Monash Faculty of IT secures six successful ARC Discovery Projects

In the latest round of Australian Research Council (ARC) funding, Monash Faculty of Information Technology (IT) has done exceptionally well being awarded six Discovery Project (DP) grants for 2020.

Announced on Wednesday 4 December by the Hon. Dan Tehan, 62 DPs were awarded nationally in the Computing and Information Sciences category and Monash were awarded the highest number in the country, with a total of eight projects.

Overall, the faculty saw a 30% success rate with projects submitted which is above the scheme success rate of 22.7%.

Congratulations to the 17 faculty researchers who were Chief Investigator’s on these successful projects: Ingrid Zukerman, Michael Wybrow, John Grundy, Jon Whittle, Burak Turhan, Xin Xia, Li Li, Joanne Evans, Xingliang Yuan, Peter Stuckey, Daniel Harabor, Pierre Le Bodic, Graeme Gange, Bernd Meyer, Flloyd Mueller, Ann Nicholson and Levin Kuhlmann.

Successful 2020 ARC Discovery Projects

Ann Nicholson; Michael Wybrow; Ingrid Zukerman; David Lagnado; Ulrike Hahn - Improving human reasoning with causal Bayes networks: a multimodal approach:

  • This project aims to improve human causal and probabilistic reasoning about complex systems by taking a user-centric, multimodal, interactive approach. The project will explore new integrated visual and verbal ways of explaining a causal probabilistic model and its reasoning, reduce known human reasoning difficulties, and investigate how to reduce cognitive load by prioritising the most useful user- and context-specific information. Expected outcomes include novel AI methods that empower users to drive the reasoning process and strengthen trust in the system’s reasoning. Performance will be assessed in medical and legal domains, with significant potential benefits to end-users from better, more transparent reasoning and decision making.

John Grundy; Jon Whittle; Burak Turhan; Xin Xia; Li Li - Values-oriented Defect Fixing for Mobile Software Applications:

  • This project aims to address critical problems with mobile applications that exhibit human values-based defects, by advancing our understanding, detection and fixing of such defects. Many mobile apps do not operate according to the essential values of their human users - e.g. inclusivity, accessibility, privacy, ethical behaviour, due care, emotions, etc - making them ineffective, underused, unfit for purpose or even dangerous. Expected outcomes include new theories, techniques and prototype tools for developers and end-users to detect and help fix values-based defects in mobile apps. Benefits include better, safer mobile apps for people and organisations and improved app developer productivity and competitiveness.

Joanne Evans; Moira Paterson; Melissa Castan; Elizabeth Shepherd - Real-time rights-based recordkeeping governance:

  • This interdisciplinary research project aims to explore how records co-creation can be conceptualised in child protection and information law and overseen dynamically through a new digitally enabled, child-centred and rights-based advocacy and regulatory framework, to play an integral role in ensuring that the systems to protect children from abuse and neglect do not themselves cause harm. This project seeks to develop participatory information governance as a new theoretical foundation for proactive recordkeeping and rights advocacy for childhood out-of-home care. Improved transparency, accountability, efficiency and access to justice are anticipated benefits from this legal, recordkeeping and information infrastructure design research.

Xingliang Yuan; Cong Wang - Encrypted, Distributed, and Queryable Data Store: Framework and Realisation:

  • This project aims to design an encrypted, distributed, and queryable data store. Distributed data stores are used for a broad spectrum of applications. While creating unprecedented opportunities, long-standing data security and privacy concerns are yet to be tackled. This project expects to propose a new architecture for encrypted data stores, and devise practical query processing functions over encrypted and distributed data records. The intended outcome should bring users confidence for the secure adoption of cloud data storage services and significantly benefit enterprises that demand guaranteed protection on their proprietary data.

Peter Stuckey; Daniel Harabor; Pierre Le Bodic; Graeme Gange; Sven Koenig - Constraint-based Reasoning for Multi-agent Pathfinding:

  • Automation is a transformative technology for logistics -- using robots to manipulate inventory allows warehouses to be more efficient, and larger-scale, than ever before. But doing this in practice requires efficient, reliable methods for coordinating ever-larger fleets of robots. These problems are extremely difficult, and current approaches either scale poorly or give weak or no guarantees on solution quality. The project will develop transformative approaches to multi-agent pathfinding which can handle industrial size problems, and handle all of the complications that arise in practical applications. This will deliver improved cost-effectiveness and productivity to automated warehouse logistics and other agent coordination problems.

Bernd Meyer; Christopher Reid; Tim Landgraf; Iain Couzin - Self-organised communication as a foundation of large, complex societies:

  • This project aims to investigate how evolution has shaped the self-organisation of robust communication networks that emerge in large animal collectives from the actions of individuals following only simple, local rules. It expects to generate new knowledge into the fundamental principles guiding the self-organisation of networks that can sustain a complex society. Empirical work with ant colonies will inform the construction of simulation models to push the investigation beyond experimental limits. The Project should significantly advance our understanding of how communication networks enable the development of large societies, and thus of how to better manage autonomous man-made networks, most importantly the Internet-of-Things.

Professor Florian Mueller; Associate Professor Sarah Pell - Designing digital aquatic play to foster Australians’ engagement with water:

  • From the beach to the pool, aquatic play is key to Australians’ quality of life and advances physical, mental and social wellbeing. This project harnesses our increasing use of interactive technology (such as wearables) to develop the world’s first design theory on the interactive aquatic play. The project creates and evaluates three inspirational aquatic play prototypes, advancing confidence in-water skills, self-expression through movement and employment of safe practices to enrich Australian’s physical engagement with water. Digital media developers, government interventions and wellbeing groups can use the derived design knowledge to leverage digital technology and aquatic interactivity to foster Australians’ physical engagement with water.

David Grayden; Levin Kuhlmann; Philippa Karoly; Mark Cook - Creating subject-specific mathematical models to understand the brain:

  • This project aims to develop a mathematical framework that bridges the different scales of brain activities to provide a new tool for understanding the brain. Methods will be developed that unify individual neural activity with large scale brain activity. The approach will be validated by comparing predictions of interconnected models of neural populations (called mean-field models) to experimental data. The creation of subject-specific models from data is important, as there is large variability in neural circuits between individuals despite seemingly similar network activity. The intended outcome is new insights into the processes that govern brain function and methods for improving functional imaging of, and interfacing to, the brain.