Research Software Engineers support research using MAGICS equipment – a case study

When Talayeh Aledavood heard of MAGICS, she immediately knew what to do. In her research, she studies human behavioral patterns, and MAGICS could provide the equipment and expertise that were missing in order to do her next study on the effects of the Covid-19 restrictions on people’s daily routines and well-being, especially during the transition from remote work to hybrid work.

MAGICS provides digital research infrastructure services to study the various physical responses of people. By using fitness trackers and monthly surveys of the current working mode, Aledavood could get very high-quality data showing the slow process of finding a new normal. She had wanted to do a study such as this since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic began, and MAGICS provided the required equipment.

However, few devices directly produce data in an optimal form for analysis. The chosen devices, Polar fitness trackers, have a good consumer dashboard, but some extra tools are needed to extract this data and manage the study overall. Aledavood’s past projects have been done with a collaborator who could provide this service, but they were no longer available. The Aalto Research Software Engineer (RSE) service came to the rescue. This service is exactly designed to bridge research with the computing, data, or software resources needed to accomplish their project. The Research Software Engineer, Jarno Rantaharju, designed and built a combined registration management system and data system that can enroll people, authorize the study on the subject’s Polar Dashboard account, and pull the data from the dashboard into the research database. Privacy and ethical design were greatly improved by professional support.

The Research Software Engineer project could equally be used to enable other projects. Anyone with an idea that requires custom software or service development can combine the MAGICS and RSE services and feel no hesitation to propose a project.

Equipment in MAGICS are available to anyone at Aalto University through https://takeout.aalto.fi  and other members of the MAGICS consortium in Tampere University and the University of the Arts through magics@aalto.fi. Currently, the RSE service is part of Aalto Scientific Computing (Science-IT), but has pilot scaling funding from Aalto IT Services in addition to primary funding by the School of Science, and is thus available to everyone in Aalto.

Links:

MAGICS: https://magics.fi/ 

cor:ona study: https://corona.cs.aalto.fi/

Aalto Research Software Engineers:
https://www.aalto.fi/en/services/research-software-engineers

Aalto Scientific Computing: https://scicomp.aalto.fi/

IEEE MMSP 2021 in Tampere – call for papers due 11 June

This is a reminder and invitation to submit your related research results to the 23rd IEEE Int. Workshop on Multimedia Signal Processing (MMSP 2021). The submission deadline is 11th of June.

MMSP is the flagship workshop organized by the Multimedia Signal Processing Technical Committee of the IEEE Signal Processing Society (SPS), with the aim to bring together researchers and practitioners from academia and industry, passionate about multimedia signal processing, to share their knowledge, exchange ideas, explore future research directions and network.

MMSP 2021 will be held in Tampere on 6-8 October 2021. We aim at having a safe meeting in hotel Rosendahl with the option for remote presentations for those who cannot travel. The programme will feature keynote speeches by Prof. Tuomas Virtanen and Dr. Oliver Schreer, regular and special oral and poster sessions, and a grand challenge. A conference afternoon will be devoted to the conference main theme of Remote Presence featuring the kick-off event of MAGICS, the Finnish national infrastructure network on Remote Presence and Human Virtualization; a panel with users of remote presence technologies and related demos.

All information is available at the conference web site: https://attend.ieee.org/mmsp-2021/

Looking forward to receiving your excellent paper submissions!

Best regards,

Atanas Gotchev

IEEE MMSP 2021 General Chair

Master’s theses position, topic virtual humans

Recent leap in technologies is rapidly transforming the operating environment of the media. Instead of, and in addition to real humans, also virtual humans appear in media.

The Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) and the MAGICS Aalto research infrastructure are looking for a student for the position of Master’s theses worker.

The purpose of the work is to find out what we currently know about how the audience relates to virtual humans. We are interested in knowing, in what way different Finnish people relate to various artificial humans. What kind of historical development are people’s attitudes based on and how can we expect the culture to evolve in the future?

Based on previous research, common perception of the nature and potential of artificial intelligence (AI) is formed in major part based on how AI is depicted in public discussion. Virtual humans give face to cutting-edge technologies, and even without AI behind them, the same public discussion defines the perception of the nature and potential of virtual humans.

The work is a literature study. The master’s theses worker will be working in a suitable academic department in Aalto University.

Please ask more information on the position from Creative Technologist Wesa Aapro (wesa.aapro@yle.fi) and professor Mikko Sams (mikko.sams@aalto.fi), who will also act as advisors of the work.

Diplomityö-/lopputyöpaikka, aiheena virtuaalinen ihminen (in Finnish)

Teknologioiden harppauksenomainen kehittyminen viime vuosina on nopeasti muuttamassa median toimintakenttää. Todellisten ihmisten sijaan ja rinnalla mediassa esiintyy myös virtuaalisia ihmisiä.

Yleisradio ja Aalto-yliopiston MAGICS tutkimusinfrastruktuuri etsivät diplomityön/lopputyöntekijää.
Työn tarkoituksena on selvittää, mitä nykyisin tiedämme yleisön suhtautumisesta virtuaalisiin ihmisiin. Meitä kiinnostaa tietää, miten erilaiset suomalaiset suhtautuvat erilaisiin keinotekoisiin ihmisiin. Millaiseen historialliseen kehitykseen nykyiset suhtautumistavat perustuvat ja miten ne ovat kehittyneet? Millä tavoilla voimme arvioida kulttuurin muuttuvan tulevaisuudessa?

Aiemman tutkimuksen perusteella yleinen käsitys tekoälyn luonteesta ja mahdollisuuksista muodostuu huomattavissa määrin sen perusteella, millaisena tekoäly kuvataan julkisessa keskustelussa. Virtuaaliset ihmiset antavat kasvot uusimmalle teknologialle ja vaikka niiden taustalla ei olisi tekoälyä, sama julkinen keskustelu määrittää käsitystä virtuaalisen ihmisen luonteesta ja mahdollisuuksista.

Työ toteutetaan kirjallisuuskatsauksena. Diplomityöntekijä sijoittuu työn aihepiiriin soveltuvalle Aalto-yliopiston akateemiselle laitokselle.

Lisätietoja tehtävästä antavat Creative Technologist Wesa Aapro (wesa.aapro@yle.fi) ja professori Mikko Sams (mikko.sams@aalto.fi), jotka myös toimivat työn ohjaajina.

MAGICS kick-off event 6th October, 2021

We are organizing a two-hour MAGICS kick-off event in the afternoon of 6 Oct, 2021. The kick-off event will be a multi-location hybrid event, in connection with Embrace Impact , a hack-art-on for developers, and IEEE MMSP 2021, International Workshop on Multimedia Signal Processing in Tampere.

We will publish more detailed information on the program closer to the event.