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The Centre for Creative Computing (CCC) aims to make computers serve human creativity better, through integration and development of hardware, software and communications technologies.

The CCC uses predominantly transdisciplinary methodologies, because computing cuts across all research disciplines. Creative Computing projects, therefore, typically involve collaboration between two or more disciplinary entities or individuals.

The centre was established in 2014 and was the first university-wide research centre at Bath Spa University, created as part of a strategic initiative by the Vice-Chancellor to engage fully with current and future developments in digital technology. Creativity is recognised as occurring in all fields and disciplines. Increasing our understanding of how and why this creativity may be embedded in computational systems is a key contribution of the centre.

Research themes

Theories of Creative Computing

The objective of this theme is to consolidate Creative Computing as a distinct cognate area, by understanding to what extent it overlaps with similar areas such as computational creativity, HCI and AI, while at the same time establishing a set of definitions and characteristics that set it apart from those.

The effort combines theoretical research into human and machine creativity with philosophical studies of creative computing, and mathematical and logical experiments. Typical examples include: the development by Professors Hugill and Yang of the programming language PRASCAL, which uses pataphysics to subvert traditional logical structures; the work being done with Professor Fay Weldon on the effects of a switch to digital writing; and the work of PhD students Lu Zhang and Xuan Wang on creative computing environments and poetic analysis respectively. There has also been considerable media impact for this theme, most notably through Professor Hugill’s predictions of “10 jobs of the future”.

Creative Computing Systems

The objective of this theme is to understand and develop systems for creative computing. These include creative approaches to software engineering, big data, AI, cyber security, networking, communications and web technologies.

Typical examples include: the work being done in collaboration with Dr Alison Hems and Black Radley on predictive analysis for museums; various semantic web and big data projects being undertaken with Prof James Hendler; the developing AI transmedia performance project on Robinson Crusoe, with Prof Kate Pullinger, Dr Stephen Gregg and others; work on cyber security in collaboration with Prof Allyson MacVean; and with Dr Delin Jing on “a Research Idea Generation System”.

Creative Computing Applications

This has been the most visible theme of the CC. Its objectives are to disseminate and promote Creative Computing by providing working examples and delivering impact both within and beyond the research community.

Its most successful products to date have been: the ‘London Streets’ application developed by Dr Jerry Fishenden; the BeRTIE application developed by PhD student Sicong Ma in collaboration with Profs Hugill, Yang and the Institute for Education; the digital operas ‘Rossum’s Universal Replicants’ and ‘The Imaginary Voyage’ created by Prof Hugill in collaboration with PhD student Lee Scott, Prof Martin Rieser, the Centre for Opera and Mustic Theatre at University of Sussex, and the Glyndebourne and Mahogany opera companies. Current research includes: a secret project funded by a well-known UK organisation; the Writer’s Portal by Siyan Li.

Partners

We work with many external academic and non-academic partners, including: Aerian Studios; Ark Data Centres; Black Radley; Beijing Union University; Composers Desktop Project; Creative Skills for Life; Hewlett Packard; Kelston Records; Lars Tharp; The Legacy Centre; Mahogany Opera Group; Museum of East Asian Art; Mydex Ltd; Ningbo Institute of Technology; Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications; UCAS; University of Pennsylvania; Warwick University Human Metabolism Research Unit; Voetek Ltd.

We also work with individuals, schools and other research groups in Bath Spa University and encourage academic staff and students in the university to develop their research ideas with us.

Projects

Most CCC projects involve devising bespoke rules for rapid prototyping of new software. This has the advantage that users can realise their ideas quickly. The rules may be devised from scratch according to user requirements, or may be adaptations of existing rules. The rules will map concepts onto other sets of concepts, and are always new or previously unexplored.

The prototypes produced by the CCC may also be useful for demonstrating part of the system for larger projects. However, they are normally not industrial strength in the first instance. In order to develop them to industrial strength, the CCC will typically find a commercial partner or create a spin-out company to carry forward the project.

The CCC is based at Corsham Court, where the facilities include a high-spec computer lab, a media room including green-screen, a concert hall with recording capabilities and a grand piano, a library and a range of seminar and meeting rooms. There are also facilities at Newton Park campus, including a broadcast-standard TV/film studio, a gaming suite and hardware hacking tools.

Contact

The CCC has a cohort of PhD students, and encourages further applications. It is also interested in research collaborations with industrial and enterprise partners: please contact to make an enquiry.

 

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