explained. “The students were engaged and active throughout and it was a pleasure to develop and teach this class,” he added. He frequently met informally with other students and faculty members in the CODE lab community to whom he provided “practical instruction and advice on interfacing with sensors, developing wireless communication protocols and other physical computing topics,” he described.

Finally, the assistant professor also spoke at the annual HCII town hall and other faculty meetings. “I briefly presented the Carnegie Mellon Portugal program and, specifically, the dual-degree professional masters in Human Computer Interaction promoted in collaboration with the Universidade da Madeira. “I believe that these public presentations raise awareness of international partnerships – putting faces to names – and I hope these partnerships are enabled and encouraged in future iterations of the faculty exchange program,” he stressed.

Oakley was also invited to serve as an associate chair for the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems “the largest and most important conference in my field,” he stated. “This invitation is at least partly attributed to the power of the relationships that can be built as a result of mobility initiatives, such as the faculty exchange program. My visit to Carnegie Mellon allowed me to develop my research, refine my teaching and meaningfully participate in academic service,” Oakley concluded.

February 2013