MSc in Human-Computer Interaction and Artificial Intelligence

MSc in Human-Computer Interaction and Artificial Intelligence

Post by Mike Callagh » Sun, 26 Feb 1995 00:24:26

M.Sc. in Human-Computer Interaction and Artificial Intelligence

Full-time (1 year) or Part-time (2 - 4 years)

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Department of Computer Science,
De Montfort University,
United Kingdom

This course enables computer scientists to specialise in the areas of
human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence.

The study of human-computer interaction has gained prominence over recent years
and major producers of systems recognise the impact that the quality of the
user interface has on the success of their products. At the same time, users'
expectations of the usability of interfaces has continued to rise, fuelled by
the continued spread of first-generation graphical user interfaces. Artificial
intelligence is currently going through a very exciting phase, in which a
number of more recent developments such as artificial neural networks and
evolutionary computation are the subject of intense research and increasing
commercial application. Human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence
come together in aspects of cognitive psychology and in adaptive systems, both
of which are covered in the course. In this way, the course which provides an
advanced integrated treatment of its two main themes.

The MSc runs in a flexible part-time mode as well as a full-time mode, to
enable companies to send employees on the course during their normal
employment. You can transfer between the full-time and part-time modes in order
to adapt your study pattern to your personal circumstance.

Software resources used on the course include advanced user interface
management systems and toolkits, and advanced artificial programming language
environments. To make optimum use of these systems, students have access to
some of the most modern and powerful workstations available.

Who is the Masters degree for?
A graduate of the course should be capable of playing a leading role within a
systems development team as a specialist responsible for the design,
implementation and evaluation of effective, usable computer systems. Such
graduates should be influential in company research and development in the
areas of human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence. Some graduates
go on to full-time research and register for a PhD in one of the areas related
to the course.

An applicant will normally be required to have a good honours degree (or
equivalent) in computer science or involving a substantial element of computer

Applicants whose qualifications are below honours degree standard or who are
from other disciplines but who have extensive industrial experience may
exceptionally be admitted to the course.

What does the course cover?
The course comprises a taught component and a project component. The taught
component comprises eight modules and aims to provide, both within and between
subjects, a balance between the human and computer system perspectives.

The project component is a substantial piece of independent work which draws on
and demonstrates understanding of the material within the taught component. A
number of recent projects have resulted in published research papers.

The taught modules take place over two 15 week Semesters. A full module
comprises 30 hours class time, made up of lectures, tutorials and laboratory
periods. Additional private study may include the use of student-centred
learning material, library and Internet resources. Students must study all
elements of the course (there are no optional elements).

Semester 1 Modules

Advanced Programming and Object Oriented Design
     rovides a platform for the development of skills necessary to construct
     applications using advanced programming formalisms. The object-oriented
     design component provides a rigorous treatment of this paradigm, which is
     currently so important in the construction of interactive systems.
Cognitive Psychology and Ergonomics
     Provides the basis for understanding the capabilities and limitations of
     the human being from a psychological and physiological viewpoint and
     current theories which provide an explanation of these.
Artificial Intelligence
     Provides the knowledge and skills used to construct programs which embody
     human-like problem-solving capabilities. The emphasis is on the
     increasingly important theory and application of neural net and
     evolutionary techniques.
Interface Architectures and Tools
     Focusses on the particular relevance of the object-oriented perspective in
     the design of interface software toolkits and on trends in the nature of
     high-level interface design and construction tools.

Semester 2 Modules

Research Methodology
     Provides the knowledge and skills required to carry out a critical
     appraisal of literature concerning an area of knowledge associated with
     the course, and provides a grounding in qualitative and quantitative
     research methods. This provides an important foundation for the project.
Knowledge-Based and Adaptive Systems
     Encourages a synthesis of HCI and artificial intelligence techniques in
     examining the theory and practice of developing systems which adapt to
     their environment e.g. the use of user models in adaptive interfaces, and
     the application of AI techniques in adaptive robotics.
User Interface Design and Evaluation
     Provides the skills and knowledge necessary to build effective and usable
     interfaces to computer systems based on knowledge of the tasks which the
     user will perform at the interface. The tools covered in the module
     Interface Architectures and Tools will be used as a platform for
     supporting the design and evaluation process.
Hypermedia and Virtual Reality
     Provides knowledge to build interfaces to systems which present the user
     with information in several different media, and which, in the case of
     virtual reality, make use of the latest developments in multi-modal I/O

How is the course organised?
Full-time mode

The full-time mode of the course lasts for 52 weeks.

Semester 1 - Four taught modules (see above)
Semester 2 - Four taught modules (see above)
Semester 3 - Major individual project

Part-time mode

The most common part-time route takes two years. Academic study at the
University occupies one day per week during each academic year (i.e. Semesters
1 and 2 each year). In addition, the project will normally be carried out at
the student's workplace during the second year. Part-time students study the
same modules alongside the full-time students, but do only half the modules one
year, and half the next. In fact, the maximum time available to complete all
the components of the course is four years from initial enrolment.

The normal order in which the modules are studied in the part-time mode is as

Year 1
     Advanced Programming and Object Oriented Design
     Interface Architectures and Tools
     User Interface Design and Evaluation
     Hypermedia and Virtual Reality

Year 2
     Cognitive Psychology and Ergonomics
     Artificial Intelligence
     Research Methodology
     Knowledge-Based and Adaptive Systems

Full-time course dates 1995-1996
Course begins: Monday September 25th, 1995
Course ends: Friday September 20th, 1996

Assessment is by three components: coursework, examinations, and project. Award
of the Msc may be at Pass or Distinction level.

Fees and Awards
The course is approved by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research
Council for the award of Advanced Course Studentships to selected full-time UK

For those not in receipt of an award, the fees are as follows:

     Full-time mode (UK and EU students) - 2500 UK pounds (approx)
     Full-time mode (non-EU students) - 6000 UK pounds (approx)

How to apply
Application forms are available from the address given below. You will need to
supply two supporting references with your completed application. For recent
graduates, at least one referee should be a tutor from your degree course.

For further information contact...

The Admissions Tutor
MSc Human-Computer Systems
c/o Bhavana Patel
School of Computing Sciences
De Montfort University
The Gateway
Leicester LE1 9BH

Tel: Leicester (0116) 2577456
Fax: (0116) 2541891