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Department of Computer Science

Evaluating Systems for the Augmentation of Human Cognition

Primary supervisor

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Other projects with the same supervisor


  • Competition Funded Project (Students Worldwide)

This research project is one of a number of projects at this institution. It is in competition for funding with one or more of these projects. Usually the project which receives the best applicant will be awarded the funding. Applications for this project are welcome from suitably qualified candidates worldwide. Funding may only be available to a limited set of nationalities and you should read the full department and project details for further information.

Project description

There is a growing interest in the use of technology to extend the capabilities of the human mind. Examples include:
(i) systems that capture and represent data about human experiences in order to support retrospective memory;
(ii) systems that visualise data from multiple sources in order to help people reason and/or make considered decisions, and
(iii) systems designed to facilitate reflection, manage mood and shape emotional state.

Understanding the success of developed technologies at meeting their goal is a core part of the design process. However, current approaches to the evaluation of human augmentation systems are highly heterogeneous and there are no gold-standard measures even in a single application domain. This lack of established evaluation techniques is problematic, making it challenging for developers of new systems to compare against prior work and for users to make informed judgments about which tools they might adopt.

Furthermore, measures used for the evaluation of human augmentation systems are typically selected based on perceived ease of use from the perspective of the developer, rather than on the basis of evidence demonstrating the measures' applicability to real-world, everyday use cases. Given such evaluation criteria, it is entirely possible that a system performing well on existing evaluative measures might still offer little-to-no-value to users who want their extended cognitive function to deliver benefit in their everyday activities.

This project would explore means of evaluating current and future cognitive technologies, with a particular focus on developing techniques and tools that scale to large volumes of users in real-world settings. A PhD. candidate working on this project would be able to select one or more target application areas including, but not limited to, human memory augmentation, supported decision making, affective systems.

Person specification

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Applicants will be required to evidence the following skills and qualifications.

  • You must be capable of performing at a very high level.
  • You must have a self-driven interest in uncovering and solving unknown problems and be able to work hard and creatively without constant supervision.


Applicants will be required to evidence the following skills and qualifications.

  • You will possess determination (which is often more important than qualifications) although you'll need a good amount of both.
  • You will have good time management.


Applicants will be required to address the following.

  • Discuss your final year Undergraduate project work - and if appropriate your MSc project work.
  • How well does your previous study prepare you for undertaking Postgraduate Research?
  • Comment on your transcript/predicted degree marks, outlining both strong and weak points.
  • Why do you believe you are suitable for doing Postgraduate Research?