Applied Informatics Research group

Working Papers

  The principal aim of the AIR Group's Working Paper Series is to disseminate the research and/or technical output of the group in an easily accessible format. The content of Working Papers generally falls into one of the following categories:
  • Preliminary findings or results, the release of which is intended to stimulate debate and/or discussion to assist in the further development of the research
  • Technical reports associated with applied research that may be written in a less academic style than usually published in academic journals
  • Extended versions of published works, often containing additional implementation/ application detail, figures and tables.

The Series is being hosted in NOVA: The University of Newcastle's Digital Repository. If you would like to submit an article to the AIR group working paper series, please request a template - see contacts page.

  Issues created by construction information differentiation: an Australian case study

Authors: Kanjanabootra, Sittimont; Vo-Tran, Huan

Abstract: Information is one of the vital assets required for operational effectiveness in construction organizations and construction projects. If information is utilized effectively in the construction process, it will facilitate users to plan, operate, and make decisions to maximize benefits. This paper reports the information management practices amongst stakeholders during the inspection stage in a building construction project for an Australian urban-based university. The study explores how specific information was generated, recorded, disseminated, used and stored during the inspection stage of a complex construction process differentially through the roles of architects and builders and how IT played a key role in resolving contested use of construction information. Data was collected through document analysis, shadowing, observations, photography, and one-on-one interviews with builders and architects involved directly in the inspection of the building. The research shows that information was generated, stored and reused through both personal and enterprise information management practices using different IT systems; that stakeholder’s tacit knowledge played an important role affecting how the information was generated, stored and reused; and that the complexity of information and dynamic nature of procurement method used in this project had an impact on how information was utilized during the inspection process.

  Transforming strategy: analytical information systems and the resolution of strategic business issues - a case study

Authors: Kanjanabootra, Sittimont; Corbitt, Brian; Nicholls, Miles

Abstract: Building on arguments by Nolan (2012) and Ward (2012) about the need for impact studies of strategic information systems and a better understanding of the transformative effects of information systems on strategy, this paper focuses on providing a method to transform strategy in businesses using information systems as the base. This paper demonstrates the impact and value of using an information system to assist a manufacturing company address identified strategic issues of improving the speed of product development and, through getting new products to market more efficiently, improving the company’s competitive position in the marketplace. The paper shows the transformative strategic value of applying heuristics to business processes captured in information systems in a manufacturing company. The manufacturing company was losing market share through not being able to get its new products to market quickly enough. As a result, the company was not reaching its intended business targets. The researchers collected the specific business process information and knowledge in the company and developed an information and knowledge management system. A heuristic was then applied to the manufacturing process to determine better models of product development and manufacturing that would enable faster to market product development and thus enable better strategic alignment between company expectations and realisation of market share, transforming the business strategy of the company. The paper demonstrates the value and impact of strategic use of information systems as a means of directly solving business problems through information analysis.

  Exploring building information modelling (BIM) to game engine conversion

Authors: Bille, Ross; Smith, Shamus P.; Maund, Kim; Brewer, Graham

Abstract: The use of detailed building plans and models is common in the architecture domain. Also there is increasing interest in the reuse of such models to realise 3D interactive virtual environments to aid model refinement and for use as training environments, for example virtual site visits. Unfortunately, the development of interactive virtual environments is both time consuming and technically difficult. One successful approach is the reuse of gaming technology to provide the underlying virtual environment and to allow developers to focus on importing appropriate content, e.g. building geometry and textures. Building Information Modelling (BIM) provides a rich source of building data and is an ideal basis for constructing realistic virtual environments. This paper overviews virtual environment development issues and outlines conversion pipelines from BIM to virtual environment via game engines from the current literature. Also the conversion from BIM tool Revit to the Unity3D game engine is explored in a case study. A summary of conversion pipelines is presented and a number of challenges for future work identified.

  An evaluation of some simple measures for detecting non-linear relationships between variables

Authors: Cornforth, D.

Abstract: Since the introduction of simple measures of linear relationship such as Pearson's Correlation Coefficient, measures have been sought that will also describe non-linear relationships that may exist between a pair of variables. Currently there are a number of such methods, encompassing a range of sophistication and involving a range of computational effort. This work reports on some experiments with a computationally simple measure that operates using a division of input space into regularly spaced cells. The Distribution Area Ratio Correlation Coefficient (DARCC) compares the distribution of cells containing k points with a theoretical distribution. The method is described then evaluated by comparing the resulting correlation coefficient with the magnitude of added noise. Results show a good agreement between noise and DARCC for several synthesised datasets. The measure is also evaluated on some real datasets. DARCC is computationally very simple and has potential for datasets with a large number of variables where speed is important.

  Augmented Reality challenges for cultural heritage

Authors: Rigby, Jacob; Smith, Shamus P.

Abstract: Augmented Reality (AR) technology can provide a novel and interesting approach for presenting cultural heritage content to the general public. Recent advances in AR research and the quick uptake of powerful mobile devices now means AR systems are a viable option for heritage institutions, but there are still many challenges that must be overcome before high-quality AR experiences are commonplace. This paper examines published attempts at bringing AR systems to the heritage sector, and highlights and discusses the ongoing trends and challenges that are faced in this area.

  A practical task-based approach to access control configurations

Authors: Athauda, Rukshan I.; Ahn, Euijoon

Abstract: Configuring optimal access control is a difficult task in today's complex IT environments. Too restrictive access control leads to frustration by users, while excessive privileges leads to vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, the problem of verifying safety - i.e. no rights can be leaked to an unauthorised principal - for an arbitrary configuration of a general access model is shown to be undecidable. In this paper, a practical methodology and framework is proposed to elicit access control rights stealthily while users perform tasks in a test environment that mimic a real-production environment. To illustrate the feasibility of the framework, a prototype is implemented and presented.

  Simplicity: a design pattern for ideas

Authors: Nesbitt, Keith

Abstract: Nature is composed of many complex systems. No system is more complex than the nature that governs the creation of ideas. Yet how many patterns are needed to model such complexity? The search for common patterns that govern the nature of complex systems is a fundamental goal of both science and art. New ideas may provide solutions to such problems but then the question arises as to how ideas are created, and whether they might be created in the same form? Creating ideas is in essence a design problem. Problems require solutions and ideas are designed to provide them. One way to solve common design problems is to adopt, or adapt, a solution that has been useful in the past. Design patterns are intended as a more formal way of capturing these good designs, or design practices, so they can be reused. Although patterns were first introduced in the realm of Architecture they were quickly adopted by the Software Engineering community. In this paper, the use of patterns is adapted to the more general realm of idea generation. In particular this paper introduces a specific design pattern call Simplicity that is intended to help with the practical exploration of a dynamic design space that is complete and allows for both inconsistent states and yet overall consistency. Simplicity is a pattern that reframes a number of well-known concepts such as complimentary dualities, recursion, self-similarity and symmetry to try and provide an alternative understanding of the way ideas are created and contextualised. This paper, as it stands is incomplete, requiring much further mathematical formalisation to take it beyond the current pattern definition. Despite this shortfall, it is hoped that the current description may provide a useful step in the search for fundamental patterns that allow for unification of ideas across disciplines, a notion that has been termed Consilience.

  A guide to classifying programming examination questions

Authors: Simon, Judy Sheard, Angela Carbone, Donald Chinn, Mikko-Jussi Laakso

Abstract: This working paper details the guide developed by the authors for classifying programming examination questions. The guide has been used in a number of publications, but has not been published in full in any of them. It is published here as a working paper so that other researchers can use the classification system and reference it.

  Adapting game interfaces to measure neck movements in a clinical physiotherapy application

Authors: Nesbitt, Keith; Snodgrass, Suzanne; Tilbrook, Mitchell

Abstract: Natural user interfaces rely on commonly used human skills, such as movement, gestures and speech to control computers. Arguably the most widespread use of these interfaces has been through computer game peripherals such as the EyeToy, Wii and Kinect. However, since the release of the Kinect much work has also been directed at more serious applications of this technology. In this paper we present a usability study applying computer game technology in the domain of physiotherapy. The eventual aim of our work is to develop a cost-effective, clinician-friendly tool for quantifying the dysfunctional movements associated with neck pain. There is a significant health cost associated with neck pain and up to 50% of adults experience problems related to this in any 12 month period. Furthermore, the movements of the neck are complex and difficult to quantify accurately using existing clinical devices. While existing research tools, such as the Vicon allow for automated tracking of body movements, these technologies are prohibitively expensive for use in everyday situations. Therefore we decided to trial cheap, off-the-shelf, game technology, to determine if this technology could accurately measure a range of head movements. We compared the Kinect skeletal tracking functions and the TrackIR passive infrared tracking against CROM measures typically used in clinical settings. Both technologies were reasonably accurate in tracking some movements. However neither solution was able to capture the full range of head movements required in a physiotherapy application. As a result some further adaption and development of the software using these devices is indicated.