Research

Nuno’s research interests lie in the application of models to software, system and service design in particular for the domains of environmental sustainability and participatory culture. He published more than 100 papers in international journals and conferences with referee in the areas of software engineering, human-computer interaction and service science. His research vision is to leverage the Atlantic and peripheral location of Portugal, in the intersections between Europe, Africa and the Americas, to build a platform for scientific collaboration between researchers interested in biodiversity, climate change, engineering, material science and design innovation. This requires conducting unique research experiments that combine different disciplines to understand and tackle major global phenomena like flows and migrations, global warming, sustainability and the preservation of biodiversity. His research goal for the next ten years is to use novel sensing and modelling approaches capable of promoting symbiotic relationship between cyber-physical and ecological systems that generate real-time information about global challenges, and enable the prototype of innovative ways to use information and communication technologies to engage citizens, raise awareness, motivate change, and promote solutions to global problems.
Nuno’s research was recognized through the participation in many international research projects and keynotes in international conferences including the Portuguese Contact Center Association (2011), the 12th Brazilian HCI/Design Conference (ErgoDesign - 2012), the Airport Council International EUROPE’s Conference Portugal (2014) and the 3rd Forum of the Ultraperipheral Regions of Europe, Belgium (2014) and WIRE 2015 – Week for Innovative Regions in Europe, Riga, Latvia (2015). Nuno is reviewer and evaluator for international research projects including Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) Belgium (since 2012), the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Switzerland (since 2013) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) United Kingdom (since 2015).


Environmental Sustainability

In the urban age, where more than half of the population lives in cities, economic prosperity and quality of life depends on the potential to support both complex underlying infrastructures and rich interactions between humans and the surrounding environment. HCI research embodies knowledge and expertise that will be crucial to addressing the design, interaction, and usage issues surrounding sustainable technologies and practice, in particular their positive impact on future generations. The overarching research goal of contributing to the development of sustainable behaviours, practices and products/services is particularly salient given the isolated, untouched nature of Madeira. With colleagues at M-ITI I am actively involved in the development of resource monitoring solutions, the design of novel sustainable services and the use of eco-feedback technology to reduce and motivate sustainable behaviour both individually and (via group studies and social network services) in families and communities.

Contributions in this area started with one of the lead CMU Portugal research projects SINAIS that explored how HCI research could raise awareness and promote long-lasting sustainable behavior. This line of research continued and has three major foci (i) the use of sensors and machine learning to monitor and make sense of human behavior [6]; (ii) the application of motivational theory to intentionally influence people’s behavior [7]; and (iii) the use of a design mode of inquiry to address “wicked problems,” such as sustainability [8]. Two completed PhD students worked on eco-feedback in the wild (Filipe Quintal) and motivational theory for families (Mary Barreto). Two PhD students are working on deployment and evaluation of NILM (Lucas Pereira) and annotation of datasets for energy research (Hông-Ân Cao). The interdisciplinary work was awarded an SME Instrument Horizon 2020 grant for the startup PRSMA.com created with PhD Students for which the authors is Chief Scientist. Collaborations in this area of research include Profs. Jen Mankoff and Mario Berges at Carnegie Mellon University, Prof. Friedemann Mattern at ETH Zurich, Prof. Enrico Costanza at University College London and Prof. Johannes Schoning from U. Hasselt.


Participatory Culture

Contributions in this area fall under the development, deployment and evaluation of technology interventions for public use, engagement and awareness in participatory culture in which private individuals do not act as consumers only but also as contributors or producers. One example of this research is provided on the demo in [9 ] where several art based eco-feedback concepts conceived around the potential of emotional attachment between people and the natural environment. Many other examples of this research work in the intersections with art, design and creativity emerged in collaboration with Valentina Nisi. In the domain of public displays [10] summarizes several studies on a public interactive storytelling system addressing findings and limitations in regards of its participatory nature, findings further seek to go beyond a traditional technology-centered approach while examining the relationship between individual, object, and public spaces.


Service and Experience Design

The implications of modeling the interactive aspects of software systems lead to further collaborations in tool support and service science and in particular service design which was the main topic of two industry funded research projects lead by Nuno Nunes as main PI with NOS (formerly Zon) and CGI (formerly Logica / Edinfor). Both projects explored the practical implications of service engineering and design which are summarized in [5] discussing how to represent the different aspects of customer experience in a holistic diagrammatic representation that combines multidisciplinary contributions to represent experience elements enabling the systematization of complex information in service design and engineering. This work follows previous contributions [4] on the understanding of how practitioners work and used modeling tools, offering insight into how developers can build human-centered tools. Collaborators in this area include Prof. Lia Patrício from U. Porto, Profs. David Garlan, Jodi Forlizzi and John Zimmerman from Carnegie Mellon University and Prof. Ray Fisk from Texas State University. One completed PhD student partially supervised worked on this area (Nelson Pinho), one ongoing PhD student is exploring is working on the integration of service design with software development (Rui Alves).


Bridging software engineering and human-computer interaction

The main topic addressed in the PhD research [1999-2001] in collaboration with Imperial College London, Intelligent Systems and Networks Group and IBM Ease of Use. Contributions address several implications of using object-oriented modeling languages (and in particular the UML) to model the user interface of software based systems. [1] describes an extension to the UML including the semantic and syntactic properties for modeling the various aspects of interactive systems and proposes a new conceptual architecture expressing how the structure of use impacts the underlying software architecture. [2] presents the overall method and discusses how it can be used in human-centered software engineering in the small, it was the first publication of Portuguese affiliation in the flagship journal IEEE Software and still to date the author is responsible for three of the five papers in this journal from a Portuguese affiliation. This research was used in teaching HCI and SE courses and is referenced in Ian Sommerville’s Software Engineering textbook and was the basis of the authors collaboration with Larry Constantine and Rick Kazman from SEI. Two completed PhD students worked in this topic (Pedro Campos and Leonel Nóbrega), one ongoing PhD student is exploring the implication for organizational engineering (Pedro Valente).