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DIREC TALKS: Software Engineering of Mobile, Ubiquitous and Robotic Systems

Software Engineering of Mobile, Ubiquitous and Robotic Systems

Software engineers developing mobile, IoT, wearable and ubiquitous systems are faced with a range of challenges, e.g. to create useful solutions that help users. Mikkel Baun Kjærgaard presents engineering tactics and open-source software technologies that help implement tactics in practice.

The rapid development in computing hardware, and sensor and user interface technologies enable the creation of more and more powerful computing solutions. Mobile, IoT, wearable and ubiquitous systems are designed to help us in our everyday life as well as in any profession. They heavily use machine learning components to automate and provide intelligent features. When working in concert with robot technology the solutions can also physically act in the world.

Software engineers developing such solutions are faced with a range of challenges to create useful solutions that consistently help users wherever they go, at an affordable cost and with a variety of hardware configurations. This means that successful solutions must deliver functionality that adapt to available resources at a given moment, e.g., in terms of sensor data accuracy, available energy, user interface options, processing power and communication options. To remain lawful, they also need protect privacy.

In this DIREC talk Mikkel Baun Kjærgaard will present and discuss engineering tactics to address such concerns and open-source software technologies that help implement tactics in practice. The tactics and software technologies are the result of more than 15 years of use-inspired basic research in projects with heavy industry involvement. The talk will give examples of ongoing projects researching tactics and software technologies for the design of systems with robotic elements. The talk will conclude with directions for future research.





Mikkel Baun Kjærgaard conducts research within the areas of ubiquitous computing (synonymous with pervasive computing), mobile computing, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and energy informatics. He has developed new methods for improving indoor positioning using location fingerprinting, designed systems for sensor fusion for improved indoor positioning, developed methods for addressing power consumption issues for mobile sensing and positioning.

He has researched new applications within sensing of crowd behaviors and position-based logistics for large building complexes. Furthermore, he has developed systems for occupant sensing, designed building operating system services and developed applications of these within energy informatics for improving the energy efficiency and flexibility of buildings. His research results have been published at premier venues within pervasive computing such as ACM MobiSys, ACM BuildSys, Pervasive, ACM Ubicomp, IEEE Percom, IEEE Pervasive Computing and Elsevier Pervasive and Mobile Computing. The results of his research have also enabled several industrial strength research prototypes that have been commercialized.


DIREC TALKS: Graph Models for Knowledge, Regulations, Rules and Processes

Graph Models for Knowledge, Regulations, Rules and Processes

In this DIREC TALK Thomas Hildebrandt presents how graph models can be used for representation of machine-readable regulations, rules and distributed processes in a flexible and maintainable way supporting both human understanding and automated execution.

Computer Science deals with the theory and methods for designing, analyzing and engineering systems of data and processes used by and impacting people and the society in which they are embedded. An important ingredient is the development of formal languages and structures for describing data and processes that can at the same time capture the complexity of the problem domain and be subject for analysis and execution by computers.

As the technology and use of computers has evolved and changed over time, a plethora of different languages and structures have been introduced.

Mirroring the evolution from centralized computer systems used mainly for business processes and research to ubiquitous, distributed systems handling processes spanning both our professional and private lives, a key challenge has become the design, analysis and management of distributed and frequently changing structures of data and processes and the regulations and rules they are supposed to follow.

Concretely, Thomas Hildebrandt will present the theory and tools of Dynamic Condition Response (DCR) Graph and give concrete examples of the modelling of legal regulations, rules and processes. The theory and tools are the result of more than 15 years of research and development jointly with industry and public organizations culminating in the establishment of the company DCRSolutions.net in 2018 providing industrial strength tools for design, analysis and execution of decision and process models, which has so far been embedded in the widely used WorkZone enterprise information management system from KMD/NEC as well as open source case management systems used in municipalities in Denmark.

The talk will conclude with directions for current and future research, including the relation between explainable AI and DCR graphs and the award winning process mining based on DCR Graphs and how to represent more general knowledge of organisations which is currently peaking several of Gartner’s hype curves (e.g. Emergent Technologies and Government Technologies and AI) under the terms like Human-centered AI, knowledge graphs, decision intelligence and Digital twins of Government.





Thomas Hildebrandt is professor in software engineering and Head of Software, Data, People & Society research section at University of Copenhagen. With a background in formal process models he has in more than 10 years been leading inter-disciplinary research and innovation projects with focus on methods and technologies for developing reliable and flexible software systems suited for the people who use them, including digitalisation of law, workflows and business processes information systems.

The research carried out by Thomas has lead to the development of the process technology Dynamic Condition Response (DCR) Graphs in collaboration with the company Exformatics. The technology has users all over the world and is available as a service at DCRGraphs.com. DCR is now owned by the company DCR Solutions and is used in Denmark to support flexible case management within the KMD WorkZone case management system, which is used 65% of the employees in the Danish state, including administrative workers at several universities.


DIREC TALKS: Formal Verification and Machine Learning Joining Forces

Formal Verification and Machine Learning Joining Forces

The growing pervasiveness of computerised systems such as intelligent traffic control or energy supply makes our society vulnerable to faults or attacks on such systems. Rigorous software engineering methods and supporting efficient verification tools are crucial to encounter this threat.

In this DIREC talk Kim Guldstrand Larsen will present and discuss how to combine formal verification and AI in order to obtain optimal AND guaranteed safe strategies.

The ultimate goal of synthesis is to disrupt traditional software development. Rather than tedious manual programming with endless testing and revision effort, synthesis comes with the promise of automatic correct-by-construction control software.

In formal verification synthesis has a long history for discrete systems dating back to Church’s problem concerning realization of logic specifications by automata. Within AI the use of (deep) reinforcement learning (Q- and M-learning) has emerged as a popular method for learning optimal control strategies through training, e.g. as applied by autonomous driving.

The formal verification approach and the AI approach to synthesis are highly complementary: Formal verification synthesis comes with absolute guarantees but are computationally expensive with resulting strategies being extremely large. In contrast, AI synthesis comes with no guarantees but is highly scalable with neural networks providing compact strategy representation.

Kim Guldstrand Larsen will present the tool UPPAAL Stratego that combines symbolic techniques with reinforcement learning to achieve (near-)optimality and safety for hybrid Markov decision processes and highlight some of the applications that include water management, traffic light control, and energy aware building.

Emphasis will be on the challenges of implementing learning algorithms, argue for their convergence and designing data structures for compact and understandable strategy representation.





Kim Guldstrand Larsen is a Professor of Computer Science at Aalborg University since 1993. He received Honorary Doctorate from Uppsala University (1999), ENS Cachan (2007), International Chair at INRIA (2016) and Distinguished Professor at North-Eastern University, Shenyang, China (2018). His research interests cover modeling, verification, performance analysis of real-time and embedded systems with applications to concurrency theory, model checking and machine learning.  

He is the prime investigator of the verification tool UPPAAL for which he received the CAV Award in 2013. Other prizes received include Danish Citation Laureates Award, Thomson Scientific Award as the most cited Danish Computer Scientist in the period 1990-2004 (2005), Grundfos Prize (2016), Ridder af Dannebrog (2007). He is member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, The Danish Academy of Technical Science, where he is Digital wiseman. Also, he is member of the Academia Europaea.

In 2015 he received the prestigious ERC Advanced Grant (LASSO), and in 2021 he won Villum Investigator Grant (S4OS).  He has been PI and director of several large centers and initiatives including CISS (Center for Embedded Software systems, 2002-2008), MT-LAB (Villum-Kahn Rasmussen Center of Excellence, 2009-2013), IDEA4CPS (Danish-Chinese Research Center, 2011-2017), INFINIT National ICT Innovation Network, 2009-2020), DiCyPS (Innovation Fund Center, 2015-2021). Finally, he is co-founder of the companies UP4ALL (2000), ATS (2017) and VeriAal (2020).


DIREC TALKS: How can we encourage more women to study computer science

How can we encourage more women to study computer science?

Women are widely underrepresented in Computer Science. We will consider why this is a problem from a societal, institutional, and individual level.

In 2015, only 10% of students on ITU’s Bachelor of Software Development were women. ITU decided to do something about this and a number of initiatives were launched. Now, the percentage of women has risen to 23% (in 2020). We will present an overview of ITU’s efforts to address this gender imbalance in computing.

Also, we will present brand new research on how to change educational activities so that they appeal more to women.

Finally, we will show the effect of ITU’s onboarding initiative BootIT and how this connects with increasing diversity.

The talk is based on joint work with among others: Melissa Høegh Marcher, Ingrid Maria Christensen, Therese Graversen, Pawel Grabarczyk, and Sebastian Mateos Nicolajsen (all from the IT University of Copenhagen).


Head of Center for Computing
Education Research (CCER),
IT University of Copenhagen



Claus Brabrand holds a PhD in Computer Science from the BRICS International Research Center at Aarhus University (January 2003).

He is the writer, director, and co-producer of the award-winning educational short-film “Teaching Teaching & Understanding Understanding” (2006) used around the world for educational development. Since 2007, he has been an Associate Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen, conducting research within the area of Programming Languages, Program Analysis, and Software Product Lines.

Parallel to this, he has worked with Educational Development and "teaching teachers to teach", both at ITU, nationally, and internationally. He has done a number of keynotes within this area. He has designed the educational materials for most of ITU's main initiatives aimed at increasing student diversity; in particular, the recruitment, onboarding, and retention of women on ITU's Bachelor of Software Development. He is now working exclusively with Computing Education Research and heading the recently inaugurated Center for Computing Education Research (CCER) at the IT University of Copenhagen.

He is the (first) recipient of the Danish National Teaching Award 2020 (Undervisningsprisen) awarded to two out of approximately 18,000 university teachers in all of Denmark).


DIREC TALKS: Can cryptographic algorithms affect legal doctrines? 

Can cryptographic algorithms affect legal doctrines?

Legal principles, philosophy and doctrines are the pillars of modern society. It is tempting to believe that, while specific laws and regulations adapt to the particular technologies of the time, the basic legal doctrines remain unchanged – and guide us in regulating and harnessing technology.

This talk will present situations where technological feasibility, accompanied with appropriate theory-of-computation reasoning, impacts not only specific laws and regulations, but also some basic legal doctrines. Specifically, these are situations where justified secrecy and privacy rights regarding sensitive information is pitted against equally justified transparency, accountability, and due process rights pertaining to the same information.

Current legal doctrines accept the seemingly inevitable reality the not all rights can be honored, and instead aim at   “balancing the harms” on all sides.   In sharp contrast, cryptographic concepts such as Zero-Knowledge Proofs and Secure Multi-Party Computation enable legal processes that do honor all rights. 

Moreover, these technologies enable fine-grained delineation of what partial information should be disclosed and to whom, thus opening the door to more nimble legal doctrines and thinking regarding the ownership, sharing, and use of information in a modern society.

The talk will be mostly based on the following two papers:

  • Kenneth Bamberger, -, Shafi Goldwasser,  Rebecca Wexler, Evan Zimmerman:  Verification Dilemmas in Law and the Promise of Zero-Knowledge Proofs.  Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Vol. 37, No. 1 (2022).
  • Dor Bitan, -, Shafi Goldwasser, Rebecca Wexler: Using Zero-Knowledge to Reconcile Law Enforcement Secrecy and Fair Trial Rights in Criminal Cases. SSRN  (2022).

Ran Canetti

Professor of Computer Science,
Boston University


Ran Canetti

Ran Canetti is a professor of Computer Science in Boston University, where he directs the center for Reliable Information System and Cyber Security. He is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery  and the International Association for Cryptologic Research, and an incumbent of the RSA Award in Mathematics.

Canetti’s research interests lie primarily in  cryptography and information security, with emphasis on the design, analysis and use of cryptographic algorithms and protocols. Recently he has been studying ways for the co-design of algorithms, law, and policy so as to provide sound foundations for society in the information age. 


DIREC TALKS: Changing the Game: How Data Science has Transformed the Games Industry

Changing the Game: How Data Science has Transformed the Games Industry

The interactive entertainment industry has grown dramatically in the past decade and is recently projected to reach 230 billion USD in global yearly revenue, making it one of the super-heavyweight sectors in entertainment. Estimates place the number of people worldwide who currently play computer games at over 4 billion.

Tracking detailed interaction behaviour from this number of people results in truly massive datasets. With the rapid growth and innovation in the sector, data has come to the forefront as a means for informing decision making. This has in turn spurred the evolution of the domain of Game Data Science – a cross-disciplinary area that merges perspectives from multiple academic domains to help the Creative Industries make sense – and use – of the rapidly growing data space. Given the constant changes in games, the people who play them and the communities that support them, data from games tend to be volatile, requiring that they be acted on rapidly.

In addition to supporting the industry, the data from video games and gamified applications has permitted Game Data Science to target a broad variety of research questions, from exploring human behaviour to developing new algorithms for real-time analytics, as well as exploring mental health and global cultural shifts.

Game Data Science has had a direct impact on the interactive entertainment industry within the past few years, as the practice of tracking and analysing the behaviour of players and processes has emerged as a key component of game development in this age of mobile platforms, increased game persistence and non-retail-based revenue models.

In this DIREC Talk, Anders Drachen will dive into Game Data Science, explaining what makes games unique and the changes in the industry that build them. A central focus of the presentation will be the user, the player, who is alfa and omega for the success of games, whether they are intended for entertainment or educational purposes.

Drachen will also cover:

  • the brief but turbulent history of data science applied in games.
  • the current state of the art in the sector.
  • the fundamental approaches toward problem-solving and the knowledge discovery process inherent in the domain.
  • examples of how Game Data Science operates in practice. The Innovate UK Demonstrator Project Weavr will be presented, which has delivered ground-breaking new data-driven visualisations to esports stakeholders.

Key takeaways from this DIREC Talk

  • An overview of the role of data science in the games industry
  • Some of the cross-disciplinary challenges and opportunities that have emerged in this fast-evolving area

Anders Drachen



Anders Drachen

Anders Drachen, PhD, (born 1976) is Professor and Head of the Game Development and Learning Technologies Unit at the Maersk McKinney-Moeller Institute, University of Southern Denmark, as well as Lead Analyst for Weavr, which is building new data-driven audience experiences across esports and sports and Co-Director for the Arena Research Cluster, an international research network focused on innovation in esports and sports. He is also affiliated with various universities, committees, and networks, e.g. the Digital Creativity Labs (former co-director), a UK Digital Economy Hub and World Centre for Excellence, which connects 100+ partners in delivering impact-driven research in games, interactive media and the rich space in which they converge at the University of York (UK), the Turing Institute data visualisation SIG, the IGGI Centre for Doctoral Training, and is adjunct faculty at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

He is recognized as one of the world’s most influential people in business intelligence in the Creative Industries, and a core innovator in the domain with 170+ publications across game analytics and games user research. His work has assisted major international game publishers, as well as SMEs, make better decisions based on their data, and led to the introduction of new value-generating practices across more than a dozen major game companies. As an interdisciplinary, veteran data scientist, his work has reached across user behaviour, user experience, business intelligence, big data, machine learning, information systems, human-computer interaction, digital business transformation, data visualisation, audience interaction, design, psychology, health, supply chains and blockchain.   He is editor/author of three field-defining books in the Creative Industries domain: Game Analytics – Maximizing the Value of Player Data, which has seen over 200,000 downloads, Games User Research, a standard work of reference in the games industry, and Game Data Science.  

His research has been covered by international print and online media worldwide. Major national print and online news outlets such as Wired, New York Post and Forbes have covered his research which has attained global attention on multiple occasions. His research work has received five best paper awards and two honourable mentions at major conferences including the Eleventh Annual AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE) in 2015 and the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in 2019.

He was part of the team behind the International Game Development Association’s Special Interest Group on Games Research and User Experience, which today counts over 3100 members worldwide. He is a member of the board of the International Game Development Association’s Special Interest Group on Game Analytics. He is a member of Turing Institute Special Interest Group on Data Visualisation and the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing in the United Kingdom. He is a member of multiple other international special interest groups and committees.

He has organized several international conferences and workshops and served on dozens of conference committees. He collaborates with international networks of colleagues in academia and industry and works with students worldwide on research projects. He is a strong proponent of work-integrated learning and an active partner for the Creative Industries in matchmaking students for internships and careers.

Having lived and worked on four different continents, Anders Drachen has had the mixed pleasure of fending off three shark attacks in Africa and Australia. He is also the youngest Dane in history to publish a cooking book – dedicated to ice cream. In his spare time, he writes books for children about technology and economics (www.aequipectenpublishing.com).


DIREC TALKS: How corona changed distributed work – The future challenges in hybrid work

How corona changed distributed work – The future challenges in hybrid work

The corona pandemic changed the perspective on how organizations think about the challenges in collaboration across geographical distance.


The distance framework from 2000 has been fundamental to how we think about the design and use of technology supporting cooperative work. In 2014, the framework was changed due to new technological opportunities. With corona, the challenges embedded in distributed work changed again in 2020 and now, after the pandemic, we have a situation where organizations think about how to utilize the learnings from the pandemic in the future workplace.

Professor Pernille Bjørn from University of Copenhagen will take us though the different frameworks and discuss the fundamental challenges in distributed and hybrid work before she presents potential ideas for how to move forward in an organization in terms of future work situations.




Pernille Bjørn

My main research falls into the research domain of Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). CSCW is an interdisciplinary research agenda with two main aims, namely to 1) investigate the basic nature of collaborative work, with the aim of 2) designing collaborative technologies.

Since 2006, I have studied the collaborative work practices in several different domains: Software development, Healthcare, Engineering, and Education. The collective contribution of all this work has to date added to unpacking practices of routine, coordination, sorting, triage, awareness, commitment, coupling of work, knowledge sharing, and cultural difficulties. Unpacking of complexities of collaborative practices can be done in many ways, and most currently we have looked into how digital tracking technologies can facilitate architectural practices of future hospitals. The purpose of this work is to figure out how to bring these insights into the way we think, design, adapt, and embed collaborative technologies.

Most recently, my interest has moved towards more design-oriented interests especially how to utilise the potentials of digital fabrication technologies for exploratory prototyping. In particular, I am interested in exploring Maker communities and the role which Makerspaces have in facilitating entrepreneurship and innovation. More concretely, exploring how disruptive technologies e.g. Blockchain have the ability to change innovation. Current work also includes exploring the role of critical design artefacts, and the ways in which we can challenge current trends within development of digital interactive technologies.