People of ACM European Chapters - Josephina Antoniou

November 21, 2017

Can you briefly describe your own line of research and how you became interested in this area?

I have been a researcher in communications networking and user experience modelling for 15 years. My research uses many theoretical tools such as game theory, graph theory and Bayesian networks to model arising situations in different types of communication networks (5G networks, the Internet of Things, etc). The focus of modelling is the user experience when interacting with these different types of technologies as a customer, a content provider, a service provider, etc. The human aspect is considered in many cases by new mathematical models that investigate the motivation towards different decisions (user actions, technological decisions, rules of communication, etc).

I have recently extended my interest in user experience with technology to include responsible behavior and ethical aspects of innovation. My interest in this area evolved gradually when as a Computer Science and Mathematics graduate I came across many such examples where the human element played a significant role in the success of specific technological products, services and solutions. As this became more evident in the field of communication networking, which was my focus while studying for my Master’s degree, I decided to explore modelling and technology for my PhD, and have been fascinated by the field ever since. I now continue to propagate knowledge and learning in communications networking and user experience modelling as an advisor for new PhD students (and other researchers) in this area, exploring some interesting models relevant to cloud computing, the Internet of Things, and Big Data.

In your area of research, what recent advance/emerging subfield will yield important advances in the years ahead?

Communications and networking technologies have evolved significantly in the past few years with new questions in the area of user experience modelling triggered by the increasing use of cloud computing, wireless and mobile networks and the emergence of 5G technology, a popular current research topic. These new technological capabilities have given much more power to the user as a software and hardware product consumer but also as a producer of content and as a service provider. At the same time, technology is becoming more and more intrusive with security and ethical issues continuously surfacing.

Nevertheless, intrusiveness can prove beneficial in several health- and wellbeing-related scenarios. The ethics surrounding the participation of users in this fast-growing technological world, as well as the optimal way to use technology to assist in improving living conditions and human experience overall, is quite challenging. However, the answers that this field of study can provide in the years ahead are expected to be quite significant, as they may have an impact on technological evolution as it relates to human quality of living.

Can you tell us a little about your chapter?

The ACM-W Cyprus Chapter was founded nearly five years ago by a group of professional women in computing from two universities: UCLan Cyprus (School of Sciences) and Cyprus University of Technology (Department of Multimedia and Graphic Arts). The chapter has about 20 professional members from several universities and companies across the island of Cyprus, and many student members from these universities as well.

Additionally, the chapter has been quite active during this time in supporting many successful events. Selected events organized successfully for the first time in Cyprus include:

  • WomenPower Fair (2015 and 2016): The fair aimed to ”inspire, empower and link women mentors and mentees”, and focused on the current state of gender-related issues in Cyprus as well as the challenges that women are faced with, in terms of social, career and personal development. The fair featured a number of women in key positions and roles within the Cyprus political, scientific, academic and trade scenes.
  • Cyprus Pen-Test Competition (2015, 2016, and 2017): This annual Ethical Hacking competition was launched in 2015 and has become the biggest annual information security event of the island. The primary goal of this event is to engage security enthusiasts in the fascinating world of ethical hacking, and, encourage more women to join this popular area of research, which has been traditionally male-dominated.
  • ACM ICPC International Programming Contest (2017): an annual event organized all over the world, but 2017 was the first time a local competition was organized in Cyprus, allowing teams from Cyprus universities to compete in programming problems in several languages (Java, C++, Python). The winning team was sponsored to participate in the regional ACM programming competition (organized in Bucharest for 2017). By participating in the competition, students had the opportunity to get an additional employability advantage by showing their programming skills in a university-level competition that featured all universities on the island.

Overall, the aim of the Cyprus ACM-W chapter is to encourage participation in computing and technology in terms of studies and careers, and furthermore encourage female participation in the field. The events always promote significant skills that help young students and professionals learn more and acquire knowledge that helps them to become more attractive in the national and international job market.

What advice would you give to a younger colleague just starting out in your field?

What has been a driver for me was the joy I have when researching and especially when I have a chance to share my work with others. Chairing the ACM-W Cyprus Chapter has been a privilege, as it has given me the opportunity to assist and inspire young professionals to explore the world of computing research and innovation. The events we organized have brought young professionals together to enjoy learning in nontraditional ways and to realize that they belong in a fascinating profession.

My advice is to keep working, learning and participating, and to keep yourself motivated to do so. Even when things seem harder professionally or research-wise, there is always a next step that you can take. I would also like to invite people to participate in our events, join the chapter and get to know us and our extended computing family!

Josephina Antoniou is an Assistant Professor in Computing at the University of Central Lancashire, Cyprus (UCLan). At UCLan she teaches courses in several areas, including Computer Security, Introduction to Networking, Network Routing, and Network Management. Her publications include co-authoring (with Andreas Pitsillides) Game Theory in Communication Networks: Cooperative Resolution of Interactive Networking Scenarios.

Antoniou is the Chair of the ACM-W Cyprus Chapter and Member of the Cyprus Scientific and Technical Chamber (ETEK) Field of Electronic Engineers/Engineers in Computer Science.