edit Research

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." (George Bernard Shaw)


CHAI research is in the broad area of Pervasive, ubiquitous or invisible computing. This looks to the future where computers are widely distributed throughout our environment serving our needs - to adapt the world to our individual needs.

We aim to invent and explore future technologies which can dramatically enhance our lives, and showing that they do this in important areas of human activity such as learning, work, supporting social connections and health. We want to continue our track record of research that moves beyond the lab into real world use.

This demands a broad range of research, based on solid technological foundations right through to research in the design of the interaction and the ways that people's use of new technology affect their lives.

CHAI is exploring personalisation that enables the user to scrutinise and control the whole personalisation process. This is particularly important in pervasive computing where devices and services recede into the environment, becoming invisible. It is key to effective management of privacy and security in pervasive and personalised environments. CHAI has created a layered set of theories and tools for personalisation. These tools support knowledge representation and reasoning, data mining, machine learning and user interfaces.

Another dimension of CHAI research is in novel pervasive computing interfaces such as tabletop interaction and pervasive appliances that are embedded in the environment to serve very specific functions. As an example, the following video demonstrates some of our work on interactive surface computing.

Potential application areas are vast. CHAI has explored testbeds in ubiquitous, pervasive computing as well as intelligent teaching systems. The latter reflect the group's work in teaching computer science and in building teaching systems that help develop reflective, deep learners.

Major CHAI funding has come from a range of sources, including the Australian Research Council, Hewlett Packard, the Federal Government Science Lectureships Initiative, Carrick and CHAI principals led the University of Sydney's partnership in winning the Smart Internet Technology and later Smart Services CRC, funded by the Australian Government's Cooperative Research Centres Programme. Since 2000, the group has won over $7.5 million external funding, including royalty income of $708K and external teaching and scholarship grants of $2.03 million.

CHAI has significant deployed research, including its Cruiser software for interactive tabletops and walls, a user-based CPU scheduling system (the FairShare Scheduler enabling web services used by millions of people) and the message handling system MHSnet (with clients such as DFAT).