Clayton School of Information Technology

Seminar series for students, Semester 1, 2009

When: Tuesday 12th May, 12noon

Where: Room 135, Building 26.


Topic: “Communications: from Shakespeare to Virtual Reality”


Speaker: Dr. Ronald Pose


We live in a world surrounded by ICT (Information & Communications Technology) artifacts, ostensibly communicating freely, frequently and needlessly, and likewise initiating many computations.  How many of us have thought about what it means to communicate, what is required to enable communication, how one can know if communication has been achieved?  How many of us have thought about the nature of computation, what it means to compute, what is required to enable computation to take place?  You are purportedly studying Computer Science or some related discipline, and no doubt believe you have been using computers communicating via complex telecommunications networks exchanging vast quantities of bits very quickly.


I contend that while enormous energy has been expended in shuffling countless ones and zeroes around the world, that there has not been a significant real increase in the amount of communication.  I also contend that in many ways we draw an artificial distinction between communication and computation, and that it is possible to think of computation in terms of communication, and that it is possible to think of communication in terms of computation.


In this talk I will explore that nature of communication involving humans, computers, and even the notion of humans communicating with computers.  In so doing we will have to confront the difficult question of what we mean b communication and what is actually communicated.  We will be forced to face the notion that information, or whatever we choose to call what is being communicated, is physical, and hence irrespective of its ontological status, will require energy to effect its transfer.  When we look at computation, as might be performed in a machine we call a computer, when instructed by a human we may call a programmer, we see a very similar, almost indistinguishable process.  We will also be forced to examine the notion of representation and language, since communication is via language, not necessarily textual, and what is being communicated is invariably a representation of something. I will begin with human to human communication such as Shakespeare attempting to communicate with us via his sonnets, demonstrate that the same essential elements of communication are present when using modern communication technology, and don't change in essence even when we graduate to virtual reality technologies.


Those that are interested in the mechanics of virtual reality technology and its applications and relationships to other forms of HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) may like to attend a lecture I am giving at 2PM on Tuesday 2 June 2009, in H3, entitled 'Is Virtual Reality the ultimate HCI for all computer usage, work and play.'


Biographical Note:


Ronald Pose completed his B.Sc.(hons) degree and his Ph.D. at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.  His Ph.D. involved the design and implementation of a novel capability-based operating system kernel, "Password-Capability System", and the design and construction of tightly-coupled multiprocessor hardware with novel addressing mechanisms to support it.


In 1987 Ronald Pose was employed as a Research Scientist at Telecom Australia Research Laboratories where he worked on the application of public key cryptography and authentication and certification techniques. He joined the Department of Computer Science of Monash University in 1988.  There he has supervised a number of research students with whom he has worked on a wide variety of research projects including neural networks, genetic algorithm function optimization, network routing, low latency virtual reality address recalculation pipeline display system, self-reconfigurable computer systems, computer security, and wireless ad hoc networks.


Dr. Pose's current research interests include virtual reality and telerobotics technology, computer architecture, parallel and

distributed computer systems architecture, secure operating systems, reconfigurable computer systems architecture, multiprocessor interconnection networks, wireless ad hoc networks and spread-spectrum microwave communication technology, computer system security, and human-computer interaction.


In 2006 Ronald Pose gave up his battle to maintain academic standards of the Monash computer science curriculum, and is now an honorary research fellow.