SICSA Saltire Emerging Researcher Scheme – Visit at the University of Glasgow

27 September 2022,

by Maximilian Häring, University of Bonn

Do you trust the persons writing the software you use not to have malicious intent? Or the company they work for? The answer is probably „yes“ for most software. How do you judge that? Modern software is built with many software packages from other developers. So, the same questions from above need developers to answer themselves. One part of my research focuses on dependencies between developers in the IT landscape. Thanks to SICSA, I had the chance to visit the University of Glasgow and extend my knowledge.

I visited the SIRIUS Lab from Mohamed Khamis. I met Mohamed at CHI’19 (the biggest HCI conference), and early on, we talked about a research visit to his group. His group works on privacy and security research in AR/VR. My research visit allowed me to get a new perspective on the challenges that come with these technologies. I could discuss ideas and questions with members inside and outside the group at the University of Glasgow. I also made a few connections to other universities (Bristol and Edinburgh) in the UK. The discussion with fellow researchers allowed me to learn more about the privacy and security research community. It was constructive to see a different research group’s inner works and profit from their university’s context, e.g., the university regularly hosts speakers from other institutes (Sameer Patil gave a talk about stopping the spread of misinformation)

During my time, I also could utilize the setting of Glasgow, e.g., I attended a meetup of open source enthusiasts and developers. In general, Glasgow and the population have a different culture of using technology in their everyday life than Bonn. The trip helped me sharpen my research profile and get a bigger picture of the academic world. I made very interesting contacts for collaboration in the further process of my projects.

The Open Source Summit happened at the end of my visit. On my way home, I stopped there (in Dublin) and had the chance to talk to more practitioners and their situations. Seeing where the industry is currently going gives new perspectives on the questions I try to answer in my research.

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