BIG ERAChair Twinning Collaboration: Opportunities for Knowledge Exchange

The BIG ERAChair (GA 952226) calls for proposals for twinning collaboration with selected centres of excellence in research and innovation. The twinning centres include CNRS, EPFL, Politecnico Milano, the University of Edinburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with areas of focus ranging from privacy and dependability to blockchain systems and design informatics. The exchanges aim to transfer skills to improve the research capacities of LARSyS and INESC-ID.

The twinning collaboration presents a unique opportunity for researchers and practitioners to engage with experts in various fields and advance their knowledge in areas of interest. The exchanges could range from incoming or outgoing visits of up to one week, and proposals should include the objective of the exchange and its relationship to BIG. The ERAChair holder, in collaboration with co-PIs from INESC-ID and LARSyS, will select the proposals, with preference given to junior researchers and PhD students researching topics related to blockchain technologies and design innovation for social good.

The Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), for instance, through LIRIS/DRIM research group, works on semantic information retrieval and document engineering, trust, reputation, and privacy-preservation in distributed systems, and robust and dependable distributed and mobile systems. The École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), on the other hand, has the Distributed Computing Lab, a world-leading research centre in the theory and practice of distributed computing. Politecnico di Milano has the Blockchain & Distributed Ledger Observatory, established in 2018 to generate and share knowledge on Blockchain and Distributed Ledger-related topics and service design and innovation through Poli.Design. The University of Edinburgh is focused on data-driven innovation, transforming society and the economy, and designing systems for better human data interaction in diverse settings such as health, culture, mobility, and finance. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), for its part, has areas of focus in computer security and applied cryptography and co-leads the Computation Structures group of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). Carnegie Mellon University has CyLab, a world-leading centre in security and privacy that brings together experts from all schools across the University, encompassing the fields of engineering, computer science, public policy, information systems, business, humanities, and social sciences.

The twinning collaboration is an opportunity to learn from the best experts in various fields and apply the knowledge to research and innovation for the social good. The exchanges will contribute to transferring skills and improving the research capacities of LARSyS and INESC-ID. The collaborations will foster networks and partnerships to enhance future research and innovation in various fields. The ERAChair is therefore calling on interested parties to submit their proposals for twinning collaboration to advance research and innovation for social good.

To apply, submit an application to bigerachair@gmail.com with relevant information, including:

  • The objective of the exchange and its relationship to BIG (300 words)
  • Short biography of the incoming or outgoing expert (300 words)
  • Dates of visit and estimation of travel and subsistence costs

BIG supports HCI for CHI 2023 Climate Change workshop

The BIG project is now supporting the organisation of the HCI for Climate Change workshop “Imagining Sustainable Futures” during ACM Conference CHI 2023.

As the climate crisis is turning into one of the most critical issues of our time, HCI researchers keep reflecting on the role their work can play in reducing the impact of adverse environmental changes. Suggestions have been made to expand Sustainable HCI (SHCI)’s intervention area to policy design to have a more significant impact, consider non-human actors’ perspective to incorporate the value of biodiversity, develop multidisciplinary competencies and work across disciplines to understand climate change, and finally make it understandable to citizens and pave the way for their action.

This workshop calls to discuss the different angles from which the problem of climate change has been addressed by the CHI community so far. The organisation believes these different angles have several contact points, and the convergence of these different perspectives would help HCI researchers better imagine sustainable futures.

With this workshop, the organisation would like to offer a gathering where HCI researchers, designers, and activists working on environmental topics can meet to discuss their research and possibly find points of contact between their different perspectives on the role technology can play in ensuring sustainable futures.

Workshop schedule

Friday, 28th April 2023, 9:00 – 15:00 (CEST)

  • Welcome greetings, workshop introduction
  • Brief submission presentations
  • Break and groups set up
  • Group work
  • Plenary session: discussion and feedback on group work
  • Lunch
  • Keynote speech + Q&A session
  • Final reflections, wrap-up, and future plans

BIG supports International Conference on Information Technology for Social Good

The BIG project – Blockchain Technologies and Design Innovation for Social Good – supports GoodIT 2023, the ACM 3rd International Conference on Information Technology for Social Good. The event is taking place in Lisbon between 6-8 September 2023.

ACM GoodIT 2023 will focus on applying IT technologies to social good. Social good is typically defined as an action that provides some sort of benefit to the general public. In this case, Internet connection, education, and healthcare are all examples of social goods. However, new media innovations and the explosion of online communities have added new meaning to the term. Social good is now about global citizens uniting to unlock the potential of individuals, technology, and collaboration to create a positive societal impact.

Upcoming Important Dates

  • Special Tracks Proposals Submission deadline: 26 February 2023
  • Regular Papers Submission deadline: May 15th, 2023
  • Special Tracks Papers Submission deadline: May 15th, 2023
  • Work in Progress Papers Submission deadline: May 15th, 2023
  • PhD Papers Submission deadline: May 15th, 2023
  • Conference dates: 6-8 September 2023

Call for Special Tracks proposals

  • Proposal Submission Deadline: 26 February 2023
  • Notification of Selection: 06 March 2023

Call for Regular Papers

  • Submission deadline: May 15th, 2023 
  • Notification of acceptance: July 7th, 2023
  • Camera Ready: July 18th, 2023

Call for Special Tracks Papers

  • Submission deadline: May 15th, 2023
  • Notification of acceptance: July 7th, 2023
  • Camera Ready: July 18th, 2023

Call for Work in Progress

  • Submission deadline: May 15th, 2023
  • Notification of acceptance: July 7th, 2023
  • Camera Ready: July 18th, 2023

Call for PhD Track Papers

  • Submission deadline: May 15th, 2023
  • Notification of acceptance: July 7th, 2023
  • Camera Ready: July 18th, 2023

BIG supports the 4th Blockchain Software Engineering Workshop

The 4th Blockchain Software Engineering Workshop (BSEW 2023) is taking place in Oulu, Finland, on June 16th, 2023, in conjunction with the International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering (EASE 2023). The workshop will focus on software engineering theories and practices for developing high-quality, secure blockchain-based applications.

The BIG ERA Chair project is supporting this year’s workshop edition. It aims to continue promoting the adoption of software engineering practices in the development of blockchains and their applications. The workshop invites original and unpublished research submissions that use and evaluate software engineering approaches and theories in developing blockchain-based applications.

Submissions can be full research papers (up to 8 pages), short papers, or industrial experience reports (up to 4 pages). They must be written in English and conform to the ACM Proceedings Format. The workshop will enforce the ACM Policy and Procedures on Plagiarism.

The related software engineering technologies include, but are not limited to:

  • Blockchain-Based Application Architecture
    • Requirement engineering
    • Design patterns and reference architecture
    • Design/modelling notations, tools, and analysis
  • Quality of Smart Contracts and Blockchain-Based Applications
    • Reliability and fault tolerance
    • Quality assurance
    • Security and privacy
    • Software engineering analytics
  • Software Processes for Blockchain-Based Applications
    • Model-driven engineering
    • Software testing technologies and tools
    • Estimating effort for developing and testing applications
    • Software processes such as Agile, DevOps, and AIOps
    • Software engineering issues related to managing blockchain platforms and applications
    • Experience and lessons learned from transferring blockchain-based applications to the industry
    • Experience and lessons learned from migrating conventional applications to blockchain
    • Software project management and knowledge management

Papers can be submitted via EasyChair and will be reviewed by at least two members of the program committee. Accepted papers will be included in the main proceedings of EASE 2023, which the ACM Digital Library will publish.

At least one author of each accepted paper must register by the camera-ready deadline to have their paper included in the proceedings. Join us at the 4th Blockchain Software Engineering Workshop (BSEW 2023) for a chance to share and discuss the latest research and innovations in software engineering for blockchain-based applications.

ERA Chair Team has been recruited: five new researchers join BIG ERA Chair project

The BIG ERA Chair project had completed the recruitment process for the BIG ERA Chair Team, which will be enriched with five new members. Teresa, Kevin, Mariana, Alfio, and David are the five names recruited by the PIs Nuno Nunes and Rodrigo Rodrigues.

In October, the first two, Kevin Gallagher and Mariana Pestana have joined as Invited Assistant Professors. Kevin is American and Irish and received his PhD degree in Computer Science from the Tandon School of Engineering of the New York University (2020). He has professional experience in Cybersecurity, and he is currently developing democratic and horizontal security systems for activists and powerless actors. Mariana holds a PhD in Architectural Design from the Bartlett School of Architecture from University College London (2019), and she is a Portuguese curator exploring critical, social and fictional dimensions of design for technological progress and ecological crises.

This fall, the project will also welcome Alfio Puglisi as Invited Assistant Professor. Alfio is Italian and holds a PhD in Political Economy from King’s College London (2021). He brings his knowledge on digital economy and currently is studying the interaction of political and economic systems of financial innovations in the area of DLT regarding collective decision making.

In the first semester of 2022, the team will be completed: Teresa Almeida, a Portuguese researcher currently living in Sweden, will join us as an Invited Associate Professor by January, and the Portuguese researcher David R. Matos will close the team joining by June as Invited Assistant Professor. With a rich background in Design, Teresa received her PhD in Human-Computer Interaction at Newcastle University (2017), and she is an expert on interaction design. Last but not least, David – who holds a PhD in Computer Science from Técnico (2019) – will bring his expertise on distributed systems, cybersecurity and cloud computing.

Demystifying Blockchain Technology Panel – December 18, 2020

On December 18, 2020, ITI/LARSyS and INESC-ID promoted an online panel on Demystifying Blockchain Technology. The panel included 3 international speakers with experience in Blockchain Technologies:

  • Cathy Mulligan, UCL and Imperial College London
  • Chris Speed, Institute for Design Informatics, University of Edinburgh
  • Allen Clement, DFINITY
The video of the panel is now accessible:

Demystifying Blockchain Technology Panel – Friday 18 Dec. 2020 from 11:00 to 12:30

ITI / LARSyS and INESC-ID are promoting an online panel this Friday from 11:00 to 12:30 (https://videoconf-colibri.zoom.us/j/88345104347) on Demystifying Blockchain Technology. The panel will include three short talks by the speakers followed by an open discussion.

The Panel will include three International speakers with experience in BlockChain technologies:

  • Cathy Mulligan, UCL and Imperial College London
  • Chris Speed, Institute for Design Informatics, University of Edinburgh
  • Allen Clement, DFINITY

Dr. Catherine Mulligan: Blockchain and Europe’s Common, Decentralised Future

Abstract: Since the dawn of the computing era, we have experienced fluctuations between centralised and decentralised computation – firstly with mainframes, then with PCs through to cloud computing and finally to smart phones and IoT devices. For the vast majority of computing’s life, computational capacity has been located within the realms of the corporate sphere – hidden behind large capital investments and firewalls. As of 2004, however, two separate but deeply intertwined things occurred – firstly, the world saw the emergence of true Open APIs – APIs that permitted anyone with an internet connection to access data (e.g. on Facebook, or Twitter) and secondly, the same amount of computing power that took mankind to the moon was placed into the hands of end-users, not just companies. The end result of those two things was blockchain – a new form of decentralisation that challenges not just our notions of centralised / decentralised computing – but the very foundations of our economy itself. Whole new forms of business models are enabled by Blockchain – from decentralised data marketplaces to decentralised food production. Indeed, as the next wave of decentralisation descends upon us – in the form of AI on the Edge and AI on the device, blockchain will play a critical role in the emergence of a new European economy – a truly digital economy. More importantly, blockchain can help us build a European economy that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. This talk will outline the interdisciplinary path that Europe needs to follow in order to achieve this as our world comes to terms with its past and faces its uncertain future – together but decentralised.

Bio: Dr Cathy Mulligan has over 25 years’ experience in technology across both industry & academia; she is an Honorary Researcher at UCL, visiting researcher at Imperial College & VP/Region CTO for North & West Europe at Fujitsu. Prior to joining Fujitsu, she co-founded and was Co-Director of the Imperial College Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering at Imperial College, where she helped develop over 45 proofs of concept around Blockchain. Also while at Imperial College, she led over £6 million of interdisciplinary grants in the Digital Economy and had a joint appointment between the business school and the Computer Science. Within her work at UCL, Cathy leads the work around “DataNet” – a blockchain-based infrastructure designed to rebalance and redistribute the geo-political balance of technology across the world. She has a strong interest & track record in using research to influence policy in different arenas, including high-level policy discussions at various levels across governments, NGOs, UN, OECD & EU around various digital technologies including 5G, blockchain & IoT. She is the author of 7 technology books (academic press). She is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Data Policy Global Future Council and was a founding member of the World Economic Forum’s Blockchain Council and has authored several reports with them. Cathy has a strong commitment to sustainability and equitable access to technology, evidenced by her being a panel member of the UNSG’s High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation. She received her Masters and PhD from the University of Cambridge and her BSc (Hons 1) from UNSW, Australia.

Dr Allen Clement: What is blockchain?  What does it provide?  What is it (not) good for?

Abstract: What is blockchain? What does it provide? What is it (not) good for? Allen Clement will explore these questions by revisiting key points in his 17 years of working on blockchain and its underlying technologies. This journey starts with the ivory tower pursuit of understanding what might be possible and demystifying the Byzantine world. The second piece of the journey takes a turn through deploying and operating blockchain technology in an industrial environment. The third, and final, stage focuses on matching the capabilities (and limitations) of blockchain technology with business needs.

Bio: Dr. Allen Clement has been working on blockchain and its underlying technologies since 2003.  He is currently Co-Founder and CTO at TRIANGLE Capital Markets AG, which is developing a global digital exchange for alternative assets.  Prior to TRIANGLE, Allen led the cross-chain coordination/messaging team at DFINITY, built an internal blockchain for core security primitives at Google, and built/published at least six blockchains while in academia.  Allen received his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin and AB in Computer Science from Princeton University.

Professor Chris Speed: Blockchain by Design

Abstract: What happens when we give physical things wallets containing digital currencies? How can this alter power relationships and shift social dynamics? Chris Speed will explore these questions by highlighting the use of smart contracts in design, from a coffee machine that lets you vote for your coffee bean and pays those who clean it, to a hairdryer that trades on the energy market to offer the best price for drying your hair. As objects are connected to the Internet, forming the ‘Internet of Things’, Chris asks what happens when technologies are given their own spending power, and what this implies for the human.

Bio: Prof. Chris Speed FRSE, is Chair of Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh where he collaborates with a wide variety of partners to explore how design provides methods to adapt, and create products and services within a networked society. Chris directs the Institute for Design Informatics that is home to a combination of researchers working across the fields of interaction design, temporal design, anthropology, software engineering and digital architecture, as well as the PhD, MA/MFA and MSc and Advanced MSc programmes. Chris is Director of Creative Informatics R&D Partnership, one of the nine AHRC funded Creative Industries Clusters in the UK, and is Co-I to the Next Stage Digital Economy Centre DECaDE led by Surrey with the Digital Catapult. Chris was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2020.

HORIZON 2020 – Project BIG

Enhancing the research and innovation potential of Tecnico through Blockchain technologies and design Innovation for social GoodBlockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) are transformative and bring about a potential for improvement in the European citizenship and economic growth – enabling decentralised, trusted, transparent, user-centric digital services and stimulate new and improved business models and promote decentralised social innovations.

Técnico researchers win EUR 2,5 million for a project that combines digital technologies with major societal challenges

Professors Nunes Jardim Nunes and Rodrigo Miragaia Rodrigues are part of a restricted group of researchers awarded with ERA CHAIRs, funded under the EU programme Horizon 2020.

The project BIG (Blockchain technologies and design Innovation for social Good), led by two Técnico researchers, from ITI / LARSyS and INESC-ID, was awarded an ERA Chair – within the scope of the Spreading Excellence programme and Widening Participation (Widening), included in the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020. During the next 5 years, the team led by the Técnico professors (DEI/IST)) Nuno Jardim Nunes (ITI / LARSyS) and Rodrigo Miragaia Rodrigues (INESC-ID), will have a EUR 2,5 million funding, which allow to build an interdisciplinary team dedicated to top research on topics that combine blockchain technology, innovation through design and the development of new solutions for societal challenges.

INESC-ID Recent Achievements in H2020

Researchers from INESC-ID have recently been successful through the participation in four European competitive projects: Olissipo leaded by Susana Vinga, BIG co-leaded by Rodrigo Rodrigues, TAILOR and HumainE-AI-Net with the participation of Ana Paiva.

Olissipo is a twinning action, meaning that stands for institutional networking to strengthen a specific field of research. In Olissipo “Fostering Computational Biology Research and Innovation in Lisbon” the goal is to enhance the INESC-ID competences in the field of Computational Biology and developing it into an international pole of excellence. Susana Vinga is the principal researcher involved in this special widening action.