My research interests are in bioinformatics and in computer science education, particularly development and evaluation of on-line resources.
My primary interest is in detecting patterns in DNA and RNA sequences and structures.
Work done with Ross Hall uses Fourier analysis to detect features in both coding and non-coding DNA. See abstract of our paper in Bioinformatics. More recent work involves detection of non-coding RNA families.
Work done in collaboration with Lloyd Allison and Trevor Dix at Monash University uses an approximate repeat model of DNA to discover patterns of interest. Text compression techniques are used to assess how well the model fits the sequence. See abstracts of our papers in Computers and Chemistry, Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology, and BMC Bioinformatics 2007.
I have written a software tool for automated detection of outbreaks of food-borne gastroenteritis that is currently in routine use in the National Enteric Pathogen Surveillance Scheme. A study showing the effectiveness of this tool, in reported in our paper in Epidemiology and Infection.
One focus of my work in computing education has been the development of the animation learning tool Algorithms in Action (see below). A more recent development is e-Bridges for Computer Science , a web-based framework for presenting and cross-referencing computer science resources.
A current interest is evaluation of open-ended educational software using agent-oriented modelling techniques (see below).
A preliminary report in ITiCSE99 is available, and a more recent report at SIGCSE 2002. However, it is much more fun just to run the AIA demonstration. The full system is available to educators on request.
My keynote presentation "Multimedia in the Computer Science Classroom", delivered at the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges of the Northeastern Conference, Providence, Rhode Island (USA) in April 2003, addresses more general issues in educational multimedia, using algorithm animation as a case study.
The PEDANT framework provides a general method for evaluating learning tools from an educational perspective. Based on agent-oriented modelling techniques, the framework supports automation of evaluation of educational software.
We have used AIA as a test application for testing the PEDANT ideas and framework. More about the intersection of the AIA and PEDANT projects can be found in our paper presented at ITiCSE05 (Portugal), a presentation at the Biomedical Multimedia Unit in 2005, and our papers presented at ED-MEDIA 2006 (USA), ED-MEDIA 2007 (USA), and ED-MEDIA 2008 (Vienna).
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