My main research interest is the development, operation and use of distributed systems, especially the ways in which such systems are integrated in and supported by socio-technical arrangements. Systems that span organisational boundaries and rely on an interplay of machine processing and human work challenge traditional software engineering approaches based on a reductionist world view and I am interested in alternative approaches that take seriously both human competencies and the immense opportunities that lie in machine processing.
I am also interested in the use of new forms of data about the social world in research - be it academic research in the social sciences, investigative journalism or work conducted by other parties such as NGOs. Today’s ubiquitous use of information and communication technologies generates a vast amount of data that may tell us something about what is going on in societies. Such data have a wide range of potential applications and complement more traditional data such as those from surveys, population census programmes or healthcare incident data, to name a few examples. Using these new forms of data poses a range of challenges, from technical issues to analytical ones to ethics.
Most recently, I have revived an earlier interest in Participatory Design - which I have touched on in my earlier work while a PhD student at Edinburgh University.
Links to some conferences that I support as a programme committee member:
I am a supporter of the recently founded Humanism in Scotland organisation, which promotes a life-enbracing, non-transcendental moral code.