Creativity Greenhouse: SeRTES

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: WMG


The SeRTES project aims to provide a set of requirements/specification of a visualisation to show scenarios, 'the whole' rather than 'the parts', how issues in a technological enabled society are dynamically related i.e. how entities, individuals, institutions, laws, and risks dynamically interact within the virtual realm. The research would also abstract key constructs (of entities, links and flows) for the visualisation that allow 'non-obvious' representation that is parsimonious and powerful. We will develop a skeletal representation and demonstrator that could have richness and layers added over time, beyond the current project scope. The project will also devise ways of extracting (queries), from the visualisation, ways it can be used, e.g. value risk, how to value stewardship, security, privacy, contingent values, trust and if there are useful inter-, intra-layer notions of 'trust domain' that can help us organize the architecture of the ecosystem to enable interactions, transactions, and ecosystem development. This queries would help support decisions, resulting in a tool that can be used by the policy makers, business leaders, and law enforcement officers to make intelligent decisions. The SeRTES project proposes to represent a 'tool of tools' that is truly trans-disciplinary and cross-cultural. Finally, the project sees its research as a seed-corn project and expects to seek more funding to add to the richness of the representation and develop a network of studies complementing this project.

Planned Impact

This research will provide businesses, public institutions, providers of infrastructure and individuals with an understanding (a mapping) of the landscape of their digital realm.
Enterprise information systems are generating ever-increasing amounts of heterogeneous data and more of this data is moving in real time. Many automated features (e.g. data mining techniques) and analytic modelling engines are provided in many applications, however there remain many applications where human interaction (e.g. in form of judgement) is of great importance, which include: risk management, model exploration and validation, real-time operations and information security. A visual approach significantly facilitates the task and can improve productivity and efficiency. The users can explore large amounts of data, rapidly assimilate information from many sources, reason with it, understand it and create new knowledge based on it. With the right visual picture, people can make better decisions, faster, backed with more information. In addition, it is easier for people (e.g. business/data analysts) to scan, recognise, and recall images rapidly. Utilising the human brains "pattern recognition" feature, it can easily detect changes in size, colour, shape, movement, and texture very efficiently. The research will also provide a means of visualising the hidden, invisible connections (and barriers) which are created. Such visualisations will enable the reporting, researching and public-debating of the segregation, limitation, isolation and subjugation this realm creates for certain individuals and institutions. Visualisation and representation also helps in decisions and judgement made based on dynamic interactions to reduce cognitive overload that comes from managing in a complex environment. It would help to educate, innovate and promote joined-up working, and smoothing the workflow of market, government, society. Finally, visualisation helps us to better 'see' new communities forming within the social networking environments, assisting us in identifying linkages between real groups and virtual groups and allowing the assessment of the impact of technology-created emergence, and reconfiguration of new forms of institution, structure and governance. Academically, the research could demonstrate the potential of "cyberspace cartography". Such cartography could contribute to fields as diverse as computer science, science and technology studies, the law, management sciences, information systems, geography and the arts.
The SeRTES project aims conducting research and developing visual analytics tools taking the next step in interactive visualisation approaches through the incorporation of computational intelligence techniques which can help addressing the above mentioned challenges and provide added value to 'state-of-art' advanced visualisations approaches. The research team expect to be able to disseminate the findings of the research in the form of graphic visualisations to different publishing communities at the end of the project for major impact.


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Description In addressing the challenges of understanding emerging information technology (IT) ecosystems, this research investigates how it is possible to make visible the connections between Internet experiences, and how the data flows across them.
The research developed an approach capable of mapping and representing the richly diverse collection of inter-related concepts that often confuse businesses, designers, implementers and users. By developing several tools such as dialectograms, and a layer tool with an augmented reality application, the research was able to build more detailed representations for specific perspectives whilst maintaining a sufficiently high-level of abstraction for the transferability of knowledge, experience, and techniques.
Exploitation Route It is hoped that the findings of this research and the tools developed can be used by individuals and organisations to extract particular insights from similar visualisations of complex internet experiences.

These research findings and tools can help identify risks, opportunities for help, and understanding, and security implications with regards to the Internet. At the same time, they can also help individuals and organisations identify more opportunities for better interactions, new transactions, and ultimately, help to develop better digital ecosystems.
It is hoped that these insights will also be used by policymakers, business leaders, and law enforcement officers, to make intelligent decisions.

The findings of this project has also helped inform other subsequent RCUK research projects in the digital economy, namely the RCUK Hub-of-All-Things project (EP/K039911/1) and Smart Me versus Smart Things: The Development of a Personal Resource Planning (PRP) System through Human Interactions with Data Enabled by the IoT( EP/L023911/1).
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy

Description The findings and concepts of this project have been used to help deliver school workshops for early teens to explore the hidden dangers of the web. The project's findings also inspired the production of a children's e-book aimed at creating more awareness among early teens about the dangers of the web.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic

Description Picture your Place in a Global Digital World: Schools Art Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Members of the SERTES research team visited the Flora Stevenson Primary School in Edinburgh for a 2-hour afternoon art workshop with schoolchildren. The workshop challenged the schoolchildren to draw a picture of their place in a global digital world, and how digital technologies fit into their daily life. The workshop aimed to help early teens explore the hidden dangers of the web using concepts from the SeRTES research.

Following the workshop, there was interest from other schools to have us hold similar art workshops.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
Description Visualising the Hidden Activities in the Digital Economy 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact This workshop was conducted at the Digital Futures 2012: The Third Annual Digital Economy All Hands Conference hosted by the University of Aberdeen in October 2012.

The workshop aimed to provide a forum for discussing the requirements for, and specifications of, visualizations of the complex, dynamic and often 'invisible' technological and social constructs upon which society increasingly depends. Such visualizations need to communicate how individuals, organizations, and other entities interact with one another in the Digital Economy via, for example, institutions, laws, business models and social norms. The workshop also identified ways to abstract key constructs (of entities, of the ecosystem, of information, and flows) for visualizations that allow representations that may be 'non-obvious', perspective driven, empowering, yet powerful and parsimonious. The workshop presented one form of such a visualisation and encouraged participants to discuss ways of generating information requirements to scale up such visualisations and suggest the ways in which they can be used.

Stimulated further discussion and collaboration between like-minded academics in the field of digital economy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012