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Anasol Peña-Rios Posts

PhD Thesis abstract selected for publication at the IEEE Intelligent Informatics Bulletin

The abstract of my PhD thesis entitled “Exploring Mixed Reality in Distributed Collaborative Learning Environments“, was selected for publication at the IEEE Intelligent Informatics (August 2017 issue).

My PhD research explored possible interactions using a novel mixed reality framework (computational model, conceptual architecture and proof-of-concept implementation) that enabled geographically dispersed learners to perform co-creative teamwork using a computer-based prototype comprising hardware and software components. 

The thesis reported on evaluations performed with students from eight different universities in six countries, namely China, Malaysia, Mexico, UAE, USA and UK; providing an important insight to the role of social interactions in distance learning, and demonstrating that the inclusion of a physical component made a positive difference to students’ learning experience, supporting the use of mixed reality objects in educational activities. 

This thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science by the University of Essex, was defended on 15th January, 2016. In this research I was co-supervised by Prof. Vic Callaghan and Dr. Michael Gardner. 

Read more about it here.

BT wins IEEE Computational Intelligence Society Outstanding Organisation Award 2017

Research teams from the University of Essex and British Telecom were awarded the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society 2017 Outstanding Organisation Award for industrial applications of AI to field force management at the 2017 IEEE International Conference on Fuzzy Systems (FUZZ-IEEE).

The University of Essex team included Professor Hani Hagras, Dr Anasol Pena-Rios and Emmanuel Ferreyra. The BT team was led by Professor Gilbert Owusu, and included Dr Anne Liret, Dr Ahmed Mohammed and Andy Starkey.

Official IEEE announcement:

University of Essex and BT won Global Telecoms Business (GTB) Innovation Award

Research teams from the University of Essex and British Telecom won a Global Telecoms Business (GTB) Innovation Award for their joint work in applying artificial intelligence technologies and novel mixed reality systems for improving the deployment of engineers to deliver service.

The University of Essex team included Professor Hani Hagras, Andrew Starkey and Dr Anasol Pena-Rios. The BT team was led by Professor Gilbert Owusu and Dr Sid Shakya.

Full press release at:

University of Essex’ Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Awards 2016

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) is a three-way partnership between a business, an academic institution and a graduate. The central objective is to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base.

The 2016 Essex KTP awards were presented to the winners on 6th December by Prof Heather Laurie, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research. Dr John Woods (CSEE) won the Best Academic award. Dr Anasol Pena Rios (CSEE) was awarded the Best KTP Associate award and Signal Media was awarded the best KTP partnership award.

Full press release at:

Invited talk at Tommy Flowers Institute Launch

The Tommy Flowers Institute was launched on September 29, 2016 by British Telecom and partners to develop the ICT research leaders of the future. Based at Adastral Park near Ipswich, the Institute will support doctoral and post-doctoral researchers by exposing them to strategic industry challenges through a programme of conferences, targeted networking events and tailored support.

The aim is for the Institute to be the major national centre for supporting the development of future leaders in ICT research by 2020. It will do this by bringing researchers together to collaborate across multiple academic disciplines – and by encouraging a seamless link between academia and industry.

More info at:

© Anasol Pena-Rios 2019.