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8 Projects

  • Canada
  • UK Research and Innovation
  • 2007
  • 2011

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/F002122/1
    Funder Contribution: 419,527 GBP

    Aerosols are important in a wide range of scientific disciplines, from the delivery of drugs to the lungs, to their impact on the earth's climate and their role in climate change, through to their application in the delivery of fuels for combustion, and their processing in plasmas to prepare functionalised materials. Defined as a dispersion of solid or liquid particles within the gas phase, aerosol properties are governed by the chemical composition and size of the individual particles. It is also widely recognised that the chemical composition of the surface of a particle can play a critical role in governing the properties of the aerosol. This is primarily because aerosols can present a large surface area to the surrounding gas phase. Any chemistry that occurs must be mediated through transfer of molecules from the gas phase into the bulk of the particle across the surface. The chemical make-up of the surface can significantly influence this transfer. Further, it is recognised that particles are generally not uniform in composition throughout their volume. For example, a single particle may consist of organic and water phases that are not mixed, but are phase separated. This can have a profound influence on the properties of a particle when compared with the properties expected for a particle characterised by uniform mixing.In this research we will investigate the relationship between the chemical, physical and optical properties of aerosol particles and their chemical composition and uniformity in composition. We will develop new techniques to examine the internal structure within a single particle, to explore how different chemicals mix or separate in a single particle, and to investigate the ease with which molecules are taken up at the surface of the particle. In addition, we will develop a new instrument to measure how efficiently a particle absorbs light. In the atmosphere, aerosol particles can scatter sunlight back into space, counteracting the heat trapping properties of the greenhouse gases. However, some pollutant particles, such as black carbon produced in combustion, strongly absorb sunlight enhancing the warming of the atmosphere. The impact of aerosols remains poorly quantified and new techniques are required to study their light absorption properties.The novel experiments described above are based around two new powerful techniques. Using a tightly focussed laser beam, we can hold onto a single particle indefinitely. Known as optical tweezers, this approach has been widely used for holding particles in liquids. However, we have shown that the same approach can be used to hold onto aerosol particles. Further, light can become trapped in spherical aerosol droplets in much the same way as light undergoes total internal reflection in the formation of a rainbow. The light can travel a distance of metres around the edge of the droplet before escaping. By measuring the wavelength of the light, we can determine how far the light must travel to make one complete circuit of the droplet circumference. Not only can this provide a very accurate way of determining the size of the droplet, but it can enable us to make sensitive measurements of the composition of the droplet near the droplet surface. It is anticipated that the development and application of these new techniques will yield important new information on the properties of aerosols and their behaviour in many of the complex scientific problems highlighted above.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: BB/F004354/1
    Funder Contribution: 797,504 GBP

    The main aim of this proposal is to produce ricinoleic acid in plants at a high level allowing it to be used as a renewable raw material for the manufacture of: [1] Nylon N-11 - which is a main component of hydraulic fluid pipes in engines. [2]Lubricants to replace mineral based oils. These have applications in the areas of gear/transmission and hydraulics. Additionally we wish to investigate: [1]The metabolic assembly and chanelling/compartmentalisation of the ricinoleic acid/triacylglycerol pathway in plants [2] Explore the possibilities of using ricinoleic acid as a wider feedstock for production of novel polymers and other applications. [3] Development of B.carinata as an industrial oil crop for UK.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E064450/1
    Funder Contribution: 748,990 GBP

    Since the development of the first Kerr-lens mode-locked lasers in 1990, practical femtosecond lasers in a wide variety of configurations have delivered handsomely to a significant number of major scientific developments. It has to be recognised that the application space remains limited by the cost, complexity, skilled-user requirements and restricted flexibility of the current generation of ultrafast lasers. In this proposed joint project we seek to lead the way in the development of a new generation of ultrafast lasers. By adopting a modular approach for laser design we are aiming to demonstrate a platform from which lasers can be designed to address a wide range of user-specific requirements. By taking this approach, lasers for use in communications, for example, will have the necessary high repetition rates and low peak powers whereas for biophotonics high peak powers will be delivered to take full advantage of exploitable optical nonlinearities. We plan to work with vibronic crystals in both bulk and waveguide geometries and semiconductor quantum dot structures as the primary gain media. Although vibronic crystals have been deployed widely in ultrashort-pulse lasers the flexibility offered by conventional laser designs is very limited. To remedy this situation we intend to revolutionise cavity design to enable electrical control of the laser output parameters. For example, we wish to provide a means to users to change from an unmodelocked status to a femtosecond-pulse regime on demand. Also, by exploiting waveguiding in vibronic crystals we are confident that we can introduce a new generation of highly compact lasers that will combine many of the advantages of a semiconductor laser with the most attractive features of crystal based devices. In some preliminary work in the Ultrafast Photonics Collaboration we have shown the potential of semiconductor quantum dot structures as broadband gain media that can support the amplification and generation of femtosecond optical pulses. We now seek to build on those promising results and move towards truly flexible ultrafast lasers that will be amenable to external electronic control of the gain and loss components. Progress is expected to lead to a new generation of lasers that can give applications compatibility that far exceeds available traditional laser system designs. Within this strategy we plan to employ hybrid approaches where the benefits of semiconductor lasers will be combined with the energy storage capabilities of crystals to deliver compact and rugged sources having pulse characteristics that cover a range of durations, energies and profiles.A major part of this project effort will be devoted to the development of control functionality in ultrafast lasers. The intention is to use direct electrical control of intracavity components to deliver designer options for pulse shaping, modulated data streams, wavelength tuning and tailored dispersion. To ensure that this research is applicable we will evaluate the laser developments in the context of a set of identified demonstrators. These implementations will be used to show how design flexibility can deliver optimised lasers for biological, medical, communications and related applications.We have put together a research team having complementary of expertise and established track records of international excellence in photonics. This project as a whole will be managed from St Andrews University but all three research groups will undertake interactive research on all aspects of the laser development. We are confident that the work of this team will represent cutting-edge fundamental and translational research and it should represent a world leading strength for the UK in the development of new ultrafast lasers.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E062350/1
    Funder Contribution: 357,622 GBP

    In this project we propose to investigate techniques that will allow an additional human sense, haptic touch (or reflected force), to be sent over the Internet. Today's telecommunications and computer networks have been designed to carry information that pertains to only two human senses: the auditory sense (for example sound and speech), and the visual sense (for example video, graphic, and text etc). The Internet is now being reengineered so that it can provide different levels of service for different types of traffic, e.g. to support the transport of voice over its IP protocol (VOIP). This has lead to the design of network architectures that can support different Quality of Service (QoS) levels. It is clear that introducing into networks the ability to carry information relating to other senses will open up an enormous potential for both new and dramatically improved applications. The ability to embed touch or force into applications and then distribute them across the Internet will have significant implications in areas such as collaborative design, immersive reality and teleconferencing, distance learning and training, virtual reality showrooms and museums. It is now also recognised that the introduction of a haptic component to interactive games has increased users' quality of experience, and this has in turn increased the market demand for these types of applications. It is also clear that the network service (i.e. QoS) needed to support other senses such as touch (haptics) will be significantly different from that which currently exists.Almost all haptic applications are designed whereby the haptic device is connected to a single stand-alone system, or where dedicated connections are used to provide remote interaction. Architecting the Internet to provide an acceptable service for distributed haptic applications therefore represents a significant challenge that this research aims to address. A related challenge is to design architectures that can scale to support the QoS required for the interaction of multiple haptic devices (or users).Recent research has shown that each type of network impairment affects the sense of force feedback in a particular way. Network delay can make the user feel a virtual object before it is visually in contact, or to move into solid objects. Delay also desynchronizes the different copies of the virtual environment. Jitter makes the user feel that the object's mass is variable. Packet loss can reduce the amount the force felt by the user. The effect of these impairments is to introduce unwanted artefacts into the virtual environment. However they also effect the interaction with the physical world and a more serious consequence is to cause damage to the haptic device, and in some situations may also cause physical damage to the end user. To date, the network has not been seriously considered in the design of haptic compensation algorithms. However the introduction of graded QoS architectures (e.g. Diffserv) into the next generation Internet now offers the capability to bound effects such as packet delay jitter and loss. These guarantees can be used to offer specific levels of tolerance (spatial and haptic) to different applications. Therefore a major contribution of the research will be to develop compensation techniques that consider the current level of service that the network can offer and map these against different types of haptic applications.A series of trials investigating the performance of the derived architectures and compensation algorithms will be conducted with the collaborators who represent key constituents in this technology area: BT (network operator, UK), LABEIN (haptic applications, Spain), HandshakeVR (haptics software, Canada), and Immersion (haptic device manufacturer, California). The results will provide valuable knowledge to the designers of future devices, DHVEs and to the designers of the networks that have to support them.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E042023/1
    Funder Contribution: 545,835 GBP

    Software systems are rarely written from scratch: they evolve over long periods of time. When a change is made, this often affects many different locations in a system, and it is hard to make a change consistently. For that reason, automated tools to help the process of software change are desirable. Refactoring refers to the process of restructuring an existing piece of software, often prior to introducing new functionality, or to take advantage of a new technology. Refactoring must preserve the behaviour of existing code;,and tools that help in refactoring both assist in the restructuring process and in checking that the behaviour has not changed. Unfortunately today's refactoring tools are very hard to construct, they are still quite limited in functionality, and they often contain bugs.This project aims to construct a framework for better refactoring tools. In particular, the work is driven by refactorings for a new set of language features, called `aspect-oriented programming' that have recently been added to Java.Our framework will be based on developments in three separate areas of computer science:* `strategies' to control the process of rewriting program code, from the `term rewriting' community* `reference attribute grammars' to specify the conditions that guarantee behaviour is preserved, from the `compilers' community* `incremental evaluation' of declarative rules, from the `functional and logic programming' communityThe quality of our framework will be assessed by coding selected case studies using alternative methods. In particular, we shall implement several refactorings directly in Eclipse, the leading development environment for writing aspect-oriented programs in industry.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/E007376/1
    Funder Contribution: 396,880 GBP

    The Problem\nThe records of early drama in London are numerous and widespread, but often appear in documents where one would not think of looking for them. Consequently many have never been identified, and those which were known about have often only a fragmentary cultural, historical, or even physical context to permit proper interpretation. Spread across archives and institutions, they have been available for scholarly use only in a piece-meal and labour-intensive way, and have not been brought together to provide a public resource. Over the centuries many of these records (some of which have since been lost) were transcribed and printed but, as with the original records, these transcriptions are also widely spread, appear in unpredictable places, and are hard to access both for scholars and the many professional, educational, and general interest or commercial groups to whom London's early theatres matter. \n\nThe Solution\nThis project addresses the huge task of managing this informational problem. By concentrating on an identifiable group of theatres, it seeks to produce measurable and valuable results for the widest number of users within a reasonable time-frame (3 years). In brief, it seeks to produce (1) a systematic and complete edition of all pre-1642 manuscript and printed records of performance relating to the eight early Middlesex/Westminster theatres north of the Thames, and also (2) to make a bibliography of subsequent transcriptions of the records of these theatres widely and freely accessible by putting them into a searchable web database form. The theatres in question are the Red Lion (1567), the Theatre (1576), the Curtain (1577), the Fortune (1600), the Red Bull (1604), the Boar's Head (1602), the Phoenix or Cockpit (1616), and Salisbury Court (1629), all of which were situated outside the city of London's walls. 1642 was the year in which these theatres were closed by zealous London protestants. The edited original records will form part of the published London volumes in the Records of Early English Drama series. The bibliography, currently being developed though not in web form, is known as the London Theatres Bibliography and will, through this bid for IT development, become a publicly accessible and free resource.\n\nAdvantages\nThe advantage of combining the editing and IT projects are as follows (1) the primary research on the bibliography will support the editor of the records in locating likely sources, editing and annotating them, and it may even provide some entries for the edition, where a post-1642 transcription is the only extant record of pre-1642 activity (2) while the edition concentrates on records of performance in the theatres (drama, secular music, and ceremony), the web bibliography will substantially extend this range by including later transcriptions in assessed, annotated and digest form of pre-1642 records which go beyond performance, e.g., royal accounts or purely biographical records (3) most importantly, the bibliography provides the critical after-life of the pre-1642 theatres, giving the primary records a historical dimension which will make interpretation of them more sophisticated and culturally informed.\n\nUsers will have thus have access to the original data on a major group of London's theatres. They will receive it consistently presented in a scholarly form, and will enjoy the kind of electronic access to its subsequent traditions that the diverse groups of twenty-first century stake-holders expect.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/E004016/1
    Funder Contribution: 453,995 GBP

    Carbon is one of the essential elements required for life to exist, alongside energy and liquid water. In contrast to other parts of the Earth's biosphere, cycling of carbon compounds beneath glaciers and ice sheets is poorly understood, since these environments were believed to be devoid of life until recently. Significant populations of micro-organisms have recently been found beneath ice masses (Sharp et al., 1999; Skidmore et al., 2000; Foght et al., 2004). Evidence shows that, as in other watery environments on Earth, these sub-ice microbes are able to process a variety of carbon forms over a range of conditions, producing greenhouse gases, such as CO2 and CH4 (Skidmore et al., 2000). Almost nothing is known about 1) the range of carbon compounds available to microbes beneath ice, 2) the degree to which they can be used as food by microbes and 3) the rates of utilisation and the full spectrum of products (e.g. gases). This information is important for understanding the global carbon cycle on Earth. The fate of large amounts of organic carbon during the advance of the glaciers over the boreal forest during the last ice age (Van Campo et al., 1993), for example, is unknown and is likely to depend fundamentally on microbial processes in sub-ice environments. Current models of Earth's global carbon cycle assume this carbon is 'lost' from the Earth's system (Adarns et al., 1990; Van Campo et al., 1993; Francois et al., 1999). The possibility that it is used by subglacial microbes and converted to CO2 and CH4 has not been considered. This may have potential for explaining variations in Earth's atmospheric greenhouse gas composition over the last 2 million years. Sub-glacial environments lacking a modern carbon supply (e.g. trees, microbial cells) may represent ideal model systems for icy habitats on other terrestrial planets (e.g. Mars and Jupiter moons; Clifford, 1987; Pathare et al. 1998; Kivelson et al. 2000), and may be used to help determine whether life is possible in these more extreme systems.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: PP/E001947/1
    Funder Contribution: 286,718 GBP

    The Earth possesses a magnetic field which is approximately dipolar in shape - very similar to the magnetic field produced a simple bar magnet. Magnetic field lines emerge from the planet at one magnetic pole and extend out of the atmosphere and many thousands of kilometres into space, before returning to the magnetic pole in the opposite hemisphere. Rather than being a vacuum, the region of space that these field lines pass through is filled with plasma - an electrically conducting gas made up charged particles. Most of these particles originate in the Earth's atmosphere having been produced by ultraviolet sunlight which ionises gases in the high altitude atmosphere. The Sun also possesses a strong magnetic field. As nuclear processes generate energy in the solar interior, the outer layer of the solar atmosphere expands outwards through the solar system (forming the solar wind), and carries with it remnants of the Sun's magnetic field (the interplanetary magnetic field). When the solar wind and interplanetary magnetic field arrive at the Earth, they collide with the Earth's magnetic field and are diverted around the planet. The cavity carved out of the solar wind by the Earth's magnetic field is called the magnetosphere. Inside the magnetosphere the plasma and magnetic field originate mainly from the Earth. Outside of the magnetosphere, they originate from the Sun. At the boundary between the interplanetary and terrestrial magnetic fields on the dayside of the Earth, the field lines sometimes orient themselves in opposite directions. When this happens, the field lines can merge or 'reconnect' across the boundary. In other words, closed magnetic field lines that start and finish at the Earth's surface in opposite hemispheres can be opened so that one end stays fixed to the Earth while the other extends outwards into the solar wind. Since the solar wind is constantly streaming away from the Sun, the newly-opened magnetic field line is dragged and stretched away from the Earth. Therefore, because of the process of magnetic reconnection at the dayside boundary, the Earth's dipolar magnetic field is stretched out on the planet's nightside to form a long magnetic tail that points away from the Sun. If the Earth's magnetic field was continuously being peeled away and dragged into the tail, eventually there would be no field left on the dayside of the planet. However, a process in the tail periodically acts to reduce the amount open magnetic field in the tail and return closed field to the dayside - this process is magnetic reconnection. By reconnecting two open magnetic field lines a closed magnetic field is produced (like typing together the two loose ends of a piece of elastic). However, the resulting closed field is highly stretched and, just like a stretched elastic band, it contracts back towards the Earth, catapulting some of the magnetospheric plasma Earthward. The reconnection process in the tail is not steady. Generally magnetic field builds up in the tail until some critical point is reached. Somehow, reconnection is triggered and stretched magnetic field is removed from the tail and returned to the Earth. The period when tail field is building is known as the substorm growth phase, while the explosive release of energy in the tail associated with reconnection and the closure of open field lines is known as the substorm expansion phase. However, the processes that cause the triggering of the expansion phase (i.e. that mechanisms that trigger the catapult) remain unclear - it is one of the biggest uncertainties in solar-terrestrial physics. This investigation will use measurements from instruments on spacecraft located in the tail and observations made from the Earth in order to determine the triggering mechanism of magnetospheric substorms.

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The following results are related to Canada. Are you interested to view more results? Visit OpenAIRE - Explore.
8 Projects
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/F002122/1
    Funder Contribution: 419,527 GBP

    Aerosols are important in a wide range of scientific disciplines, from the delivery of drugs to the lungs, to their impact on the earth's climate and their role in climate change, through to their application in the delivery of fuels for combustion, and their processing in plasmas to prepare functionalised materials. Defined as a dispersion of solid or liquid particles within the gas phase, aerosol properties are governed by the chemical composition and size of the individual particles. It is also widely recognised that the chemical composition of the surface of a particle can play a critical role in governing the properties of the aerosol. This is primarily because aerosols can present a large surface area to the surrounding gas phase. Any chemistry that occurs must be mediated through transfer of molecules from the gas phase into the bulk of the particle across the surface. The chemical make-up of the surface can significantly influence this transfer. Further, it is recognised that particles are generally not uniform in composition throughout their volume. For example, a single particle may consist of organic and water phases that are not mixed, but are phase separated. This can have a profound influence on the properties of a particle when compared with the properties expected for a particle characterised by uniform mixing.In this research we will investigate the relationship between the chemical, physical and optical properties of aerosol particles and their chemical composition and uniformity in composition. We will develop new techniques to examine the internal structure within a single particle, to explore how different chemicals mix or separate in a single particle, and to investigate the ease with which molecules are taken up at the surface of the particle. In addition, we will develop a new instrument to measure how efficiently a particle absorbs light. In the atmosphere, aerosol particles can scatter sunlight back into space, counteracting the heat trapping properties of the greenhouse gases. However, some pollutant particles, such as black carbon produced in combustion, strongly absorb sunlight enhancing the warming of the atmosphere. The impact of aerosols remains poorly quantified and new techniques are required to study their light absorption properties.The novel experiments described above are based around two new powerful techniques. Using a tightly focussed laser beam, we can hold onto a single particle indefinitely. Known as optical tweezers, this approach has been widely used for holding particles in liquids. However, we have shown that the same approach can be used to hold onto aerosol particles. Further, light can become trapped in spherical aerosol droplets in much the same way as light undergoes total internal reflection in the formation of a rainbow. The light can travel a distance of metres around the edge of the droplet before escaping. By measuring the wavelength of the light, we can determine how far the light must travel to make one complete circuit of the droplet circumference. Not only can this provide a very accurate way of determining the size of the droplet, but it can enable us to make sensitive measurements of the composition of the droplet near the droplet surface. It is anticipated that the development and application of these new techniques will yield important new information on the properties of aerosols and their behaviour in many of the complex scientific problems highlighted above.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: BB/F004354/1
    Funder Contribution: 797,504 GBP

    The main aim of this proposal is to produce ricinoleic acid in plants at a high level allowing it to be used as a renewable raw material for the manufacture of: [1] Nylon N-11 - which is a main component of hydraulic fluid pipes in engines. [2]Lubricants to replace mineral based oils. These have applications in the areas of gear/transmission and hydraulics. Additionally we wish to investigate: [1]The metabolic assembly and chanelling/compartmentalisation of the ricinoleic acid/triacylglycerol pathway in plants [2] Explore the possibilities of using ricinoleic acid as a wider feedstock for production of novel polymers and other applications. [3] Development of B.carinata as an industrial oil crop for UK.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E064450/1
    Funder Contribution: 748,990 GBP

    Since the development of the first Kerr-lens mode-locked lasers in 1990, practical femtosecond lasers in a wide variety of configurations have delivered handsomely to a significant number of major scientific developments. It has to be recognised that the application space remains limited by the cost, complexity, skilled-user requirements and restricted flexibility of the current generation of ultrafast lasers. In this proposed joint project we seek to lead the way in the development of a new generation of ultrafast lasers. By adopting a modular approach for laser design we are aiming to demonstrate a platform from which lasers can be designed to address a wide range of user-specific requirements. By taking this approach, lasers for use in communications, for example, will have the necessary high repetition rates and low peak powers whereas for biophotonics high peak powers will be delivered to take full advantage of exploitable optical nonlinearities. We plan to work with vibronic crystals in both bulk and waveguide geometries and semiconductor quantum dot structures as the primary gain media. Although vibronic crystals have been deployed widely in ultrashort-pulse lasers the flexibility offered by conventional laser designs is very limited. To remedy this situation we intend to revolutionise cavity design to enable electrical control of the laser output parameters. For example, we wish to provide a means to users to change from an unmodelocked status to a femtosecond-pulse regime on demand. Also, by exploiting waveguiding in vibronic crystals we are confident that we can introduce a new generation of highly compact lasers that will combine many of the advantages of a semiconductor laser with the most attractive features of crystal based devices. In some preliminary work in the Ultrafast Photonics Collaboration we have shown the potential of semiconductor quantum dot structures as broadband gain media that can support the amplification and generation of femtosecond optical pulses. We now seek to build on those promising results and move towards truly flexible ultrafast lasers that will be amenable to external electronic control of the gain and loss components. Progress is expected to lead to a new generation of lasers that can give applications compatibility that far exceeds available traditional laser system designs. Within this strategy we plan to employ hybrid approaches where the benefits of semiconductor lasers will be combined with the energy storage capabilities of crystals to deliver compact and rugged sources having pulse characteristics that cover a range of durations, energies and profiles.A major part of this project effort will be devoted to the development of control functionality in ultrafast lasers. The intention is to use direct electrical control of intracavity components to deliver designer options for pulse shaping, modulated data streams, wavelength tuning and tailored dispersion. To ensure that this research is applicable we will evaluate the laser developments in the context of a set of identified demonstrators. These implementations will be used to show how design flexibility can deliver optimised lasers for biological, medical, communications and related applications.We have put together a research team having complementary of expertise and established track records of international excellence in photonics. This project as a whole will be managed from St Andrews University but all three research groups will undertake interactive research on all aspects of the laser development. We are confident that the work of this team will represent cutting-edge fundamental and translational research and it should represent a world leading strength for the UK in the development of new ultrafast lasers.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E062350/1
    Funder Contribution: 357,622 GBP

    In this project we propose to investigate techniques that will allow an additional human sense, haptic touch (or reflected force), to be sent over the Internet. Today's telecommunications and computer networks have been designed to carry information that pertains to only two human senses: the auditory sense (for example sound and speech), and the visual sense (for example video, graphic, and text etc). The Internet is now being reengineered so that it can provide different levels of service for different types of traffic, e.g. to support the transport of voice over its IP protocol (VOIP). This has lead to the design of network architectures that can support different Quality of Service (QoS) levels. It is clear that introducing into networks the ability to carry information relating to other senses will open up an enormous potential for both new and dramatically improved applications. The ability to embed touch or force into applications and then distribute them across the Internet will have significant implications in areas such as collaborative design, immersive reality and teleconferencing, distance learning and training, virtual reality showrooms and museums. It is now also recognised that the introduction of a haptic component to interactive games has increased users' quality of experience, and this has in turn increased the market demand for these types of applications. It is also clear that the network service (i.e. QoS) needed to support other senses such as touch (haptics) will be significantly different from that which currently exists.Almost all haptic applications are designed whereby the haptic device is connected to a single stand-alone system, or where dedicated connections are used to provide remote interaction. Architecting the Internet to provide an acceptable service for distributed haptic applications therefore represents a significant challenge that this research aims to address. A related challenge is to design architectures that can scale to support the QoS required for the interaction of multiple haptic devices (or users).Recent research has shown that each type of network impairment affects the sense of force feedback in a particular way. Network delay can make the user feel a virtual object before it is visually in contact, or to move into solid objects. Delay also desynchronizes the different copies of the virtual environment. Jitter makes the user feel that the object's mass is variable. Packet loss can reduce the amount the force felt by the user. The effect of these impairments is to introduce unwanted artefacts into the virtual environment. However they also effect the interaction with the physical world and a more serious consequence is to cause damage to the haptic device, and in some situations may also cause physical damage to the end user. To date, the network has not been seriously considered in the design of haptic compensation algorithms. However the introduction of graded QoS architectures (e.g. Diffserv) into the next generation Internet now offers the capability to bound effects such as packet delay jitter and loss. These guarantees can be used to offer specific levels of tolerance (spatial and haptic) to different applications. Therefore a major contribution of the research will be to develop compensation techniques that consider the current level of service that the network can offer and map these against different types of haptic applications.A series of trials investigating the performance of the derived architectures and compensation algorithms will be conducted with the collaborators who represent key constituents in this technology area: BT (network operator, UK), LABEIN (haptic applications, Spain), HandshakeVR (haptics software, Canada), and Immersion (haptic device manufacturer, California). The results will provide valuable knowledge to the designers of future devices, DHVEs and to the designers of the networks that have to support them.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E042023/1
    Funder Contribution: 545,835 GBP

    Software systems are rarely written from scratch: they evolve over long periods of time. When a change is made, this often affects many different locations in a system, and it is hard to make a change consistently. For that reason, automated tools to help the process of software change are desirable. Refactoring refers to the process of restructuring an existing piece of software, often prior to introducing new functionality, or to take advantage of a new technology. Refactoring must preserve the behaviour of existing code;,and tools that help in refactoring both assist in the restructuring process and in checking that the behaviour has not changed. Unfortunately today's refactoring tools are very hard to construct, they are still quite limited in functionality, and they often contain bugs.This project aims to construct a framework for better refactoring tools. In particular, the work is driven by refactorings for a new set of language features, called `aspect-oriented programming' that have recently been added to Java.Our framework will be based on developments in three separate areas of computer science:* `strategies' to control the process of rewriting program code, from the `term rewriting' community* `reference attribute grammars' to specify the conditions that guarantee behaviour is preserved, from the `compilers' community* `incremental evaluation' of declarative rules, from the `functional and logic programming' communityThe quality of our framework will be assessed by coding selected case studies using alternative methods. In particular, we shall implement several refactorings directly in Eclipse, the leading development environment for writing aspect-oriented programs in industry.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/E007376/1
    Funder Contribution: 396,880 GBP

    The Problem\nThe records of early drama in London are numerous and widespread, but often appear in documents where one would not think of looking for them. Consequently many have never been identified, and those which were known about have often only a fragmentary cultural, historical, or even physical context to permit proper interpretation. Spread across archives and institutions, they have been available for scholarly use only in a piece-meal and labour-intensive way, and have not been brought together to provide a public resource. Over the centuries many of these records (some of which have since been lost) were transcribed and printed but, as with the original records, these transcriptions are also widely spread, appear in unpredictable places, and are hard to access both for scholars and the many professional, educational, and general interest or commercial groups to whom London's early theatres matter. \n\nThe Solution\nThis project addresses the huge task of managing this informational problem. By concentrating on an identifiable group of theatres, it seeks to produce measurable and valuable results for the widest number of users within a reasonable time-frame (3 years). In brief, it seeks to produce (1) a systematic and complete edition of all pre-1642 manuscript and printed records of performance relating to the eight early Middlesex/Westminster theatres north of the Thames, and also (2) to make a bibliography of subsequent transcriptions of the records of these theatres widely and freely accessible by putting them into a searchable web database form. The theatres in question are the Red Lion (1567), the Theatre (1576), the Curtain (1577), the Fortune (1600), the Red Bull (1604), the Boar's Head (1602), the Phoenix or Cockpit (1616), and Salisbury Court (1629), all of which were situated outside the city of London's walls. 1642 was the year in which these theatres were closed by zealous London protestants. The edited original records will form part of the published London volumes in the Records of Early English Drama series. The bibliography, currently being developed though not in web form, is known as the London Theatres Bibliography and will, through this bid for IT development, become a publicly accessible and free resource.\n\nAdvantages\nThe advantage of combining the editing and IT projects are as follows (1) the primary research on the bibliography will support the editor of the records in locating likely sources, editing and annotating them, and it may even provide some entries for the edition, where a post-1642 transcription is the only extant record of pre-1642 activity (2) while the edition concentrates on records of performance in the theatres (drama, secular music, and ceremony), the web bibliography will substantially extend this range by including later transcriptions in assessed, annotated and digest form of pre-1642 records which go beyond performance, e.g., royal accounts or purely biographical records (3) most importantly, the bibliography provides the critical after-life of the pre-1642 theatres, giving the primary records a historical dimension which will make interpretation of them more sophisticated and culturally informed.\n\nUsers will have thus have access to the original data on a major group of London's theatres. They will receive it consistently presented in a scholarly form, and will enjoy the kind of electronic access to its subsequent traditions that the diverse groups of twenty-first century stake-holders expect.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/E004016/1
    Funder Contribution: 453,995 GBP

    Carbon is one of the essential elements required for life to exist, alongside energy and liquid water. In contrast to other parts of the Earth's biosphere, cycling of carbon compounds beneath glaciers and ice sheets is poorly understood, since these environments were believed to be devoid of life until recently. Significant populations of micro-organisms have recently been found beneath ice masses (Sharp et al., 1999; Skidmore et al., 2000; Foght et al., 2004). Evidence shows that, as in other watery environments on Earth, these sub-ice microbes are able to process a variety of carbon forms over a range of conditions, producing greenhouse gases, such as CO2 and CH4 (Skidmore et al., 2000). Almost nothing is known about 1) the range of carbon compounds available to microbes beneath ice, 2) the degree to which they can be used as food by microbes and 3) the rates of utilisation and the full spectrum of products (e.g. gases). This information is important for understanding the global carbon cycle on Earth. The fate of large amounts of organic carbon during the advance of the glaciers over the boreal forest during the last ice age (Van Campo et al., 1993), for example, is unknown and is likely to depend fundamentally on microbial processes in sub-ice environments. Current models of Earth's global carbon cycle assume this carbon is 'lost' from the Earth's system (Adarns et al., 1990; Van Campo et al., 1993; Francois et al., 1999). The possibility that it is used by subglacial microbes and converted to CO2 and CH4 has not been considered. This may have potential for explaining variations in Earth's atmospheric greenhouse gas composition over the last 2 million years. Sub-glacial environments lacking a modern carbon supply (e.g. trees, microbial cells) may represent ideal model systems for icy habitats on other terrestrial planets (e.g. Mars and Jupiter moons; Clifford, 1987; Pathare et al. 1998; Kivelson et al. 2000), and may be used to help determine whether life is possible in these more extreme systems.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: PP/E001947/1
    Funder Contribution: 286,718 GBP

    The Earth possesses a magnetic field which is approximately dipolar in shape - very similar to the magnetic field produced a simple bar magnet. Magnetic field lines emerge from the planet at one magnetic pole and extend out of the atmosphere and many thousands of kilometres into space, before returning to the magnetic pole in the opposite hemisphere. Rather than being a vacuum, the region of space that these field lines pass through is filled with plasma - an electrically conducting gas made up charged particles. Most of these particles originate in the Earth's atmosphere having been produced by ultraviolet sunlight which ionises gases in the high altitude atmosphere. The Sun also possesses a strong magnetic field. As nuclear processes generate energy in the solar interior, the outer layer of the solar atmosphere expands outwards through the solar system (forming the solar wind), and carries with it remnants of the Sun's magnetic field (the interplanetary magnetic field). When the solar wind and interplanetary magnetic field arrive at the Earth, they collide with the Earth's magnetic field and are diverted around the planet. The cavity carved out of the solar wind by the Earth's magnetic field is called the magnetosphere. Inside the magnetosphere the plasma and magnetic field originate mainly from the Earth. Outside of the magnetosphere, they originate from the Sun. At the boundary between the interplanetary and terrestrial magnetic fields on the dayside of the Earth, the field lines sometimes orient themselves in opposite directions. When this happens, the field lines can merge or 'reconnect' across the boundary. In other words, closed magnetic field lines that start and finish at the Earth's surface in opposite hemispheres can be opened so that one end stays fixed to the Earth while the other extends outwards into the solar wind. Since the solar wind is constantly streaming away from the Sun, the newly-opened magnetic field line is dragged and stretched away from the Earth. Therefore, because of the process of magnetic reconnection at the dayside boundary, the Earth's dipolar magnetic field is stretched out on the planet's nightside to form a long magnetic tail that points away from the Sun. If the Earth's magnetic field was continuously being peeled away and dragged into the tail, eventually there would be no field left on the dayside of the planet. However, a process in the tail periodically acts to reduce the amount open magnetic field in the tail and return closed field to the dayside - this process is magnetic reconnection. By reconnecting two open magnetic field lines a closed magnetic field is produced (like typing together the two loose ends of a piece of elastic). However, the resulting closed field is highly stretched and, just like a stretched elastic band, it contracts back towards the Earth, catapulting some of the magnetospheric plasma Earthward. The reconnection process in the tail is not steady. Generally magnetic field builds up in the tail until some critical point is reached. Somehow, reconnection is triggered and stretched magnetic field is removed from the tail and returned to the Earth. The period when tail field is building is known as the substorm growth phase, while the explosive release of energy in the tail associated with reconnection and the closure of open field lines is known as the substorm expansion phase. However, the processes that cause the triggering of the expansion phase (i.e. that mechanisms that trigger the catapult) remain unclear - it is one of the biggest uncertainties in solar-terrestrial physics. This investigation will use measurements from instruments on spacecraft located in the tail and observations made from the Earth in order to determine the triggering mechanism of magnetospheric substorms.

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