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Knowledge and Smart Technology 2016

A talk and a workshop were presented at the KST 2016 conference in Chiangmai, Thailand on February 5th 2016

Computing applications from an Empirical Modelling perspective: progress, projects and prospects

Meurig Beynon, Computer Science, University of Warwick, UK


Applications of computing are traditionally conceived in terms of developing programs for devices that reliably implement computational rules. This conception is ill-suited to understanding computing in relation to the broader context of agency in the social and natural world. The challenges this poses have long been evident in traditional software development but are particularly acute in contemporary applications, where human and machine agency are being blended in quite unprecedented ways.

Empirical Modelling is an approach to computing applications that gives greater priority to the human perspective on agency in the world. Its focus is on developing interactive artefacts ('construals') that enable us to make connections which are grounded in personal experience. This gives broader scope for addressing meaning that is better suited to engineering and constructivist perspectives than traditional approaches.

This short talk reviews applications of Empirical Modelling to topics such as digital TV, timetabling and the development of open educational resources, identifies key areas of application for making construals that are being promoted under the auspices of the ongoing EU Erasmus+ CONSTRUIT! project, and highlights those features of Empirical Modelling that promise to deliver computing applications with innovative potential.

Slides for the talk

The workshop programme is set out on page 6 of the Conference Program

Resources relating to the construals featuring in the workshop, which was presented by Meurig Beynon, Steve Russ and Antony Harfield, can be found in the Construit archive, as follows:

A solar system construal

The purse and 'from scratch' vending machine construals

The Giving Change construal

Hex colouring