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Mark Ashdown

Research

History

I now work at Google in London on the cient-side of search and Google Now on Android.

I was a technical consultant at Thales Research and Technology UK, in Reading, England, from 2008 to 2012. Thales has 68,000 employees in 50 countries. In 2008, it was the 498th largest company in the world according to Fortune's Global 500 ranking, and was the 11th largest defence company according to the Defense News Top 100. I worked on a variety of projects including computer vision and multimodal user interfaces. I represented TRT-UK as chairman of the Mobile VCE User Interactions programme.

From October 2006 to October 2009 I was funded by the European Union via a Marie Curie Outgoing International Fellowship. The title of my project was 'Distributed crisis management using remote collaboration technologies'. I spent two years, from 2006 to 2008 working at the Humans and Automation Lab at MIT, which is headed by Missy Cummings. During the return phase of the fellowship, worked at Thales Research and Technology in the UK.

From April 2004 to July 2006 I was working under Yoichi Sato at the Sato Laboratory which is a research group at the University of Tokyo Institute of Industrial Science. I was funded by two postdoctoral fellowships from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. I mostly worked on projector calibration - steerable projectors and photometric calibration. I also did some work on head tracking.

From October 2003 to March 2004 I was a research assistant at the University of Cambridge Computer Lab. I was working on web-based intelligent tutoring systems as part of the Intelligent Book project, which is a joint venture between the University of Cambridge Computer Lab and MIT. I worked with Peter Robinson and William Billingsley on the Cambridge side. The MIT side is lead by Hal Abelson.

I submitted my PhD thesis to the University of Cambridge Computer Lab in September 2003 and received the degree in March 2004. While I was at the Computer Lab I was a member of the Rainbow Research Group and Peter Robinson was my PhD supervisor. I was funded by Thales Research and Technology UK, a company that supports the Thales Group and develops sensing and communications technology for commercial and military applications. I did most of the work at the Computer Lab, although the second instance of the hardware was assembled at Thales which is also where the user testing was done. The tabletop display I created during my PhD research was handed over to Thales, and, with some design work on the hardware by PDR, became the nuVa desk. This gave rise to the Virtual Collaboration Solutions (VCS) group at Thales Research and Technology. In January 2008 the nuVa desk won an iF Product Design Award in the Computers category. The iF Awards are considered one of the most prestigious international design awards.

I branched off into the area of calibrating projector-camera systems with some work a Hewlett-Packard with Rahul Sukthankar, and have continued that work with Jim Rehg and Matt Flagg from Georgia Tech - see the paper in CVPR 2004 in the publications section.

For my BA in Computer Science I created a program for designing stained glass windows called Vitrigraph. My dissertation on this topic is available in the list of publications.

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