Building the Next Generation of Factories
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Research Team

Research Team

The project is led by Cardiff University in collaboration with the Universities of: Edinburgh; Essex; Lancaster and Nottingham. Click on any name to view profile.


Prof Pete Burnap

I am a Professor in Data Science & Cyber Analytics in the School of Computer Science & Informatics, and Social Computing research priority area lead in the Complex Systems research group. I have developed a reputation for data-driven, innovative, and interdisciplinary research that broadly contributes to the growing field of Data Science, working closely with the Cardiff School of Social Sciences and School of Engineering. I am an applied computer scientist with a principal focus on data and computational methods to improve understanding, operations and decision making outside of academia, while contributing to the academic fields of Social Computing, Web Science and Cybersecurity.

These three fields are integrated within my research through the analysis and understanding of Web-enabled human and software behaviour, with a particular interest in emerging and future risks posed to civil society, business (economies) and governments. I achieve this using computational methods such as machine learning and statistical data modelling, and interaction and behaviour mining, opinion mining and sentiment analysis to derive key features of interest.

My research outcomes, which include more than 60 academic articles – stemming from funded research projects worth over £10million, are organised and disseminated via two research units:

The Social Data Science Lab, within which I am a director and the computational lead. The Lab’s core funding comes from a £450k ESRC grant and it forms part of the £64m ‘Big Data Network’. Core funding runs between 2017 and 2020, during which time the Lab will host 6 post-doctoral researchers and 9 PhD students, all studying topics related to Risk, Safety & Human/Cybersecurity.

The Airbus Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Analytics, within which I am the director. The centre works across industry, academia and government to provide a focus for cyber security analytics in the UK. Cyber security is a priority research area at Cardiff University, supported with strategic investment. Since 2012 we have established an interdisciplinary research team of technical and social researchers. Our collaborative projects have received more than £5m in funding from UK Research Councils (EPSRC, ESRC), Welsh Government (Endeavr Wales) and Industry (Airbus).

ACM Keywords: Security and Protection; Human-centered computing; Modeling structured, textual and multimedia data; Data mining; Machine learning.

Dr Dave Murray-Rust

Dave Murray-Rust is a Lecturer in Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. He has a MEng in Information Systems (Cambridge), MSc in Informatics (Edinburgh) and a PhD in Artificial Intelligence and Music (Edinburgh). His work is concerned with ways that people, data and things interact. Current research questions include: How can we understand the “social machines” – large-scale human-computer collective systems – that are a manifestation of the algorithmically mediated society that we are heading towards? How can we ensure that there is space for people within computational systems, preserving privacy, choice, identity and humanity while making use of possibilities of computational coordination and personal data? How can we work with things that have an increasing sense of agency, from sensing to responding to shaping the world around them? In practice, this relates to: IoT, personal data, human data interaction, physical computing and manifesting data.

His artwork relates to the research questions, and explores interactions between people, matter and computational systems. His work has been shown internationally, in particular Lichtsuchende, which has been exhibited at ZKM (Exo-evolution exhibition, 2016), the New Technology Art Awards (Ghent, 2015), Edinburgh Science Festival (2017).

Previously, Dave has worked on several large FP7 and EU projects on modelling and simulating human/environment interactions around land use and climate change (PLUREL, ECOCHANGE, VOLANTE), and produced several agent based modelling frameworks (Aporia, CRAFTY, ABMLand). He was a postdoc on the SociaM project, looking at the theory and practice of social machines, including using process calculus to model online interaction, developing ideas of pro-social deception and applying wayfaring to social machines


Prof John Preston

John is an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Leadership Fellow in Conflict, Crime and Security. John works on the sociology of disasters, emergencies and existential threat as well as the sociology of education. John’s work considers the racial and classed contexts of preparedness campaigns for disasters and emergencies. This has involved analysis of preparedness campaigns and films from the Cold War in the UK and US, reappraising working class children’s agency in the Aberfan disaster, community case studies on the racialization of public information for terrorist attacks, comparative analysis of national cultures of preparedness and critiquing popular conceptions of existential threat from nuclear war to A.I. ‘super-intelligence’. John has acted as PI on both ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) and EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Science Research Council) interdisciplinary projects related to preparedness and disasters. His ESRC Leadership Fellowship examines preparedness cultures across a number of comparative contexts (UK, US, Japan, Germany and New Zealand). John has also written widely on issues of skill and education where his research has been funded by UNESCO and the EU. His latest book, “Competence Based Education and Training and the End of Human Learning: the Existential Threat of Competency” (2017) argues that competence based approaches to skill and work are not compatible with modernist notions of pedagogy and humanity. He is applying this work on the future of humanity and skill as co-investigator on an EPSRC project (‘Chatty Factories’) which considers the future of human / robot / A.I. work in manufacturing industries. 

Dr Daniel Richards

Dan Richards is a Lecturer in Data Prototyping and Visualisation at Lancaster University. He is based in Imagination Lancaster, a leading design research centre and a member of Lancaster’s Data Science Institute. He has a background spanning architectural design and computer science, completing a PhD in Design and Computation (Manchester Metropolitan University), and postdoctoral research at the Biological and Sensory Computation Group (Manchester Metropolitan University), before joining Lancaster University in 2015. His research focuses on developing digital design methods for better leveraging advanced manufacturing technologies. Current and previous works include: a patent application for volumetric modelling techniques associated with multi-material additive manufacturing, projects associated with design optimisation for truss and shell structures and data visualisation methods for better understanding crystal formations in battery design.

Dr David Branson III

Dr Branson is an Associate Professor of Dynamics and Controls in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham, UK. I have held research and teaching positions in the United States, United Kingdom and Italy. These positions have provided extensive experience in the design, modelling and control of complex, multi-body, non-linear systems with primary application to robotics and autonomous systems in manufacturing and healthcare environments. Current and previous projects include: modelling and control of actuated continuum surfaces undergoing large deformations; integration of piezoelectric actuators into mechanical systems; fabric based monitoring systems; collaborative robots; and intelligent assembly methodologies

Nicola Edwards

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Dr Mike Lakoju

I am a Data Science and Cyber Analytics Research Associate in the School of Computer Science & Informatics. I am part of the Complex Systems Research group and I work directly with Dr Pete Burnap. My current research -“Chatty Factories”- is a £1.5m project focused on revolutionising the manufacturing industry by creating a system which allows products securely “talk” directly to the factory floor thereby allowing the possibility of harnessing product use data in real time. My focus in the research involves Operational Technology Security, Machine Learning, Visualisation, Features reduction, Information Technology Security and Security Architecture Modelling.

My PhD research was focused on developing a Big Data Strategy Framework that can help Organisations Identify Value before implementing a Big Data project. I am an alumna of Brunel University London where I got a masters’ degree in Business Systems Integration with SAP Technology.

With a unique blend, I have more than eleven (11) years of work experience, nine (9) of which were spent in industry. I am a professional member of the British Computer Society and a certified SAP consultant with skills in SAP BI/BW, SAP ABAP and SAP Terp10. I am also certified in SAS Base v9.

I have particular interest in Big Data, Cyber Security, Machine Learning and Data Visualization.


Katerina Gorkovenko

I am a human computer interaction researcher and designer. My work is situated at the intersection of technology, politics, and broader societal change. I am currently completing my PhD titled Second Screens for Political Discourse, which looks at the way the public uses their personal devices during televised political debates. It utilises an array of design led qualitative research methods in order to explore complex problems around human behaviour and the use of digital tools.

Within the Chatty Factories project, I will be exploring real-time sensing through ethnographic studies. The work will explore ways to collect data through embedded sensors in contextually rich but not intrusive ways, how it relates to the experiences of people and can it be used for the re-design of products, and the ethics and perceptions around collecting data from people through products.


Dr Rhiannon Firth

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Dr Dan Burnett

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Dr Mojtaba Ahmadieh

Dr M. Ahmadieh Khanesar is a research fellow with the Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham, UK. He has held research and teaching positions in the Denmark, Turkey, Iran and United Kingdom. His primary research focus has been on intelligent nonlinear control system design and intelligent optimization methods. More specifically, he has worked on sliding mode fuzzy controllers, model reference adaptive fuzzy control systems and back-stepping based nonlinear control methods. On the other hand, in the case of optimization algorithms, he has done some works on swarm based optimization techniques. Current and previous projects include: human-machine collaboration and reskilling robots to be able to perform new tasks in a factory with continuously changing products; design of a fast industrial dynamic weighing system.  


Thomas Smith

Thomas is a PhD student in the Advanced Manufacturing Technology research group in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham, UK. Prior to studying at Nottingham, he graduated from Newcastle University with a master’s degree in mathematics. His current research aims to develop a framework to allow efficient human robot collaboration for manufacturing assembly tasks based on autonomously generated and updated cost functions that quantify the capabilities and performance of each worker. Machine learning techniques will be used to adapt cost functions and dynamically allocate various assembly subtasks to each worker both before and during production.

James Thorp

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