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10 Projects

  • Canada
  • UK Research and Innovation
  • UKRI|EPSRC
  • 2006

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/C011961/1
    Funder Contribution: 483,835 GBP

    C. elegans is one of the simplest creatures of the animal kingdom. With a mapped genome and the only mapped neural circuitry, this organism offers a first tangible opportunity to understand an entire living, behaving and learning system bottom-up and top-down. As such, it offers great promise to systems biologists, neuroscientists and roboticists alike. Despite its relative simplicity, C. elegans possesses many of the functions that are attributed to higher level organisms, including feeding, mating, complex sensory abilities, memory and learning. Can we understand the underlying engineering designs that allow this tiny nematode to survive and flourish? What insight can we gain into universal principles that give rise to adaptive and robust life-forms or to the unique architecture of its nervous system? Meeting this challenge requires a large multi-disciplinary effort, combining insight and expertise from biology, physics, engineering and computer science.The proposed research focuses on achieving a step change in our understanding of the C. elegans locomotion system and its neural control. At the modelling level, current theoretical models of the locomotion subsystem of C. elegans rely on genomic data, the known neural circuitry, limited behavioural and electrophysiological experiments on C. elegans and knowledge from other related species. All in all the knowledge base for this modelling feat is very incomplete and hence all models to date make a large number of unconfirmed assumptions. Very fundamental questions, such as whether the locomotion system relies on endogenous control in the form of central pattern generation, have recently been debated. These questions can be addressed in mathematical and simulation models; however, the physical environment (pressure, friction, sensory inputs) may be too complex to incorporate reliably in a model. I propose to construct robotic models of the nematode, incorporating alternative predicted models of neuronal circuits and to test them under a variety of physical conditions, mimicking behavioural experiments on the biological worm. This project involves three levels of investigation: First, systematic behavioural studies of the locomotion of the worm; second, the construction, analysis and simulation of detailed neurocomputational models of the locomotion system; and third, the construction of robotic models and their testing.At the technological level, probing the activity of C. elegans neurons and muscles has eluded electrophysiogists due to the mechanical properties of the worm. Hence, despite some progress, it is remarkably difficult to confirm or further develop models of neuronal subsystems such as the locomotion subsystem. At the same time, C. elegans is transparent and hence amenable to fluorescence recordings. Efforts are underway to develop voltage-sensitive dyes for sensory neurons, but to date, C. elegans neurons or muscle cells have not been fluorescently recorded from. I propose to develop molecular voltage probes to directly record the voltage-activity of C. elegans locomotion muscles. This effort builds on my preliminary work in which quantum dots (semiconductor nanoparticles) have been embedded in biological membranes. The next steps involve obtaining a voltage-response from these probes and embedding them in cells of living animals. The ability to monitor the voltage activity in behaving animals should lead to a step change in our understanding of the locomotion system in particular and the C. elegans motor system in general. Furthermore, implementation of this technology should constitute a major advance that extends much beyond the study of C. elegans to a wide range of scientific and industrial applications in both biological and bioinspired engineering domains.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/C531515/1
    Funder Contribution: 62,957 GBP

    Quantum fluctuations mean that the vacuum is not empty as it is assumed in classical physics. These fluctuations, also known as zero-point fluctuations, produce measurable effects in superconducting electronic devices (Josephson junctions). The energy of zero-point fluctuations, also called vacuum energy, could be responsible for the dark energy of the universe, a mysterious type of energy that is currently dominating the universe. If this is the case, one expects to see a cutoff at high frequencies in the measured frequency spectrum of current noise in Josephson junctions. Currently an experiment to test this hypothesis is being designed in the US and the first experimental data are expected soon. The research project is to develop a mathematical theory of high frequency noise in Josephson junctions, to predict possible spectra and cutoffs, and to compare the theoretical predictions with future experimental data, in close collaboration with the experimentalists.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E024998/1
    Funder Contribution: 61,167 GBP

    Computer reconstructions of heritage sites provide us with a means of visualising past environments, allowing us a glimpse of the past that might otherwise be difficult to appreciate. However, it is essential that these reconstructions incorporate all the physical evidence for a site, otherwise there is a very real danger of misrepresenting the past. Key features when reconstructing past environments are authentic illumination and the environment itself. Today the interior of our buildings are lit by bright and steady light, but past societies relied on daylight and flame for illumination, and thus, as our perception of an environment is directly affected by the amount and nature of light reaching the eye, any computer reconstruction must accurately model such lighting conditions. Furthermore, in many graphics applications, including virtual archaeology, it is assumed that light travels through a non participating medium, normally clear air or a vacuum. For a great majority of synthesised images, this is a satisfactory assumption. However, in some situations it is necessary to include the participating media such as fog, smoke, or dust to provide the required level of realism within the images. In archaeological sites in particular, the materials used to provide interior light, including candles and wood fires would have caused smoke, and in addition, smoke from, for example incense burners for liturgical purposes, might have significantly affected visibility in these environments. In this feasibility study we will undertake the high-fidelity reconstruction of Byzantine art, that is the rare visible remains of the long lasting Byzantine Empire, which grew out of the Eastern Roman Empire. The Byzantines were much preoccupied with the use of gold and favoured it extensively in their churches. In the icons, massive wall and ceiling mosaics and frescoes, the use of gold was meant to illuminate the pictures from within . This lighting effect in combination with certain architectural elements of the churches was used to create certain illusions, including the holy people on the cupola mosaics seeming to step out of the golden background, approaching the viewer . Gold was not only used for the pictures, but also for candlesticks and in hanging candelabra. Byzantine architects in fact paid careful attention to the use of direct and indirect lighting in certain parts of the church building, depending on the firmly defined religious value of the respective space. This religious value was also symbolised by the architectural form and the use of pictures. We have chosen Cypriot Byzantine art, because of its outstanding quality and the geographical closeness of the sites. During Byzantine times, Cyprus followed closely the art and cultural trends of the capital, Constantinople, with especially high-quality art. Today it is in this tiny former rich and peaceful province of the Byzantine Empire that many of most precious surviving relics of Byzantine art are to be found.This feasibility study will benefit from two key recent developments which now make it possible to develop such highly authentic reconstructions of ancient Byzantine environments: progress in high fidelity physically based computer graphics including accurately modelling of participating media, and the availability of novel High Dynamic Range displays and high-precision eye-tracking systems. The goal of this feasibility study is to determine whether there is indeed a significant difference in the way in which people view Byzantine art today, and as it may have appeared in the past as they were displayed in their original environments and were illuminated by candle light, oil lamps and day light.The results from this project should provide new insights into how Byzantine art may have been viewed in the past and provide guidelines for future high-fidelity computer reconstructions of cultural heritage artefacts.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D000017/1
    Funder Contribution: 141,896 GBP

    The modelling and animation of characters, human or otherwise, is a huge and rapidly growing field. The success of movies such as those made by Pixar and the massive computer games market has led to a need for more realistic character modelling and animation, and this realism is demanded in shorter timescales. This is apparent from the large number of computer animated TV series, such as Jimmy Neutron and Excalibur, which have short production times to satisfy the consumer demand.An important point to note is that existing modelling and animation techniques are time consuming and non-intuitive in the vast majority of situations. In this research we propose to develop novel techniques to address these issues. We propose to develop a system that will offer two distinct advantages over existing techniques. Firstly, we propose to adopt a modelling technique that will allow intuitive generation and manipulation of complex geometry. Secondly, and rather more importantly, we propose to develop techniques which would allow both the modelling and animation process to be based on the same underlying geometry model.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D032008/1
    Funder Contribution: 233,161 GBP

    The computer graphics industry, and in particular those involved with films, games, simulation, virtual reality and military applications, continue to demand more realistic computer-generated images, that is computed images that more accurately match the real scene they are intended to represent. This is particularly challenging when considering images of the natural world, which presents our visual system with a wide range of colours and intensities. In most real scenes, for example, looking from inside a house towards a window, the ratio between the darkest areas (e.g. inside the room) and the brightest area (outside the window), the so-called contrast ratio, could be many thousands to one. A typical computer monitor only has a contrast ratio of about 100:1 and is thus incapable of accurately displaying such scenes.A number of appearance-preserving, or tone-mapping, operators (TMOs) have been developed in order to try to achieve a perceptual match between the real-world scene and what is displayed on the computer monitor. However, it has not yet been possible to validate the fidelity of these TMOs thoroughly against the real scenes they are trying to portray. The recent development of novel, high dynamic range (HDR) displays, capable of 75,000:1 contrast ratio now provide the opportunity to compute and display computer-generated images that are perceptually much closer to the real world.This research proposal will use these novel HDR displays to evaluate existing TMOs to see how well they do preserve the appearance of the real scenes, and will use the insights gained to develop new, more accurate TMOs for existing computer monitors and HDR displays. A framework will also be produced that will provide a straightforward, objective way of comparing real and synthetic images. Two applications, which are critically dependent on the realism of computed images, are virtual archaeology and military simulations. When investigating past environments on a computer, failure to produce images that accurately match what the past environment may have looked like, may in fact lead to the archaeologists misinterpreting the past. Similarly, the incorrect display of a military vehicle attempting to camouflage in a certain terrain may lead to detection of the vehicle in the real battlefield scenario. We will use specific examples from archaeology and camouflage to test the results of our research.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D030196/1
    Funder Contribution: 244,788 GBP

    Structures in the marine context are exposed to an extremely aggressive environment. Serious risks arise to marine structures through a combination of chemical, biological, and physical actions, which may result in significant costs of ownership and use. These are not just at the level of millions of pounds annually for repair, rehabilitation, and replacement, but also for 'cleaning-up' the contamination that would inevitably arise from failure. Seawater contains a wide variety of dissolved inorganic material, of which the chloride ion in particular significantly influences the corrosion of marine structures. In the atmospheric exposure zone, air-borne chlorides are major factors responsible for the corrosion of the concrete structures. In the splash zone, chlorides, waves and tides make a major impact on the degree of corrosion experienced through both chemical and direct velocity effects from ocean currents. Wave loading on structures can be highly destructive, particularly during storms, combining as it does with loading from extreme wave action and high winds. In the tidal zone, chlorides and the growth of bio-organisms together play an important role in promoting the progression of corrosion effects as, for example, organisms can grow on the surface of concrete, and this may lead to microbial disintegration of concrete itself. In the submerged area in addition to chlorides, the physical characteristics of the seafloor sediments can affect the deterioration of concrete; for example, the grain size and packing factors of the sediments affect diffusion through the sediments which has a major impact on the availability of oxygen and other corrosive agents. Given these complex effects of the ocean discussed above, and the important effect on the resultant corrosion of marine structures, advanced research, suitably prioritised, for more effective corrosion monitoring and better control is required to safeguard the integrity of the structures and their components which are exposed to such an extreme environment. Therefore, an accurate assessment of the corrosion conditions at different stages is of vital importance both for the proper selection of longer life materials, durable and anti-corrosion coatings, and for effective corrosion control, and forms an important backdrop for the study in this novel research project. To tackle this vitally important area, this application has been developed collaboratively by two academic groups, which are active in complementary aspects of the field, working together to create new solutions to recognised problems in this extreme environment. The applicants consider that this can be done most effectively through enhanced monitoring systems being created to make better and longer term use of current infrastructure and resources and thus to extend the life of structures.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E009972/1
    Funder Contribution: 411,124 GBP

    This project proposal addresses an emerging demand for lowcost, compact and flexible optical sources in the near- and mid-infrared wavelength regions due particularly to increasing need for sensing applications, e.g. environmental, clinical analysis, life sciences, food monitoring, pharmaceutical, security and forensics. The principal advantage of the frequency conversion approach introduced here is that the wavelength to be generated is not fixed at the wafer growth stage, but is instead determined by lithography in the post-growth processing. As such it is feasible to conceive of several devices, each with modest tunability, monolithically integrated on a single semiconductor chip. This research builds on key technologies where we already have an extensive track record in semiconductor nonlinear optics, semiconductor ring lasers and III-V integration technologies. The minaturisation of infrared optical sources, in comparison to large and expensive desktop systems, will be enabled by fabricating the frequency conversion element within a high finesse semiconductor ring laser cavity.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D073944/1
    Funder Contribution: 563,957 GBP

    As more slender and more adventurous structures, such as cable-stayed bridges, are constructed, they become increasingly susceptible to large amplitude vibrations, particularly due to aerodynamic loading. Wind-induced vibrations of bridge decks, cables, towers, lamp columns and overhead electricity cables are indeed very common. This can lead to unacceptably large movements, direct structural failure, or dangerous long-term fatigue damage of structural components. Complex interactions between the wind and the structure and also between different components of the structure (e.g. cables and bridge deck) can lead to vibration problems, so for proper understanding of the behaviour, both aerodynamic and structural effects need to be considered.Whilst some of the mechanisms of wind loading of structures are reasonably well understood, others are not, and many instances of vibrations, particularly of cables, are not well explained. Recent work has developed a generalised method for analysing 'galloping' vibrations. These are caused by changes in wind forces on a structure when it starts to move, which actually tend to increase the motion. For typical bridge cables (or other similar size structures) in moderately strong winds, a particular change in the wind flow around the cable occurs, known as the drag crisis. This changes the forces on the cable and causes a special case of galloping-type vibrations, which the new method of analysis is able to predict, for the first time. Comparisons of these calculations with wind tunnel test results on inclined cylinders have confirmed that the basic method does work, but there is a need to consider additional effects, such as wind turbulence, torsional motion of the structure and more accurate account of the changes in the aerodynamic forces as the structure moves. It is proposed to develop the approach to include these effects, using further wind tunnel data, to eventually create a unified framework for wind loading analysis of any real structure for galloping, together with the other aerodynamic mechanisms buffeting (due to wind turbulence) and flutter.Meanwhile, interactions between vibrations of structural components can cause serious effects. For example, very small vibrations of a bridge deck can cause very large vibrations of the cables supporting it, through the mechanism of 'parametric excitation'. Even more surprisingly, in other instances, localised cable vibrations can lead to vibrations of the whole structure. Research under another grant is already considering these effects for very simplified structures, but it is proposed to extend the analysis to realistic full structures. Also, often cables are tied together to try to prevent vibrations of individual cables, but they can then all vibrate together as a network. This project therefore aims to analyse full cable networks, to understand how their vibrations can be limited.Finally, it is proposed to bring together the above two main areas, to include both aerodynamic and structural dynamic interactions in the analysis of slender structures. For example, because of the interactions, the wind loads on relatively small elements, such as cables, can have surprisingly large effects on the overall dynamic response of large structures. At present this is generally ignored, but the joint approach will address this issue. Also, in some instances, only a combined view of the phenomena may be able to explain the behaviour observed on full-scale structures in practice. The holistic view of the wind loading and structural behaviour should provide tools to help avoid undesirable and potentially dangerous effects of vibrations of slender structures in the future. Based on the analysis, this could be achieved by modifying the shape of the elements to change the wind loads, or introducing dampers to absorb enough vibration energy.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D030269/1
    Funder Contribution: 243,145 GBP

    Structures in the marine context are exposed to an extremely aggressive environment. Serious risks arise to marine structures through a combination of chemical, biological, and physical actions, which may result in significant costs of ownership and use. These are not just at the level of millions of pounds annually for repair, rehabilitation, and replacement, but also for 'cleaning-up' the contamination that would inevitably arise from failure. Seawater contains a wide variety of dissolved inorganic material, of which the chloride ion in particular significantly influences the corrosion of marine structures. In the atmospheric exposure zone, air-borne chlorides are major factors responsible for the corrosion of the concrete structures. In the splash zone, chlorides, waves and tides make a major impact on the degree of corrosion experienced through both chemical and direct velocity effects from ocean currents. Wave loading on structures can be highly destructive, particularly during storms, combining as it does with loading from extreme wave action and high winds. In the tidal zone, chlorides and the growth of bio-organisms together play an important role in promoting the progression of corrosion effects as, for example, organisms can grow on the surface of concrete, and this may lead to microbial disintegration of concrete itself. In the submerged area in addition to chlorides, the physical characteristics of the seafloor sediments can affect the deterioration of concrete; for example, the grain size and packing factors of the sediments affect diffusion through the sediments which has a major impact on the availability of oxygen and other corrosive agents. Given these complex effects of the ocean discussed above, and the important effect on the resultant corrosion of marine structures, advanced research, suitably prioritised, for more effective corrosion monitoring and better control is required to safeguard the integrity of the structures and their components which are exposed to such an extreme environment. Therefore, an accurate assessment of the corrosion conditions at different stages is of vital importance both for the proper selection of longer life materials, durable and anti-corrosion coatings, and for effective corrosion control, and forms an important backdrop for the study in this novel research project. To tackle this vitally important area, this application has been developed collaboratively by two academic groups, which are active in complementary aspects of the field, working together to create new solutions to recognised problems in this extreme environment. The applicants consider that this can be done most effectively through enhanced monitoring systems being created to make better and longer term use of current infrastructure and resources and thus to extend the life of structures.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D032148/1
    Funder Contribution: 324,148 GBP

    The computer graphics industry, and in particular those involved with films, games, simulation, virtual reality and military applications, continue to demand more realistic computer-generated images, that is computed images that more accurately match the real scene they are intended to represent. This is particularly challenging when considering images of the natural world, which presents our visual system with a wide range of colours and intensities. In most real scenes, for example, looking from inside a house towards a window, the ratio between the darkest areas (e.g. inside the room) and the brightest area (outside the window), the so-called contrast ratio, could be many thousands to one. A typical computer monitor only has a contrast ratio of about 100:1 and is thus incapable of accurately displaying such scenes.A number of appearance-preserving, or tone-mapping, operators (TMOs) have been developed in order to try achieve a perceptual match between the real-world scene and what is displayed on the computer monitor. However, it has not yet been possible to validate the fidelity of these TMOs thoroughly against the real scenes they are trying to portray. The recent development of novel, high dynamic range (HDR) displays, capable of 75,000:1 contrast ratio now provide the opportunity to compute and display computer-generated images that are perceptually much closer to the real world.This research proposal will use these novel HDR displays to evaluate existing TMOs to see how well they do preserve the appearance of the real scenes, and will use the insights gained to develop new, more accurate TMOs for existing computer monitors and HDR displays. A framework will also be produced that will provide a straightforward, objective way of comparing real and synthetic images. Two applications, which are critically dependent on the realism of computed images, are virtual archaeology and military simulations. When investigating past environments on a computer, failure to produce images that accurately match what the past environment may have looked like, may in fact lead to the archaeologists misinterpreting the past. Similarly, the incorrect display of a military vehicle attempting to camouflage in a certain terrain may lead to detection of the vehicle in the real battlefield scenario. We will use specific examples from archaeology and camouflage to test the results of our research.

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The following results are related to Canada. Are you interested to view more results? Visit OpenAIRE - Explore.
10 Projects
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/C011961/1
    Funder Contribution: 483,835 GBP

    C. elegans is one of the simplest creatures of the animal kingdom. With a mapped genome and the only mapped neural circuitry, this organism offers a first tangible opportunity to understand an entire living, behaving and learning system bottom-up and top-down. As such, it offers great promise to systems biologists, neuroscientists and roboticists alike. Despite its relative simplicity, C. elegans possesses many of the functions that are attributed to higher level organisms, including feeding, mating, complex sensory abilities, memory and learning. Can we understand the underlying engineering designs that allow this tiny nematode to survive and flourish? What insight can we gain into universal principles that give rise to adaptive and robust life-forms or to the unique architecture of its nervous system? Meeting this challenge requires a large multi-disciplinary effort, combining insight and expertise from biology, physics, engineering and computer science.The proposed research focuses on achieving a step change in our understanding of the C. elegans locomotion system and its neural control. At the modelling level, current theoretical models of the locomotion subsystem of C. elegans rely on genomic data, the known neural circuitry, limited behavioural and electrophysiological experiments on C. elegans and knowledge from other related species. All in all the knowledge base for this modelling feat is very incomplete and hence all models to date make a large number of unconfirmed assumptions. Very fundamental questions, such as whether the locomotion system relies on endogenous control in the form of central pattern generation, have recently been debated. These questions can be addressed in mathematical and simulation models; however, the physical environment (pressure, friction, sensory inputs) may be too complex to incorporate reliably in a model. I propose to construct robotic models of the nematode, incorporating alternative predicted models of neuronal circuits and to test them under a variety of physical conditions, mimicking behavioural experiments on the biological worm. This project involves three levels of investigation: First, systematic behavioural studies of the locomotion of the worm; second, the construction, analysis and simulation of detailed neurocomputational models of the locomotion system; and third, the construction of robotic models and their testing.At the technological level, probing the activity of C. elegans neurons and muscles has eluded electrophysiogists due to the mechanical properties of the worm. Hence, despite some progress, it is remarkably difficult to confirm or further develop models of neuronal subsystems such as the locomotion subsystem. At the same time, C. elegans is transparent and hence amenable to fluorescence recordings. Efforts are underway to develop voltage-sensitive dyes for sensory neurons, but to date, C. elegans neurons or muscle cells have not been fluorescently recorded from. I propose to develop molecular voltage probes to directly record the voltage-activity of C. elegans locomotion muscles. This effort builds on my preliminary work in which quantum dots (semiconductor nanoparticles) have been embedded in biological membranes. The next steps involve obtaining a voltage-response from these probes and embedding them in cells of living animals. The ability to monitor the voltage activity in behaving animals should lead to a step change in our understanding of the locomotion system in particular and the C. elegans motor system in general. Furthermore, implementation of this technology should constitute a major advance that extends much beyond the study of C. elegans to a wide range of scientific and industrial applications in both biological and bioinspired engineering domains.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/C531515/1
    Funder Contribution: 62,957 GBP

    Quantum fluctuations mean that the vacuum is not empty as it is assumed in classical physics. These fluctuations, also known as zero-point fluctuations, produce measurable effects in superconducting electronic devices (Josephson junctions). The energy of zero-point fluctuations, also called vacuum energy, could be responsible for the dark energy of the universe, a mysterious type of energy that is currently dominating the universe. If this is the case, one expects to see a cutoff at high frequencies in the measured frequency spectrum of current noise in Josephson junctions. Currently an experiment to test this hypothesis is being designed in the US and the first experimental data are expected soon. The research project is to develop a mathematical theory of high frequency noise in Josephson junctions, to predict possible spectra and cutoffs, and to compare the theoretical predictions with future experimental data, in close collaboration with the experimentalists.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E024998/1
    Funder Contribution: 61,167 GBP

    Computer reconstructions of heritage sites provide us with a means of visualising past environments, allowing us a glimpse of the past that might otherwise be difficult to appreciate. However, it is essential that these reconstructions incorporate all the physical evidence for a site, otherwise there is a very real danger of misrepresenting the past. Key features when reconstructing past environments are authentic illumination and the environment itself. Today the interior of our buildings are lit by bright and steady light, but past societies relied on daylight and flame for illumination, and thus, as our perception of an environment is directly affected by the amount and nature of light reaching the eye, any computer reconstruction must accurately model such lighting conditions. Furthermore, in many graphics applications, including virtual archaeology, it is assumed that light travels through a non participating medium, normally clear air or a vacuum. For a great majority of synthesised images, this is a satisfactory assumption. However, in some situations it is necessary to include the participating media such as fog, smoke, or dust to provide the required level of realism within the images. In archaeological sites in particular, the materials used to provide interior light, including candles and wood fires would have caused smoke, and in addition, smoke from, for example incense burners for liturgical purposes, might have significantly affected visibility in these environments. In this feasibility study we will undertake the high-fidelity reconstruction of Byzantine art, that is the rare visible remains of the long lasting Byzantine Empire, which grew out of the Eastern Roman Empire. The Byzantines were much preoccupied with the use of gold and favoured it extensively in their churches. In the icons, massive wall and ceiling mosaics and frescoes, the use of gold was meant to illuminate the pictures from within . This lighting effect in combination with certain architectural elements of the churches was used to create certain illusions, including the holy people on the cupola mosaics seeming to step out of the golden background, approaching the viewer . Gold was not only used for the pictures, but also for candlesticks and in hanging candelabra. Byzantine architects in fact paid careful attention to the use of direct and indirect lighting in certain parts of the church building, depending on the firmly defined religious value of the respective space. This religious value was also symbolised by the architectural form and the use of pictures. We have chosen Cypriot Byzantine art, because of its outstanding quality and the geographical closeness of the sites. During Byzantine times, Cyprus followed closely the art and cultural trends of the capital, Constantinople, with especially high-quality art. Today it is in this tiny former rich and peaceful province of the Byzantine Empire that many of most precious surviving relics of Byzantine art are to be found.This feasibility study will benefit from two key recent developments which now make it possible to develop such highly authentic reconstructions of ancient Byzantine environments: progress in high fidelity physically based computer graphics including accurately modelling of participating media, and the availability of novel High Dynamic Range displays and high-precision eye-tracking systems. The goal of this feasibility study is to determine whether there is indeed a significant difference in the way in which people view Byzantine art today, and as it may have appeared in the past as they were displayed in their original environments and were illuminated by candle light, oil lamps and day light.The results from this project should provide new insights into how Byzantine art may have been viewed in the past and provide guidelines for future high-fidelity computer reconstructions of cultural heritage artefacts.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D000017/1
    Funder Contribution: 141,896 GBP

    The modelling and animation of characters, human or otherwise, is a huge and rapidly growing field. The success of movies such as those made by Pixar and the massive computer games market has led to a need for more realistic character modelling and animation, and this realism is demanded in shorter timescales. This is apparent from the large number of computer animated TV series, such as Jimmy Neutron and Excalibur, which have short production times to satisfy the consumer demand.An important point to note is that existing modelling and animation techniques are time consuming and non-intuitive in the vast majority of situations. In this research we propose to develop novel techniques to address these issues. We propose to develop a system that will offer two distinct advantages over existing techniques. Firstly, we propose to adopt a modelling technique that will allow intuitive generation and manipulation of complex geometry. Secondly, and rather more importantly, we propose to develop techniques which would allow both the modelling and animation process to be based on the same underlying geometry model.

    more_vert
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D032008/1
    Funder Contribution: 233,161 GBP

    The computer graphics industry, and in particular those involved with films, games, simulation, virtual reality and military applications, continue to demand more realistic computer-generated images, that is computed images that more accurately match the real scene they are intended to represent. This is particularly challenging when considering images of the natural world, which presents our visual system with a wide range of colours and intensities. In most real scenes, for example, looking from inside a house towards a window, the ratio between the darkest areas (e.g. inside the room) and the brightest area (outside the window), the so-called contrast ratio, could be many thousands to one. A typical computer monitor only has a contrast ratio of about 100:1 and is thus incapable of accurately displaying such scenes.A number of appearance-preserving, or tone-mapping, operators (TMOs) have been developed in order to try to achieve a perceptual match between the real-world scene and what is displayed on the computer monitor. However, it has not yet been possible to validate the fidelity of these TMOs thoroughly against the real scenes they are trying to portray. The recent development of novel, high dynamic range (HDR) displays, capable of 75,000:1 contrast ratio now provide the opportunity to compute and display computer-generated images that are perceptually much closer to the real world.This research proposal will use these novel HDR displays to evaluate existing TMOs to see how well they do preserve the appearance of the real scenes, and will use the insights gained to develop new, more accurate TMOs for existing computer monitors and HDR displays. A framework will also be produced that will provide a straightforward, objective way of comparing real and synthetic images. Two applications, which are critically dependent on the realism of computed images, are virtual archaeology and military simulations. When investigating past environments on a computer, failure to produce images that accurately match what the past environment may have looked like, may in fact lead to the archaeologists misinterpreting the past. Similarly, the incorrect display of a military vehicle attempting to camouflage in a certain terrain may lead to detection of the vehicle in the real battlefield scenario. We will use specific examples from archaeology and camouflage to test the results of our research.

    more_vert
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D030196/1
    Funder Contribution: 244,788 GBP

    Structures in the marine context are exposed to an extremely aggressive environment. Serious risks arise to marine structures through a combination of chemical, biological, and physical actions, which may result in significant costs of ownership and use. These are not just at the level of millions of pounds annually for repair, rehabilitation, and replacement, but also for 'cleaning-up' the contamination that would inevitably arise from failure. Seawater contains a wide variety of dissolved inorganic material, of which the chloride ion in particular significantly influences the corrosion of marine structures. In the atmospheric exposure zone, air-borne chlorides are major factors responsible for the corrosion of the concrete structures. In the splash zone, chlorides, waves and tides make a major impact on the degree of corrosion experienced through both chemical and direct velocity effects from ocean currents. Wave loading on structures can be highly destructive, particularly during storms, combining as it does with loading from extreme wave action and high winds. In the tidal zone, chlorides and the growth of bio-organisms together play an important role in promoting the progression of corrosion effects as, for example, organisms can grow on the surface of concrete, and this may lead to microbial disintegration of concrete itself. In the submerged area in addition to chlorides, the physical characteristics of the seafloor sediments can affect the deterioration of concrete; for example, the grain size and packing factors of the sediments affect diffusion through the sediments which has a major impact on the availability of oxygen and other corrosive agents. Given these complex effects of the ocean discussed above, and the important effect on the resultant corrosion of marine structures, advanced research, suitably prioritised, for more effective corrosion monitoring and better control is required to safeguard the integrity of the structures and their components which are exposed to such an extreme environment. Therefore, an accurate assessment of the corrosion conditions at different stages is of vital importance both for the proper selection of longer life materials, durable and anti-corrosion coatings, and for effective corrosion control, and forms an important backdrop for the study in this novel research project. To tackle this vitally important area, this application has been developed collaboratively by two academic groups, which are active in complementary aspects of the field, working together to create new solutions to recognised problems in this extreme environment. The applicants consider that this can be done most effectively through enhanced monitoring systems being created to make better and longer term use of current infrastructure and resources and thus to extend the life of structures.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E009972/1
    Funder Contribution: 411,124 GBP

    This project proposal addresses an emerging demand for lowcost, compact and flexible optical sources in the near- and mid-infrared wavelength regions due particularly to increasing need for sensing applications, e.g. environmental, clinical analysis, life sciences, food monitoring, pharmaceutical, security and forensics. The principal advantage of the frequency conversion approach introduced here is that the wavelength to be generated is not fixed at the wafer growth stage, but is instead determined by lithography in the post-growth processing. As such it is feasible to conceive of several devices, each with modest tunability, monolithically integrated on a single semiconductor chip. This research builds on key technologies where we already have an extensive track record in semiconductor nonlinear optics, semiconductor ring lasers and III-V integration technologies. The minaturisation of infrared optical sources, in comparison to large and expensive desktop systems, will be enabled by fabricating the frequency conversion element within a high finesse semiconductor ring laser cavity.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D073944/1
    Funder Contribution: 563,957 GBP

    As more slender and more adventurous structures, such as cable-stayed bridges, are constructed, they become increasingly susceptible to large amplitude vibrations, particularly due to aerodynamic loading. Wind-induced vibrations of bridge decks, cables, towers, lamp columns and overhead electricity cables are indeed very common. This can lead to unacceptably large movements, direct structural failure, or dangerous long-term fatigue damage of structural components. Complex interactions between the wind and the structure and also between different components of the structure (e.g. cables and bridge deck) can lead to vibration problems, so for proper understanding of the behaviour, both aerodynamic and structural effects need to be considered.Whilst some of the mechanisms of wind loading of structures are reasonably well understood, others are not, and many instances of vibrations, particularly of cables, are not well explained. Recent work has developed a generalised method for analysing 'galloping' vibrations. These are caused by changes in wind forces on a structure when it starts to move, which actually tend to increase the motion. For typical bridge cables (or other similar size structures) in moderately strong winds, a particular change in the wind flow around the cable occurs, known as the drag crisis. This changes the forces on the cable and causes a special case of galloping-type vibrations, which the new method of analysis is able to predict, for the first time. Comparisons of these calculations with wind tunnel test results on inclined cylinders have confirmed that the basic method does work, but there is a need to consider additional effects, such as wind turbulence, torsional motion of the structure and more accurate account of the changes in the aerodynamic forces as the structure moves. It is proposed to develop the approach to include these effects, using further wind tunnel data, to eventually create a unified framework for wind loading analysis of any real structure for galloping, together with the other aerodynamic mechanisms buffeting (due to wind turbulence) and flutter.Meanwhile, interactions between vibrations of structural components can cause serious effects. For example, very small vibrations of a bridge deck can cause very large vibrations of the cables supporting it, through the mechanism of 'parametric excitation'. Even more surprisingly, in other instances, localised cable vibrations can lead to vibrations of the whole structure. Research under another grant is already considering these effects for very simplified structures, but it is proposed to extend the analysis to realistic full structures. Also, often cables are tied together to try to prevent vibrations of individual cables, but they can then all vibrate together as a network. This project therefore aims to analyse full cable networks, to understand how their vibrations can be limited.Finally, it is proposed to bring together the above two main areas, to include both aerodynamic and structural dynamic interactions in the analysis of slender structures. For example, because of the interactions, the wind loads on relatively small elements, such as cables, can have surprisingly large effects on the overall dynamic response of large structures. At present this is generally ignored, but the joint approach will address this issue. Also, in some instances, only a combined view of the phenomena may be able to explain the behaviour observed on full-scale structures in practice. The holistic view of the wind loading and structural behaviour should provide tools to help avoid undesirable and potentially dangerous effects of vibrations of slender structures in the future. Based on the analysis, this could be achieved by modifying the shape of the elements to change the wind loads, or introducing dampers to absorb enough vibration energy.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D030269/1
    Funder Contribution: 243,145 GBP

    Structures in the marine context are exposed to an extremely aggressive environment. Serious risks arise to marine structures through a combination of chemical, biological, and physical actions, which may result in significant costs of ownership and use. These are not just at the level of millions of pounds annually for repair, rehabilitation, and replacement, but also for 'cleaning-up' the contamination that would inevitably arise from failure. Seawater contains a wide variety of dissolved inorganic material, of which the chloride ion in particular significantly influences the corrosion of marine structures. In the atmospheric exposure zone, air-borne chlorides are major factors responsible for the corrosion of the concrete structures. In the splash zone, chlorides, waves and tides make a major impact on the degree of corrosion experienced through both chemical and direct velocity effects from ocean currents. Wave loading on structures can be highly destructive, particularly during storms, combining as it does with loading from extreme wave action and high winds. In the tidal zone, chlorides and the growth of bio-organisms together play an important role in promoting the progression of corrosion effects as, for example, organisms can grow on the surface of concrete, and this may lead to microbial disintegration of concrete itself. In the submerged area in addition to chlorides, the physical characteristics of the seafloor sediments can affect the deterioration of concrete; for example, the grain size and packing factors of the sediments affect diffusion through the sediments which has a major impact on the availability of oxygen and other corrosive agents. Given these complex effects of the ocean discussed above, and the important effect on the resultant corrosion of marine structures, advanced research, suitably prioritised, for more effective corrosion monitoring and better control is required to safeguard the integrity of the structures and their components which are exposed to such an extreme environment. Therefore, an accurate assessment of the corrosion conditions at different stages is of vital importance both for the proper selection of longer life materials, durable and anti-corrosion coatings, and for effective corrosion control, and forms an important backdrop for the study in this novel research project. To tackle this vitally important area, this application has been developed collaboratively by two academic groups, which are active in complementary aspects of the field, working together to create new solutions to recognised problems in this extreme environment. The applicants consider that this can be done most effectively through enhanced monitoring systems being created to make better and longer term use of current infrastructure and resources and thus to extend the life of structures.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D032148/1
    Funder Contribution: 324,148 GBP

    The computer graphics industry, and in particular those involved with films, games, simulation, virtual reality and military applications, continue to demand more realistic computer-generated images, that is computed images that more accurately match the real scene they are intended to represent. This is particularly challenging when considering images of the natural world, which presents our visual system with a wide range of colours and intensities. In most real scenes, for example, looking from inside a house towards a window, the ratio between the darkest areas (e.g. inside the room) and the brightest area (outside the window), the so-called contrast ratio, could be many thousands to one. A typical computer monitor only has a contrast ratio of about 100:1 and is thus incapable of accurately displaying such scenes.A number of appearance-preserving, or tone-mapping, operators (TMOs) have been developed in order to try achieve a perceptual match between the real-world scene and what is displayed on the computer monitor. However, it has not yet been possible to validate the fidelity of these TMOs thoroughly against the real scenes they are trying to portray. The recent development of novel, high dynamic range (HDR) displays, capable of 75,000:1 contrast ratio now provide the opportunity to compute and display computer-generated images that are perceptually much closer to the real world.This research proposal will use these novel HDR displays to evaluate existing TMOs to see how well they do preserve the appearance of the real scenes, and will use the insights gained to develop new, more accurate TMOs for existing computer monitors and HDR displays. A framework will also be produced that will provide a straightforward, objective way of comparing real and synthetic images. Two applications, which are critically dependent on the realism of computed images, are virtual archaeology and military simulations. When investigating past environments on a computer, failure to produce images that accurately match what the past environment may have looked like, may in fact lead to the archaeologists misinterpreting the past. Similarly, the incorrect display of a military vehicle attempting to camouflage in a certain terrain may lead to detection of the vehicle in the real battlefield scenario. We will use specific examples from archaeology and camouflage to test the results of our research.

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