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Prof Paul Curzon

Professor of Computer Science

Research Interests

My research combines the areas of interaction design, automated reasoning and formal verification. I also have a strong interest in the public understanding of science.

Formal Cognitive Modeling and Human Error

My main focus at the moment is on human error, extending my work on the verification of hardware/software systems to human-computer systems. The idea is to consider the human operators of such interactive systems as part of the system under verification, so bringing systematic human error, not just software and hardware error, within the scope of the approach. I am, in particular, exploring the use of formal models of human behaviour based on results from cognitive psychology in the design of interactive systems. This work is in collaboration with UCL Interaction Center. Questions we are exploring include: 'How can formal models of human behaviour form the basis of verification methods that can detect design flaws that lead to systematic human error?'; 'How can empirical investigations inform the development of formal models of human behaviour used for verification, and vice versa?' and 'How can formally-based usability evaluation methods best support the analyst?'

Verification of Verification Systems

My work on the design and verification of hybrid verification systems is in collaboration with Concordia University. We developed a verification system that combined the power of the MDG and HOL tools. It harnesses the abstraction techniques of the automated MDG multiway decision diagram (which is superior to boolean decision diagrams) system combined with theorem proving power of HOL to manage the process. In related work we developed a novel methodology that justifies importing results into a theorem prover using verified linkage theorems. It is based on a combination of compiler verification techniques.

Social Aspects of Interaction Design

I am also working on several projects investigating social aspects of interaction design, for example related to navigation and design for all. Questions of interest include: 'How can systems be designed so as to build on our cognitive strengths, especially as we age?'.  Navigation systems designed to exploit and extend our cognitive maps rather than replace them are being used as an exemplar of this.

Public Engagement in Science

A major aspect of my work is in the public engagement in computer science (and science, maths and engineering more generally). I am aiming to generate excitement not just about the department's research but about research in the subject more generally. The main way of achieving this is through the internationally renowned webzine cs4fn ( that I created with Peter McOwan. I gave an invited keynote at the ACM ITiCSE (Innovation & Technology in Computer Science Education ) conference on this work. cs4fn was also commended in the 2006 EPSRC International Review of Computer Science.



Professional Highlights

General  Member of EPSRC Peer Review College.

Professional Membership Fellow of the British Computer Society

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Member of the British Human-Computer Interaction Group of the British Computer Society

Member of the British Computer Society Formal Aspects of Computing (BCS FACS) Group

External Examiner

PhD External Examiner: University of Cambridge, South Bank University.

MSc External Examiner: Open University, Project Module; University College, Cork, National University of Ireland

Conference Chair / Programme Committee Membership

Co-Technical chair of of the 20th British Computer Society (BCS) HCI Group Annual Conference, 2006

Co-Technical chair and founder International Workshop on Formal Methods for Interactive Systems (2006, 2007)

Doctoral consortium co-chair, of the 19th British Computer Society (BCS) HCI Group Annual Conference, 2005.

Programme Committee of the International Conference on Integrated Formal Methods, 2004-2007

Programme Committee of the International Conference on Theorem Proving in Higher Order Logics, 2002.

Research Collaborations

Human Error: Prof. Ann Blandford, University College London, Interaction Centre

Hardware Verification: Dr S Tahar, Concordia University, Canada.

Formal Methods for Interactive Systems: Dr A Cerone, United Nations University, International Institute for Software Technology, Macau, SAR China.

Conference Keynote Invited Opening Keynote at the 12th ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, Dundee, 2007

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