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cathrynpeoples: Project Supervision

February 2017-September 2017 (The Open University):

An Algorithm to Control the Auto-deployment of Staff in a Next Retail Distribution Warehouse

In the warehouse, there are packing stations that receive items in a chute. These items are then scanned by an operative and a computer tells them which pigeon hole to place the item in. Once all the items for that parcel have been placed in the pigeon hole, the operative is told to pack all the items and place the parcel in a sack. When there are no more items left in the chutes, the operative then requests a new station and the auto-deployment system will send them to the next busiest station.

Packing stations can pack parcels for different depots and these depots each have a different time when all the items must be packed from the station and sent to despatch (this is called the dispatch time), even if some of the parcels have missing items.

The current auto-deployment system does not recognise which stations are dispatching first and therefore operatives may be sent to a station that is not dispatching yet, but has more items than a station that is dispatching presently, meaning that the station may not get dispatched on time.

Other problems include packing stations not being recognised as being completed of all work and having been dispatched; operatives logging into a station and the auto-deployment system automatically moving them to another busier station and not allowing them to override the decision and the auto-deployment system not having access to operatives training records and sending them to packing stations they are not trained to pack on.

The objective of this project is therefore to develop a system that was is capable of accurately and reliably sending staff to the correct packing stations at the right times to meet dispatch deadlines.

A Java Program to Support the Organisation of Team Gaming Events

The problem is where a gaming team struggles to effectively and efficiently organise a team for online gaming matches.

The Design and Development of an iOS Application for Gym Membership Management with Firebase Integration and Gamification Support

The gym I am a member of has been, for a while now, using several different systems to manage all the associated benefits that members have access to as part of their membership. Some of these benefits include the ability for members to view up and coming classes and book onto them, view Personal Trainer (PT) profiles and if interested, use online electronic methods to(?) approach that PT to discuss the possibility of one-on-one training. Users currently are unable to manage their direct debit, amend their existing direct debit if they wish, for example, to sign-up for PT, but instead must go through the tedious process of arranging an appointment to speak to a membership consultant to carry out these tasks.

The problem lies in the fact that there is no one central system that members have access to that includes all the mentioned business systems intended to support and encourage members with regards to the management of their gym membership. These disparate systems are error-prone and outdated, making it difficult for members to accomplish simple tasks due to them having to use several different systems to utilise these benefits which in turn, increases errors made and as a result, the satisfaction of members decreases.

Combining of all the mentioned systems into one singular system, accessible by all its members, should help make the management of a member’s gym membership and any associated benefits far more easier and more satisfying by removing the pre-existing errors associated with the current systems which should, in turn, help increase both member satisfaction and retention.

The envisaged solution will be a mobile application native to the iOS platform. The system will utilise Firebase as its backend database allowing dynamic content relating to user challenges and information to be stored and accessed throughout.

The system will implement a goals and achievements interface, adding an element of gamification to the system in an attempt to encourage and motivate users along their fitness journey to continue using the gym facilities on a regular basis whilst in doing so, being able to achieve points which in turn will earn them badges, which can then be shared with other members of the gym through the social media-side of the system.

A Management and Distribution System for Engineering Drawings

The management of a company called ‘TGE Co.’ has decided that a review and update of their system for engineering drawing control and distribution is needed. It has been reported that some manufacturing drawings on the shop floor have either expired (obsolete issues used) or are inaccurate (the current issue is used but the product does not comply due to changes in the design of its components that were not reflected in the drawing yet). This introduces many problems, not only in terms of quality (including costly product recalls and reworks or production delays) but also in standard-compliance and failed audits, for example.

The proposed system will store both the current and archived issues of drawings. Each drawing will hold a list of references to its components’ drawings and a list of users (or groups of users) to be notified by an email whenever a new issue is approved. The system will allow Engineers and Engineering Managers to upload a new issue of a drawing, change details of such a drawing (unless submitted for validation) and to submit it for a validation. When submitted for validation, Quality Engineer users will be notified and will be able to either validate the drawing, which will prompt Engineering Manager users to approve it, or refuse the document, in which case it will be returned to its originator with comments attached and changes permitted again. If an Engineering Manager approves the drawing, the system will send an email to each member of each associated mailing group and the previous issue of the drawing will automatically be made obsolete. Otherwise the document will return to its originator to be reworked, with comments attached and changes permitted.

The system will allow guest users (users unknown to the system) to access all current issues but not any archived or uploaded but not approved documents. It will manage user access rights, manage the validation and approval processes and the distribution by notifying relevant users. The system should also include a database solution to ensure persistency of all the important objects, such as individual issues of a drawing, distribution details or user details.

The new system will enforce a compliance with the ‘ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems - Requirements’ (ISO, 2015) more efficiently than the current one. This document provides basic guidelines for companies, defining how the product (or service) quality should be managed to deliver compliance and continuous improvement and how the knowledge should be safeguarded. The company does not currently have a tool to enforce document version control and distribution.

Designing and Developing an Android Mobile Application for Healthcare Professionals to Review, Record and Calculate Medical Information to Improve the Quality and Efficiency of Patient Care

Paperwork and documentation are a core aspect of care in the NHS today. For every action taken by a doctor, nurse, healthcare assistant, or any other healthcare professional involved with the care of a patient, this action will be documented to some degree. Further to this, documentation will be kept on all aspects pertinent to the patient’s condition whilst they are being cared for in an NHS hospital.

However, some within the NHS feel that patient care is hampered by the focus on paperwork and documentation that has become the norm within the NHS. It has been estimated that one fifth of a nurse’s time is spent dealing with paperwork, representing over one million nursing hours per week.

This project aims to streamline documentation in the NHS by designing and building a mobile application that will consolidate the different forms and documents filled out every day by NHS staff, and provide staff with automation of their most important and complicated tasks.

A Java Application to Gamify Music Practice and Track Progress for Teachers and Students

Keeping track of pupils’ progress across different musical instruments and lessons, and what they are meant to be practicing, can be challenging. The usual solution would be to use a practice book in which teachers can write notes in and pupils can record their practice. However, this can easily get lost or become illegible and does not allow a consistent view across the whole class. Furthermore, music education and self-directed practice is one area of ‘education’ that has not previously been gamified and so an application could be created to track practice whilst also gamifying the learning of the instrument. The benefits of gamification are multiple: A better learning experience is created if the student can have fun and a good gamification strategy will give high levels of engagement and it can provide instant feedback so that students know what to improve on. Gamification can prompt behavioural change through the use of badges and leaderboards, to aid practicing the right things.

The proposal is to build a Java application that will be accessible from mobile devices and can run natively as a website, supported by a database behind the system. Using the application teachers can set practice work for students and in turn, students can record their progress. By using the application, the teacher would know what to focus on in further lessons and as a gamification strategy is also a feature of the system (enabling students to compete against each other to learn new pieces of music and/or scales) students can then track their progress and compare this with other students, which encourages motivation to outperform their peers and subsequently accelerates learning. They can gain virtual badges when the teacher marks items as being learnt successfully (an approach now found in many other forms of digital education such as CodeAcademy, an online learning platform for coding languages, and many Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) such as those offered by universities such as Dartmouth and George Washington University, with the effect of incentivising the student to practice.

A Java and MySQL Application Designed as an Alternative to Legacy and Paper-based Systems Used Daily in a Dixons Stores Group Store

This aim of this project is to design an application in Java that provides a solution to some problems identified in the day to day running of a Currys PC world superstore that will allow the branch management team to be more effective on a day to day basis. The problems being responded to in this project relate to the current systems instore being a collection of legacy systems with poor or non-existent connectivity between them resulting in long and laborious actions needed to get even the most basic of information. This information can include, colleague’s contact details, the branch’s payroll spend, the balance of different types of colleagues in store whether they are sales, admin, warehouse etc, a range of useful forms which are printed daily but are stored on a variety of different intranet sites and the availability of colleagues to work late shifts or Sundays.

November 2015-June 2016 (Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications):

Managing the Digital Legacy in 'Green' Clouds:

The objective of this project is to develop a cloud management algorithm to manage online resources for efficiency objectives and, specifically, remove those resources from the cloud once they are identified as being stored redundantly and are no longer accessed by a living person. Decisions could be taken by the management mechanism which are dependent on the duration of time for which the data has been inactive. The scheme could also involve reorganising data in the cloud for improved operational efficiency, a technique applicable to data which is accessed less frequently (complete project description).

A Protocol to Support Device-to-device Communication in the Smart City:

The objective of this project is to develop a protocol which supports interoperable operation between devices in the smart city IoT for application objectives within a chosen domain: As part of this project, the protocol solution proposed should be specific to a clearly defined domain, which can include the: smart car, smart home, smart business/office, smart shop, or smart health (complete project description).

A Protocol to Support Device-to-Infrastructure Communications in the Smart City:

The objective of this project is to determine how to communicate effectively and efficiently from devices operating in the Internet of Things to the cloud repository, the specific operational mechanics of the protocol involved, and the fields which must be communicated to support operation of the protocol. The design of the protocol should also take into account other operational objectives, such as efficiency (complete project description).

A Middleware to Support Operation in the Smart City:

The task in this project is to develop a middleware architecture, in terms of its organisation and the protocol which facilitates its operation, to provision a generic approach which supports operation across the smart city IoT, and a vendor-specific approach where vendors participate in the scheme. The middleware and operational protocol provisioned should be extensible to support new applications and devices as the IoT evolves (complete project description).

Efficient Quality of Service (QoS) Monitoring in Smart City Data Repositories:

This project involves the development of an algorithm for managing a repository of information which supports smart city operation, taking into account the monitoring, organisation, and evaluation of data collected. Of specific interest is data which has been collected for energy-associated implications. The scheme itself should also be developed with efficiency as a priority. A default option might be to monitor the repository at a periodic rate, such as every second. This, however, is likely to be inefficient, particularly in situations where data is not being frequently uploaded to or downloaded from the cloud repository. The objective is therefore to develop an algorithm which is intelligent, fulfilling application requirements while achieving this in a manner which is energy efficient. This rate should be adaptable in response to application requirements. It should also be adaptable to the rate of traffic flow (complete project description).

A Website to Promote Wellbeing in Smart Cities:

This project involves the development of a website which supports the promotion of wellbeing in smart cities. The specific way in which wellbeing can be positively contributed to can be determined by the student undertaking this project, but must demonstrate that this is a solution which fills a unique research gap and is based on proven techniques identified in the related work. An algorithm should be developed as part of the system proposed which evaluates the extent to which wellbeing is considered to be achieved within the context of the system developed. The algorithm should additionally provide recommendations to the user on ways in which they may work towards improving their wellbeing, such as encouraging movement, encouraging skills training, or promoting relaxation (complete project description).

Routing Money in the Smart City IoT:

The challenge of this project is to develop a routing protocol which is suitable for operation in the smart city IoT. It should take into account the fact that different packets carrying different application data have different associated financial implications and should therefore be treated with different levels of priority (complete project description).

Bitcoin Incentive Programme: An Algorithm to Dynamically Adapt the Incentive Offered for Optimised Uptake:

The objective of this project is to develop an algorithm to automatically calculate the value of the incentive dynamically depending on the region from which the bitnode may be joining, the number of bitnodes already in the region, and the market value of the Bitcoin. This will require the use of information collected in real time to identify the number of regions in which bitnodes exist and their distribution. It will also take into account the number of bitnodes present in a region. The incentive offered should update in real-time as new bitnodes are added to the network. The calculation should take into account the current market price for the Bitcoin. This information can be collected using detail at [6], and should be processed in a relevant manner for use, the manner of which is determined by the student undertaking this project and is developed based on the research (complete project description).

July 2015-September 2015 (Ulster University):

Improving Social Inclusion in a Smart City:

One aspect which can have a significant impact on a citizen's quality of life, but is largely overlooked in current smart city infrastructure, is their 'mood'. The ability to automatically assess a person's mood and capture how they feel about services provided by a city over a period of time, could contribute benefits to the city. Citizens can also be empowered to become active stakeholders in how their community is serviced and developed by the city.

The objective of this project is therefore to develop a web-based front-end interface which presents users with a questionnaire to allow their mood to be determined. Data structures and algorithms will be used as part of the back-end database to support the evaluation and decision-making process.

Paper submissions associated with the project:
"Using IT to Improve Citizen Wellbeing in Smart Cities." Accepted (8th April 2016) for publication in IEEE Potentials and
"The Technical Implementation of a Web-based Portal to Improve Citizen Wellbeing in Smart Cities." Accepted (4th April 2016) for publication in IT Professional.

Managing your Digital Legacy: The Cloud Afterlife:

The issue of what happens to your online accounts and data in the cloud once you are no longer able to access them is new territory. To support such change in our day-to-day life, it is important that traditional estate planning services adapt to these new challenges. Wills, however, are not the ideal method for dealing with digital assets because wills eventually become public. Passwords, accounts, and usernames should therefore never be placed into a will. Furthermore, the rapid changes in digital assets could render a will's provisions invalid or out-of-date before an individual has a chance to redraft the will. The objective of this project is therefore to create a website and management system which has capability to allow a user to self-manage their online assets for ease of their control after the account holder's death.

This project will involve the development of a suitable website front-end interface using the HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript programming languages, through which a client may enter their account details. System activity will be supplemented with the use of a back-end database into which the data will be stored and managed, and eventually transferred to their next of kin.

A paper has been prepared on this work - "The Cloud Afterlife: Managing your Digital Legacy" - and has been presented at the IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society in November 2015.

This work has also been showcased in IEEE Computer Student Design Showcase: G. Byrd, "Immortal Bits: Managing our Digital Legacies," in IEEE Computer, Mar. 2016, pp. 100-103.

A Website to Support a University Research Group:

The current website of the Information and Communications Engineering Research Group (ICE) requires development and expansion in order to fulfil the requirements of end users and the ICE research group. The existing site has a number of issues resulting from a lack of maintenance and an overall disinterest among the ICE research group. The project hopes to address these issues, through an overhaul of the site design and the addition of the new features and functionality. These new features are designed to make updating and maintaining the site an easier process and shall hopefully encourage more engagement with the site amongst the ICE research group. The goal is to create a site that is as dynamic as possible which requires minimal work to maintain.

ICE research group staff members can register and login to the site to access the full capabilities of the website. During login and registration, details are properly validated to ensure security. The new functionality gives each staff member the ability to add information to the site and edit information currently on the site. Changes made to the site are displayed automatically. A MySQL database is used to facilitate these transactions. Twitter Bootstrap is incorporated to aid in the design and layout improvements. Background research conducted into Human Computer Interaction (HCI) design principles is taken into account when deciding upon the final layout and colour schemes.

Final testing of the new website is conducted by members of the ICE research group. The project is then evaluated to determine whether the system meets the desired requirements. The entire development process is examined critically and suggestions made for possible further development. It is hoped that the new design will provide a modern and professional impression of the ICE research group.

October 2014-April 2015 (Ulster University):

Recommendations on an Optimised Linux Server Operating System for the Deep Space Environment:

Operating systems used in the deep space environment are custom-built, specific to the requirements of each mission. There is a cost overhead associated with such an operational approach, which is one reason for the slow rate at which deep space missions have been rolled out to date. Planning and design for the Deep Impact mission to probe a comet, for example, involved a development process lasting from November 1999 through to May 2011. The lack of a generic infrastructure and ability to rapidly deploy missions is therefore a limiting force on scientific exploration in this field.

The objective of this project is to explore the resource footprint of a range of open source Operating Systems which may be generically used to support aspects of deep space missions, and assess their suitability for deployment on-board interplanetary hardware. This will also take into account the available packages which may support functionality and performance on each.

October 2014-January 2015 (Ulster University):

The Management of Waste Data for Smart City Operation: A Website, Database and Management Algorithm supporting Intelligent Disposal Systems:

Smart technology employed within the waste management industry focuses on enhancing the efficiency of collection and separation. The main driver behind these technologies has been cost reduction and the need for many cities to improve their recycling performance. Waste is a by-product of economic activity and the SMART management of waste will have economic implications which will influence economic productivity, government expenditure and the global environment.

This project will explore the design of data structures and algorithms to manage data aspects associated with smart waste management, with the overall objective of contributing to state-of-the-art research in this field . This involves understanding the types of data which may be collected and the decisions which may subsequently be applied such that they can be storied and sorted for efficiency purposes and searched for informed intelligent decision-making.

Research Objectives:
- Develop a universal design that will allow for SMART management and control over municipal waste.
- Understanding the data types which will be collected and using this technology to collect, store and sort data to allow for efficient decision making.
- Consequently the data will be analysed and interpreted to help achieve reduced rate of waste sent to landfills.
- All information on Datasets will be made available on a website for everyone to view; real-time 'commercial' bins to display how full bins are, where recycled items are going to and the current rates of recycling.

Data Structures and Algorithms supporting Emergency and Unplanned eHealthcare:

When an individual is admitted to hospital whilst in a foreign country, their medical records will not be available locally. Therefore the clinician in the foreign hospital will not be able to access the patient's medical history, a fact which may result in less efficient and effective treatment. The e-health Action Plan 2012-2020 of the European Commission aims to improve cross-border care making it possible for patients to have a summary of their electronic health record available when visiting another country within the EU. The electronic health record may contain information such as allergies, recent procedures or details of on-going/ chronic illnesses.

In the case of emergency/ unplanned healthcare in a foreign country, suitable computerised applications could help the challenge of sharing patient data across EU member states.

Suitable data structures and algorithms will be implemented in Java to respond to unplanned healthcare.

A Website to Support the Pink Ladies Cancer Charity:

The Pink Ladies, a Cancer Support Charity in Derry/Londonderry, has recently expanded from a breast cancer support group to become a charity that additionally provides support for men and children affected by cancer. They need a website that reflects this.
page last updated: 18th August, 2017