The Social Computing Research Center (SCRC) of the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT) has as one of its aim to produce a community of skilled researchers with a strong research capability in computing research and with an understanding of other domains and particularly social research areas needed to deliver the benefits of computing. We aim to create a critical mass of researchers working at the intersection between computing, social sciences and other domains providing the basis on which to deliver research required to underpin the priorities set by CUT and Cyprus in these areas.

Technology and society, or technology and culture, refers to the never-ending cyclical co-dependence, co-influence, co-production of technology and society upon one another. The availability and demand for new technologies greatly influences society, culture, politics, cities, jobs – in sum it impacts on the whole way of living. The implementation of technology influences the values of a society by shifting expectations and realities, but it is also influenced by values such as efficiency and social progress. The emergence of new media technologies raises a large number of policy, regulatory and social issues which is be the focus of study at the Center. This includes:

Online Social Networks and their Analysis

Online social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are among the most popular sites on the Internet. Users of these sites form a social network, which provides a powerful means of sharing, organizing, and finding content and contacts (Mislove, Marcon, Gummadi,  Druschel & Bhattacharjee, 2007).

Social network analysts seek to describe networks of relations as fully as possible, tease out the prominent patterns in such networks, trace the flow of information (and other resources) through them, and discover what effects these relations and networks have on people and organizations (Garton, Haythornthwaite & Wellman, 1997; F. Papadopoulos et al., 2012).

In line with the research themes and priorities of societal challenges outlined in Horizon 2020 our Center looks at the following topics:

  • Data Mining and Machine Learning in Social Networks
  • Social Network Analysis
  • Psychosociological aspects of Media and Computing
  • Biometric authentication
  • Security,  Privacy and Trust in Social Networks
  • Applications of Social Network Analysis in diverse  real networks such as advertising and marketing, biological, epidemiology, political, travel and trade networks

Questions that this theme addresses:

  • How image analysis (e.g., face detection and interpretation) in multimedia applications can improve health care and wellbeing?
  • How sociology of media can sustain and improve social inclusion?
  • How networks developed within social technologies can support people from health threats?
  • What security and privacy threats are recognized within social computing and what strategies/policies/actions need to be undertaken in order to overcome them?
  • What are the characteristics of various social networks and how they evolve over time?
  • Can we predict future or missing links in social networks? Are there any universal laws driving their dynamics and evolution? Can we control how traditional or online social networks evolve?

Relevant Projects of our team:

  1. Eye-tracking based Methodological framework for optimal distribution of online advertisement locations
  2. Techniques for intelligent search and access of multimedia content (TISAMuC)
  3. Portable Particulate Detection Device (PORPARDET)
  4. Integrating Biometrics and Forensics for the Digital Age (IC1106)
  5. POSEIDON, Development of an Intelligent System for Coast Monitoring via Camera Arrays and Sensor Networks.
  6. Efficient Routing in the Internet and other Complex Networks using Hyperbolic Metric Spaces (ComplexNetRouting)
  7. Illumination Neutralisation With Application in Tracking
  8. Conflict and Violence in Cypriot Television: new journalistic forms and practices for mediating conflict and violence in the Cypriot public sphere
  9. Integrating Biometrics and Forensics for the Digital Age (IC1106)
  10. 3D Face Image Processing and Related Applications

Entertainment, Games, Virtual Reality and Educational Technologies

A game is structured playing, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes used as an educational tool. Educational technology, also termed instructional technology, information and communication technology (ICT) in education, is “the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources” (Richey, 2008).

In line with the research themes and priorities of societal challenges outlined in Horizon 2020 our Center looks at the following topics:

  • Socially Responsible Educational Technology Research
  • Computer Graphics and Virtual Reality
  • Avatars in Virtual Environments
  • Serious Games in Education
  • Immersion in 3D Virtual Reality
  • Emerging media

Questions that this theme includes:

  • What are the current uses of social computing for entertainment and educational purposes?
  • Which theories and methodologies frame the use of social media, games and virtual reality for educational purposes?
  • How can social computing bridge social exclusion in education?
  • How can social computing facilitate the learning of new skills and competences?
  • How social media, games and virtual reality affects learning in school classrooms?
  • How can social-computing based solutions (including products, systems, or services) support social inclusion?
  • How can social media, games and virtual reality support the building of a green economy (ie. a circular economy in sync with the natural environment)?

Relevant Projects:

  1. Creative Multi-modal Information Spaces for Problem-Based Learning
  2. Play for Children with Disabilities (LUDI) (TD1309)
  3. Strengthening Europeans’ capabilities by establishing the European literacy network (IS1401)
  4. Illumination Neutralisation With Application in Tracking

Social Exclusion/Inclusion

“Social exclusion is a complex and multidimensional process. It involves the lack or denial of resources, rights, goods and services, and the inability to participate in the normal relationships and activities, available to the majority of people in a society, whether in economic, social, cultural or political arenas. It affects both the quality of life of individuals and the equity and cohesion of society as a whole.” (Social Exclusion Task Force of UK Cabinet Office, 2009).

In line with the research themes and priorities of societal challenges outlined in Horizon 2020 our Center looks at the following topics:

  • Design in social computing for people with disabilities and the elderly
  • Gender issues and the use of social computing
  • Culture and Social Computing
  • Social computing for societal change (eg. conflict management, technology for peace, terrorist networks)
  • Social computing and ambient assisted living
  • Non invasive online User Identity and Profiling (for special populations eg. elderly)

Questions that this theme include:

  • What are the theoretical and empirical bases for the use of social computing to alleviate social exclusion?
  • To what extent is access to new technologies a factor in social exclusion?
  • How far does social exclusion explain causes of antisocial behaviour in social computing?
  • How do gender, race, sexual orientation and ethnicity relate to social exclusion and how social computing can alleviate this?
  • How can social computing help to identify and study the causes and remedies of social exclusion?
  • How can technology (e.g. health technologies, virtual communities etc) promote, facilitate and sustain social inclusion for specific populations (e.g. people with Dyslexia or the Elderly) ?
  • How can social-computing based solutions (including products, systems, or services) enhance older adults’ quality of life?
  • How can social computing promote peace and dialogue around sensitive topics?
  • How can social computing empower gender equality?

Related Projects:

  1. Usability and user experience user interface design heuristics for Deaf users
  2. A Mediterranean Network for Higher and Continuing Medical Education Resources (WideMedNet)
  3. Multimodal Biometric Security System (POLYBIO)
  4. Multilingual and multifaceted interactive information access (MUMIA) (IC1002)
  5. Biometrics for Identity Documents and Smart Cards (IC2101)
  6. Womenpower (WE-ME)
  7. 3D Face Image Processing and Related Applications

Applications of Social Computing

In line with the priorities set by the Smart Specialization report of the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation the research priorities of the Center are also aligned to the research priority for Cyprus

e.g. cultural heritage, health, tourism, environment, society, economy, gender

Related Projects:

  1. RESTORE: Computer-Based Restoration of Face Appearing in Icons
  2. Moulding Expressions of Culture: The Terracotta Figurines from the ‘Villa House of Orpheus’, Nea Paphos.
  3. The History of Commandaria : Digital Journeys Back toTime
  4. Towards the Integration of Transectorial IT Design and Evaluation (IC0904)
  5. World Internet Project (WIP)