Sunday, July 19, 2015

Building the super search engine - BBC Click Video

Building the super search engine - BBC Click Video 5 minutes

Search engines can index the web but they lack an understanding of what the user is looking for.
Now companies are attempting to connect words in meaningful ways, helping to provide the information that we really need to know.

BBC Click's Spencer Kelly reports.

Monday, January 26, 2015

NHS Citizen 29 and 30 January 2015

NHS Citizen Design Workshop London

NHS England 29 and 30 January 2015 - or Watch and take part online -

NHS Citizen Design Workshop Bristol - 

NHS England 24th and 25th July 2014 - 


NHS ENGLAND BOARD TAKES ACTION ON ASSEMBLY ISSUES and NHS CITIZEN - - NHS England board agreed to implement NHS Citizen...

Related Link

BBC News - NHS should welcome 'citizen whistleblowers' - - Healthwatch England - Why NHS should listen to 'citizen whistleblowers'

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bristol Design Workshop - NHS Citizen Conference 24th and 25th July



To design something that connects the large number of public interested in NHS with the small number of Civil Service staff.
Discover – How you can get involved in discussion
Gather – When we want to say what needs to be discussed, gather people together. Solutions, Recommendations – how things can be better.
Assembly – Meeting every 6 months – discussion with board there amongst people to discuss the issues that have been discovered and gathered.
Presenting technology, interacting with citizens and with designers of the technology.


Bit of the whole system that connects people together. Including finding the people that can assist the offline people. Discover is the bit where NHS listens and learns.
Brings all the data together including from within NHS Citizen and from outside. For personal data stores – person decides what data to put on and who to give permission to access the data. Charities and community groups can help to find staff, volunteers, and friends and family who are online – to enable them to put their data and permissions online if they want to.
Community map of people who are on NHS Citizen including how to reach online connector people who can link to the offline people. This could be whole community.
Can be presented as Data Stories – helping people to make sense of data. If people discover a problem, many people may also notice that problem. These can be flagged and gathered – Gather flag.


Related data is data not created in the NHS Citizen system. This is a shared resource inviting people to participate. It isn’t taking data or surveillance. This is a way of getting data into the Discover system either by direct participation or by searching the web for relevant information to create data stories. Does so via machine learning, natural language processing, and human involvement e.g. data journalists. This is to extract meaning and stories e.g. from Twitter.
This is pulling data from the web and converting it to meaningful information. I suggested pushing the data into the Discover system via such things as Twitter posts with a specific hashtag, texts and emails with a specific subject line. This could encourage people who don’t have computers or want to do this on the fly whilst busy and mobile, or who don’t want to use the Discover system (at least yet).  People using these tools that are outside Discover could receive messages from Discover to confirm their registration or information is accepted and give information about where it has gone in Discover.

NHS Gather

MyDesk – Discussion spaces – Tools for debating and prioritising ideas – To avoid flaming posts displayed as - Left side of window Support idea – Right side Oppose idea. This is a crowdsourcing tool.
The system for these ideas needs to be simple and quick, otherwise people don’t get involved.
Process is –
Exploration – Closing Statements – Move Forward – Locally or Nationally
Could have Community Moderators
Assembly meeting will report back if ideas or problems are being ignored by officials not being accountable. People will be able to search so they know whether to raise a flag or if this has been flagged by others.


This is a 6 monthly meeting where the most important national ideas will be raised and discussed amongst people including the board.
The most important and popular ideas as discovered, gathered, and voted on would go to the Assembly and/or other relevant bodies to resolve them.
Discussion on what are the problems and solutions to ensure inclusion. I raised problems of cuts to libraries, advocacy, support workers, legal aid. Especially for people who don’t have the technology, excluded, poor, and/or don’t know how to use the NHS Citizen technology they are unable to express their views. Solutions I raised include Healthwatch, service user and community groups to provide a ‘bridge’ (someone else mentioned that idea too) A disability advocate raised issue of Equality Impact Assessment.

My Video interview – 2 minutes 19

Bristol Design Workshop- YouTube- was interviewed at this event in Bristol 25th July-

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Stephen Wolfram Wants To Make Computer Language More - Popular Science

I'm going to look into this to see if it's relevant to my idea - New post on my Computing Research blog - MOCHA - Massive Online Collaborative Hierarchical Application - - Semantic Web

Stephen Wolfram Wants To Make Computer Language More Human - - Article and Video 12 minutes - demonstration

"At South By Southwest, programmer and scientist Stephen Wolfram showed off more of his Wolfram Language software."

"Last month, Stephen Wolfram--scientist, founder of Wolfram Research, and the closest thing Big Data has to a rock star--unveiled Wolfram Language, a "symbolic" computer language more than 25 years in the making."

There is a 12 minute video presentation I will watch. This looks like the kind of highly structured search but human language based search that could link with highly structured but human language based code I am working on, in order to provide a collaborative application of related nodes/objects.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

MOCHA - Massive Online Collaborative Hierarchical Application

My new idea based on my PhD research - MOCHA - Massive Online Collaborative Hierarchical Application

I literally dreamt up this idea this morning, writing it down a scrap of paper when I woke. This idea is based on my PhD (links to that below). The idea is for a Semantic Web Hierarchical Programme - run by a search algorithm, which is expanded to provide the services of an interpreter/compiler.

This is a particularly appropriate subject on the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web -

BBC Video-Sir Tim Berners-Lee: Web needs its own Magna Carta - - Sir Tim Berners-Lee on world wide web at 25

BBC- Sir Tim Berners-Lee: World wide web needs bill of rights -  - Berners-Lee seeks web 'Magna Carta' - Video & Article

What I want to research is how to provide structured Semantic Web code information to a web search algorithm. The code would be in a combination of English language and mathematical equations, the same way as I used for my PhD research. The hierarchical aspect of this is that from the root node/page, every other page would have a position in a tree. Each node would contain the following information -

  • A name of the page
  • List of Sub pages if any
  • Equations/Code if any
  • Values if any
This would be scalable to very large trees.

As a simple example we could have page
  • Name - 'Energy'
  • Sub pages - 'Mass' 'Light Speed'
  • Equations - 'Energy = Mass * (Light Speed) Squared
  • Values - Null

Sub pages
  • Name - Mass
  • Sub pages - Null
  • Equations - Null
  • Value - 3 (Kg)

  • Name - Light Speed
  • Sub pages - Null
  • Equations - Null
  • Value - 300,000 (Km/h)

Of course the algorithm would need to deal with units in the long run, but leaving that aside, the algorithm just needs to follow a logical path through each page, and each page points to the next page.

At the end of a branch the algorithm needs to return to the root of the branch and move to the next branch (if any). That algorithm would work for any sized tree (hence would work for massive trees, as was the case for my PhD - 2012).

What would then be possible is to enable a search engine such as that which ranks pages to instead perform this search and calculation. As an example a calculation could be performed and continuously collaboratively refined on the predicted cost of a complex engineering project. Each participant would enter their own data on a page or branch. Whenever their figures or equations change, this would cascade into the overall predicted cost.

I'm going to work on expanding this post and providing updates in this blog until I have enough information to turn this into a paper and/or presentation.

Below are the main links to my previous research that this idea is based on - 

My PhD thesis on University Repository at - User driven modelling: Visualisation & systematic interaction for end-user.

Journal paper JVLC subscription required - - 'User-Driven Modelling: Visualisation & Systematic Interaction for end-user programming'.

Journal paper JVLC open access - - 'User-Driven Modelling: Visualisation & Systematic Interaction for end-user programming'.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Government Digital By Default - Reality Check

Digital exclusion by default

Here is evidence why digital by default will leave people (many of them vulnerable) more vulnerable and excluded.

Lack of Skills amongst public

Digital Intelligence: 16m Brits ‘lack basic web skills’ - - Report by UK digital champion Martha Lane Fox.

Lack of Access Exclusion and Vulnerability

@BBCMarkEaston - 53% of 7.1m UK adults who've NEVER used Internet are disabled, says ONS. Universal Credit will be 'digital by default'. - Seven million Brits 'never used net' - - More than seven million adults in the UK have never been online, official figures say, with the elderly remaining the least connected. Disabled people are three times less likely to get online than people without disability.

Digital by Default harms people.

Lack of Service User Involvement

Public service Mantra - No Decision About Me Without Me! - Where is the progress by DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) and ATOS in provision of fair assessments, IT Systems, Universal Credit and Tax Systems that effect them? Enough Service User Involvement, inclusion of full range of minorities? people with disabilities? 

BBC News - Hospital inspections- This is needed for ATOS/DWP - - Recruit "small army" of doctors, nurses, patients and carers.

Mental health patients contract run by security firm G4S - - Any Service User Involvement in this Decision?

Why people like me agree the WCA is unfair - - people like me and my son have known how unfair the WCA is for months.

Full statement from special rapporteur on housing Raquel Rolnik - - via @guardian - 'Bedroom Tax'

Government claims Welfare Reforms are working - So why won't they undertake Cumulative Impact Assessment - - #WOWPetition

Systematic failures and Institutional Discrimination

BBC News - Brain injury victim's family disgusted at 'work' letter - - man permanent vegetative state after assault.

One-legged man accused of benefit fraud after officials examined wrong leg - - One leg improved the other amputated - guess which leg DWP and CPS checked?

Charities criticise 'flawed' fit for work system | Nursing in Practice - - Half of people with a progressive disease such as multiple sclerosis have been told they will recover enough to work by the Work Capability Assessment.

Atos fit-to-work assessments branded 'farcical' people with progressive diseases like Parkinson's told they'll RECOVER -

Paul McCauley, left in vegetative state by gang attack, sent letter asking whether he is fit for work | via @MetroUK

£130 to get medical evidence for WCA? - Rethink Mental Illness, the mental health charity: - - Mental Health News.

Secret Cuts 6: How are those with mental health problems treated by Atos? - Complaints about work capability assessment.

Whistleblower tells the inside story of Atos - - via @DailyMirror - Mark Thomas - and - I’ve had a fistful of IDS.

Written off by Atos - I might as well die: The desperate letters from benefit cuts victims - - via @DailyMirror - Horror stories from readers.

BBC News - Basic rights of mentally ill 'violated' - - because of a shortage of beds in psychiatric units, MPs say.

Mentally ill patients sectioned unnecessarily just to gain access to a hospital bed - - Chair of Health Select Committee.

Proof that ATOS expect people with incurable conditions like cerebral palsy to "get better" -  via @ThomasPride

Today 11th September Jim Paterson put forward the  idea that ATOS tests people more often than necessary, including for incurable medical conditions that will not improve or will get worse. The incentive he mentioned is that they are paid per assessment. I think he has a point that this incentive skews their work.

To put it mildly many people with disabilities are not feeling empowered by the system, nor by its direction of change!

Top-Down design causing the usual failures

Many links tweeted by

“I know why Universal Credit IT is failing” John Seddon message for @margarethodge -  #tVM - This analysis is absolutely right and goes straight to the core issue.

How to fix Universal Credit- cut out the IT crowd via @Telegraph - - Work and Pensions Secretary has blamed his department’s officials for the initial teething problems. - "Since people have so many different experiences and circumstances constructing an IT system that will embrace them all is doomed to failure. So why not have the single UC, which is the good bit, and recognise that it is best implemented by people, not computers? As John Seddon, the systems guru, has argued in a bid to get the public sector to listen 'computers are terrible at absorbing variety – and taxation, credits and benefits are problems with wide variety.'

Seddon sees UC as another Whitehall plan obsessed with cost that will actually be more expensive when it all goes wrong than giving claimants someone to talk to who will deal with their problems straight away. Online services that are too complex merely take longer, frustrate claimants and add more cost. Seddon says these would be far better delivered face-to-face by benefit offices and the savings that IT makes in staff costs are illusory.

'Citizen-centred services have been able to cut their operating costs and cope with rising demand,' says Seddon . 'They demonstrate that good service is, actually, cheaper. The people who have developed these outstanding services could deliver the universal credit in months, without a massive investment in IT.'

Will anyone listen to this good advice and stop seeing digital as the only way to do business in government?"

"One of the revelations in the NAO report is that the so-called reset team has proposed that this should be abandoned: instead of digital by default, the UC programme should be 'digital as appropriate'."

Iain Duncan Smith put his faith in new leadership of Universal credit. This is not how big IT projects succeed. They succeed when users are staff are the main drivers, fully involved and engaged.

The Government plan to deliver Universal Credit on time and on budget, simply by increasing the budget and putting back the date. It will still fail.

Bob Marshall ‏@flowchainsensei1 -
"In command-and-control organisations, the ILLUSION of control is much more comforting - and hence valuable - than any actual control."

Universal credit:guaranteed to fail? - via @guardian will not be able to deal with human variety-try service by humans? - Experts predicted failure from start 2011!

BBC News - Universal credit: What went wrong? - At-a-glance: What went wrong.

"Of £303m spent so far on IT, only £162m deemed to be fit to be capitalised as an asset.  " DWP writes off millions of pounds on Universal Credit IT, damning NAO report reveals. @ComputerWeekly

“@SysThinkReview: NAO: 'Universal Credit: early progress.' ” > points 23 and 24, carry on regardless...

David Cameron's £2.4bn universal credit project riddled with problems -  @guardian £34m wasted on failed IT programmes

Universal credit: Iain Duncan Smith blames civil servants for IT failings - - rare step of publicly blaming civil servants.

DWP drops agile from flagship government software project- Public Sector IT: - drops scheme to avert software disasters.

- and did DWP ever embrace the agile approach anyway, feedback is no!

Universal Credit? Universal DISCREDIT, more like, say insiders - - Government sources -' reveal - total disarray'

BBC News - Universal credit: National roll-out delayed, claims Labour - - hit by fresh delays.

BBC News - DWP 'chaos' to cost £1.4bn, says Labour's Liam Byrne - - Iain Duncan Smith has lost control of spending.

Prepare to add HS2 & Universal Credit to depressing list of fiascos @Telegraph - - Policies ministers stubbornly stuck to.

IDS accuses civil servants of ignoring warnings about Universal Credit - -  Blame game begins over benefits.

What were Iain Duncan Smith's 'welfare reforms' really about? Sue Marsh - - failed & frightened most vulnerable.

Universal Credit crunch: Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reform wastes £34m- so far - ‘weak management & poor governance’

£200m of Universal Credit IT could be scrapped, MPs told - - Computer Weekly.

Even if Tax and Benefit systems each work well (doubtful), they then need to work together in real time!

Lack of Progress in Developing Open Semantic Web Technologies

BBC News - Tim Berners-Lee: Net neutrality 'regulation needed' - - Click - Video and Article.

Has the web developed how Berners - Lee hoped it would? - - BBC News - Click Video - Tim Berners-Lee's invention has gone global.

But Government does not involve people in development of its' IT and Web systems.


If these failures are not addressed these digital by default and other schemes will fail individually and together. Implementers will be unable to do anything other than salvage the best bits from the wreckage.

Monday, August 26, 2013

New blog and continuing this blog

I've started a blog on Mental Health & Service User Representation.1st post-talk I gave on exercise & mental health -

I'll still be carrying on with this blog also. My interest in research and in computing continues, as much as ever.

I'm currently learning C# .net.