2013 in Review

2013 was a long, long year for me; here’s my attempt to summarise it as succinctly as possible.

  • I released Emotion Sense. To date, it has been downloaded approximately 30,000 times. In the days after the release, the press coverage was very intense and exciting. Following the release, there has been a lot of admin to keep the app going, working, updated, and to keep our servers in shape. The research is on its way, too!
  • I continued my data science consulting work. I worked with banks, hotels, data science groups, and a charity. It is like getting a breath of fresh non-academic air. It’s always an eye-opener to see what data-related problems pop up in the so-called ‘real’ world.
  • I worked with Kiran Rachuri on the open-source Android sensing library that we have now released (along with a data manager and trigger library). A bunch of students at Birkbeck College tested the library as part of their mobile dev course; we wrote about it in a workshop paper.
  • I was a guest lecturer on the Coursera Introduction to Recommender Systems; I got to talk with Michael about the temporal issues that emerge in online recommender systems that I studied during my PhD.
  • I wrote a chapter for the upcoming Handbook of Human Computation. The other chapters look very interesting, I’m looking forward to reading them.
  • We published a study (at ACM Ubicomp) that we conducted in late 2012 that used the libraries above in an app that asks people about their feelings and context (a precursor to Emotion Sense).. the paper has the enigmatic title “Contextual Dissonance…”; in the final days before submission, it was being edited from 3 different time zones (which turned out to be surprisingly efficient).
  • I was Ubicomp’s social media chair. That meant running their Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ accounts, which was a bit of fun. I also co-organised the conference’s Workshop on Pervasive Urban Applications.
  • I worked with Jagadeesh Gorla and colleagues to publish some work on group recommender systems at WWW. I didn’t get to go to Brazil, but I hear the work contributed to the founding of a Cambridge-based recommender system company.
  • What will smartphone-based behaviour change interventions look like in the futre? We wrote a paper about that for IEEE Pervasive Computing’s Special Issue on Understanding and Changing Behaviour (pdf).
  • Some early work on a smoking cessation app received funding from the MRC. I’m looking forward to that kicking off in 2014 too.
  • I built the Android Easy M app. It’s a bit like Emotion Sense under the hood, but it’s for other researchers who want to run sensor-collecting experience sampling studies with their own setup. The first few studies will be kicking off in the beginning of 2014.
  • I gave talks at Birkbeck College, Ghent University, Sussex University, the Ubhave Conference, DrinkAware’s Workshop, Ubicomp (and its workshops) and at a Government Social Research Workshop. All black slides ftw.
  • I reviewed papers for a range of different conferences (ICWSM, SIGIR, CIKM) and workshops. I realised that I have reached the stage where I probably read more unpublished work than published papers. I certainly spend more time reading papers that I have to review than those that I don’t!

With all this manic stuff going on, I think that 2014 is going to be a year of prioritising and getting things finished.

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