Gerhard Wickler was an invited speaker at the 2011 ISCRAM-CHINA conference organized and hosted by Harbin Engineering University (HEU) in Harbin, China.
This was the 5th conference in this series held in China. It attracted more than 100 participants, mostly from China and South-East Asia. Invited speakers gave keynote presentations on parctical and techinal advances and experiences in the field of Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management. In addition, many researchers were able to present their work in this area, highlighting the breadth of work currently underway in China and around.
Gerhard Wickler's presentation was entitled "Intelligent Systems for Activity-Centric Virtual Collaboration Support" and described some of the Systems developed at Edinburgh's Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute (AIAI) over the past decade. Specifically, it showed how I-X Technology, AIAI approach to HTN planning, has been used in application relating to crisis response and emergency management. This includes recent work on planning and execution in the context of virtual collaboration, funded by EOARD and ARL in the US.
See Press Release for details of all finalists.
Register for real and virtual participation via: http://www.teamorlando.org/gametech/
FVWC - Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge
Name: Austin Tate (avatar: Ai Austin), with OpenVCE.net team: Jessica (Yun-Heh) Chen-Burger, Jeff Dalton, Stephen Potter, Gerhard Wickler
Product Description/Problem Statement: I-Room: a virtual space for intelligent interaction.
Rapidly creating and using a Virtual Operations Room for immersive training and for real missions. Outreach to geographically dispersed teams and agencies for input of their analysis skills. Robust and survivable alternatives to physical Operations Rooms. Demonstration shows examples of shared information access via the web (video feeds, weather screens, Twitter feed on nominated search tags), and team and personal task support (e.g. to do lists delivered from collaboration portal web site).
Location of Product: http://openvce.net/izone
Required Blog Page: http://fvwc-iroom.blogspot.com/
Benefit of Virtual World Chosen: Second Life is an openly accessible virtual world with many elements suited to collaboration. It can be used freely with instant registration and access for new users and can provide publicly accessible areas for work across institutions. Opensim is open source and is compatible with the Second Life viewer. It is not as scalable a platform at this stage as Second Life, but it offers richer collaborative and media facilities, as well as the capability to be self hosted to run behind firewalls.
Visit an I-Room now in Second Life [if you do not yet have a Second Life avatar Join here]:
Watch videos of an I-Room in use:
Example I-Rooms for Training, Simulation and Tutorials
I-Rooms are available in Second Life and Opensim. An I-Room provides a two storey building with central area and four work zones, designed for collaborative and brain storming style meetings. An I-Room can be used an a rapidly deployed operations center for example. Plenty of wall space is available for displays and gadgets. Each of the four corners can easily be converted to a small two storey block, or a larger double height block. The I-Room style buildings are used in the I-X/I-Room research on intelligent collaborative and task support environments at AIAI, The University of Edinburgh.
An example I-Room in use for the "Whole of Society Crises Response" (WoSCR) Community is available for demonstration, to show the public what is being created, and to seek feedback from potential government users. The I-Room 3D buildling model and all technical facilities within the virtual worlds and on suporting web sites is available as open soirce assets and software. Demonstrations for new applications can be created using the OpenVCE.net facilities and the Vue and VCE regions in Second Life.
Technical web site: http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/project/i-room/
Caption: Link ups between real meeting spaces and a unified interaction space in a Virtual World I-Room.
Caption: I-Zone in use within the Open Virtual Collaboration Environment (OpenVCE.net).
Caption: Various sized I-Rooms are available with a core plus four corner modules design.
The demonstration shows visitors what can be done through an I-Room even though the demonstration area is set up for specific uses and experiments for the "Whole of Society Crises Response" (WoSCR) community. This is done by having a greeter I-Robot offer NEW callers a web link back to this page and an in-world notecard. A possible tailored demonstration could be set up in a spare I-Room elsewhere if needed, but having an active room will better demonstrate what one would look like when populated with status and information feed displays.
A tailored I-Room may include active support for a standard operating procedure (SOP) for establishing a virtual ops center for example - using the ideas and the existing I-X domain models from work with USJFCOM's Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA) Personnel Recovery Education and Training Center (PRETC) - but augmented to allow someone to obtain, install and set up the I-X end services and the in-world elements for connecting to services, twitter feeds and information like weather imagery and map feeds... something that uses what everyone will know and understand as necessary for a new ops center... to make a new ops center for a mission or to respond to an event. An I-Room can also be tailored to give out users' task lists and status of where users are in the execution of a joint process or plan. This can be used for effective meeting support where team members may not all be on-line at once.
A radar could trigger the display of a page (with <I-N-C-A> task and activity orientated information on it) by avatar name and would be an example of something we might then do properly with the I-Room helper and I-X linked to SOPs and to do lists stored on a web collaboration portal like OpenVCE.net.
Some of the commands for the I-X helper agent running within the "Polycom Phone" in the I-Room are listed at http://openvce.net/iroom-helper
A sample <I-N-C-A> style "to do" list page at http://openvce.net/todo-fvwc-example
Experiments with the use of "Shared Media" enabled by the Second Life Viewer 2.0 Beta for more effective collaboration in the I-Room is underway. See examples of some experimentation described at http://openvce.net/sl-viewer-2-shared-media-demos
<I-N-C-A> is the the core conceptual model of the I-X Technology for mixed initiative task orientated communication.
Tate, A. (2003) <I-N-C-A>: a Shared Model for Mixed-initiative Synthesis Tasks, Proceedings of the Workshop on Mixed-Initiative Intelligent Systems (MIIS) at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-03), pp. 125-130, Acapulco, Mexico, August 2003. [PDF Format]
I-X - Intelligent Technology