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Research seminar archive


Provenance: Where did this data come from?

Dr Kerry Taylor
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO),
Canberra, Australia

Wednesday 4 March
13:00 – 14:00
Watts Building Room 512

Seminar hosted by Gem Stapleton


With the rapid rise of cyber infrastructures and open research data initiatives, there is an urgent need for the development of tools, methods and standards for provenance. Scientists are asking whether they can use and trust data produced by others, and part of the answer relies on understanding how that data was produced. The new W3C PROV-O ontology raises the expectations for interoperable provenance records and many widely used workflow engines already log provenance throughout the execution of a scientific workflow.

After a substantial review of drivers and requirements for scientific provenance, we are developing two tools that I will present. The first is a Capability Model for Provenance--that supports the development of requirements for new provenance projects and the benchmarking of existing tools for their solution to requirements in a provenance life-cycle. The second is an ontology-based tool to exploit provenance -- aiming to return investment on provenance capture by exploiting provenance as a long-term, cross-disciplinary or cross-technology knowledge base of how science is done.


Kerry Taylor is currently a research group leader in CSIRO, Canberra, Australia. She holds a PhD in Computer Science and Information Technology from the Australian National University for her research in machine learning, and a Bachelor of Science (Honours 1) in Computer Science from the University of New South Wales. She has worked as a computer science researcher, practitioner and teacher in Australia, Canada and the UK, developing software systems for application in scientific research, financial research, library management, business management and publishing. Her research has focused on environmental information systems, particularly on supporting integrated access to heterogeneous information sources using methods founded in formal logic.

Kerry co-chaired the W3C Incubator Group on Semantic Sensor Networks, usually co-chairs the Semantic Sensor Networks workshop at the International Semantic Web Conference, was the Organising Chair of the International Semantic Web Conference in 2013 and is Chair of the Australasian Semantic Web Conference Steering Committee. She is co-chairing the European Semantic Web Conference 2014 track on mobile web, sensors and semantic streams. Kerry is collaborating with Visual Modelling Group at Brighton because she wants to be able to use ontology visualisations in the difficult work of ontology development.

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Crowdsourcing Scientific Research Using Amazon Mechanical Turk

Luana Micallef
School of Computing, University of Kent

Wednesday 19 February
16:00 – 17:00
Watts Building Room 504


Crowdsourcing web services like Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) allow online workers to carry out tasks posted by requesters for a small monetary reward. The crowd and MTurk can be used to conduct user studies on large, diverse populations at reduced cost and time compared to traditional laboratory experiments and yet, maintain scientific control. Crowdsourced experiments on MTurk are becoming more popular as the demographics of the workers is now well-understood and MTurk’s viability for scientific research has been verified.

In this talk, I will demonstrate how to set up MTurk, how to run experiments using the web service and the costs involved. I will consider a few case studies of scientific research conducted on MTurk. I will discuss studies that assessed MTurk’s viability for various research areas and others that studied the workers’ demographics. I will conclude with a list of considerations and best practices to design effective crowdsourced experiments on MTurk.

Luana Micallef is a Research Fellow in the School of Computing at the University of Kent, UK with research interests in information visualization, human-computer interaction and visual analytics. She completed her PhD on 'Visualizing Set Relations and Cardinalities Using Venn and Euler Diagrams’ in the same School, for which she developed different Euler diagram drawing software and ran crowdsourced empirical studies on Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk). She set up MTurk in her School and is now using it to assess the effectiveness of set visualizations. During her 2011 internship with AVIZ INRIA, she co-devised open-source MTurk task templates and used MTurk to assess the effectiveness of Euler diagrams for Bayesian reasoning. The latter work was awarded a Best Paper Honourable Mention at IEEE InfoVis 2012. She serves on the Conference Committees of IEEE VIS (since 2013) and EG/IEEE EuroVis (since 2014) and in 2012, co-chaired the 3rd International Workshop on Euler Diagrams. Luana was a 2011 Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship finalist. She received a first-class BSc (Hons) degree in IT from the University of Malta and the Dean's Excellence Award, in 2008. She interned with Microsoft Research India in 2008, after her team won the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2007 Windows MultiPoint contest. In 2007, she was awarded a CERN summer studentship.

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