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Research Areas

1. Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)

  • Human Factors and Interaction Design of ICTs
  • Usability, Usable Security, User Research, (Participatory) ideation and iterative prototyping
  • Social Computing, Technology and the cultural domain - “Culture over IP”
  • Ubiquitous and mobile HCI
  • Computer Supported Cooperative World

If you are interested in "Praktika" or Bachelor/Master-Theses in the Area of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), please contact: Oliver Hödl (oliver.hoedl@univie.ac.at), Svenja Schröder (svenja.schroeder@univie.ac.at), Christian Löw (christian.loew@univie.ac.at)!

2. Networks and Network Security

  • Internet of Things / Internet of People
  • AAA - Authentication, Authorization, Accounting in IoT ecosystems
  • Decentralized security mechanisms (blockchain, trust, transparency, privacy)
  • (Computer) Networks --- design, operation, and use

If you are interested in "Praktika" or Bachelor/Master-Theses in the Area of Networks and Network Security, please contact: Nemanja Ignjatov (nemanja.ignjatov@univie.ac.at), Albert Rafetseder (albert.rafetseder@univie.ac.at)!


-- Open Thesis Topics

The following list contains currently open thesis topics in the area of Cooperative Systems. Should you have an own idea for a potential thesis which you think might fit the research interests of our group, do not hesitate to contact us directly.

List of Topics

Smart Subtitles App: Opera.Guru

Opera.Guru is an application suite to provide subtitles for live opera performances. (see www.opera.guru for details) The existing application contains a smartphone app (Android/iOS) and a web-based CMS. The task of this thesis is to develop a new web app in addition to the existing smartphone app. The goal of this extension is to use the Opera.Guru application suite for events other than opera and to access new user groups as well as new application scenarios. Basic programming skills and knowledge with mobile, web and server applications (Xamarin for Android/iOS apps, IIS) are recommended. The work for this thesis will include a user study to evaluate the web app.

See the project's website for further information and finished theses about opera.guru.

Contakt: peter.reichl@univie.ac.at, oliver.hoedl@univie.ac.at 


Logging context and interaction in the Opera(.Guru)

Opera.Guru is an application suite to provide subtitles for live opera performances (see www.opera.guru for details). Opera visitors use a smartphone app (Android/iOS) to get additional information in real-time. Right now only few meta data are gathered during performances. This thesis will implement logging of contextual and interactional data directly in the opera.guru smartphone app (developed with Xamarin). The gathered data will hereby closely follow the model used in the CoConUT toolkit (http://coconut.cosy.wien). The work for this thesis will include a user study to evaluate the logging functionalities and gain a first understanding of the gathered data.

Contakt: svenja.schroeder@univie.ac.at, peter.reichl@univie.ac.at, oliver.hoedl@univie.ac.at



In Zusammenarbeit mit dem Planetarium Wien soll in dieser Arbeit eine Web-Applikation entwickelt werden, die einen kontinuierlichen Live-Stream des Mondes bereitstellt, einschliesslich einer elektro-mechanischen Lösung für die korrekte Ausrichtung und kontinuierliche Nachführung einer Webcam in Abhängigkeit von Mondphase, Auf- und Untergangszeitpunkt etc.

Kontakt: peter.reichl@univie.ac.at


From Short Term to Long Term - Enhancing the Functionalities of a Mobile Field Study Toolkit (Svenja)

The CoConUT Toolkit ("Context Collection for non-stationary User Testing" - coconut.cosy.wien) is a framework for supporting short-term mobile field studies. It features several apps and wearables which collect quantitative and qualitative data about surrounding context and human behavior directly in the field.

So far the framework is mainly aiming at supporting short-term studies (duration up to 2 hours), but not all potential testing scenarios are covered by that. To enhance CoConUT's functionality to support long-term field study support, several adjustments to the existing concept and of course the implementation have to be made.

If you're interested, please contact Svenja Schröder (Svenja.schroeder@univie.ac.at).


CoCoVis: Visualizing Multi-Sensorial Time Series Data (together with Prof. Torsten Möller)

The CoConUT project (coconut.cosy.wien) features smartphone apps which collect sensor data (location, speed, noise, nearby Bluetooth devices, heart rate, etc.) for each participant during mobile field studies. Result is a time series which shows information about the context and possibly interesting events the field study participants encountered („Why did the participant slow down on the corner?“, „Why were so many people present nearby during this time period?“, etc.). These time series data should be visualized and enriched by meaningful analyses to enable exploration and potentially reasoning. 

The data set consists of sensor data which is collected each second during a field study on the participant’s smartphone. The app can be downloaded from the App Store and you can create your own data sets: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=at.ac.univie.cosy.coconut

If you're interested, please contact Svenja Schröder (Svenja.schroeder@univie.ac.at).


Bursts of Interaction across App Types and Times of Day

Oulasvirta et al. (2005) https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1055101 showed that interaction during mobile web browsing occured in "interaction bursts" of 4 seconds. Although this research happened more than 10 years ago, today mobile interaction in the wild still happens in "bursts" due to contextual factors. In this work a study app will be developed which enables long time measurements of interaction bursts across app types (web browsing, chatting, etc.) and across times of day in the background of the participants' smartphones. This data will be gathered and analyzed in order to show patterns in interaction, e.g. different types of interaction "bursts".

Contact: Svenja Schröder (Svenja.schroeder@univie.ac.at)


Bringing CoConUT into the Cloud

The CoConUT toolkit ("Context Collection for non-stationary Use Testing" - http://coconut.cosy.wien) is a framework for supporting short-term mobile field studies, e.g. usability tests on smartphones in realistic environments. It features several apps and wearables which collect quantitative and qualitative data about surrounding context and human behavior directly in the field.

In this thesis / praktikum you will enhance the toolkit by a cloud-based web server on which the data gathered in field studies will be sent to, stored and preliminarily analyzed. Moreover, a frontend web application should be implemented which will be used by operator for field studies configuration and studies' results analysis presented using e.g. logs or charts. With this data the field study operator can review the course of the current study and get a first overview over the gathered data.

If you're interested, please contact Svenja Schröder (Svenja.schroeder@univie.ac.at) and Nemanja Ignjatov (nemanja.ignjatov@univie.ac.at).


Language Learning on the Go

Nowadays learning a new language is as easy as never before. Dozens of apps enable learners to engage in language learning while being on the move, for example while commuting to university / work. This so called „micro learning“ therefore happens in a multiplicity of different contexts and with different levels of attention the learner can spare for the learning task. In this thesis / praktikum you will build on an existing micro language learning app and try to find out how, when and where users prefer to improve their language skills.

If you're interested, please contact Svenja Schröder (Svenja.schroeder@univie.ac.at).


The mechanics of Digital Paper Chase: GeoCaching under the Microscope

GeoCaching is still a very popular recreational activity among all sorts of geeks and non-geeks, since it combines solving puzzles, mastering technology and physical activity all while being outdoors. While there a lot of good geocaching apps (c:geo, GCC), some features are still missing, for example an app of easy discovery of trackables for Android (see TBScan for iOS).

In this thesis you will develop an Android app for Geocaching and conduct a user study in the field to find out more about current geocaching practices. In this new app you will additionally collect anonymized data about usage behavior and context in the field, which you will then analyze to gain a deeper understanding about current geocaching practices. (Oh, and it's a bonus if you're already a geocacher! But it's not a must.)

Contact: Svenja Schröder (svenja.schroeder@univie.ac.at)


User Understandable Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC) in a Smart Home Environment

"Allow access to resource #bulb with attribute role=#lightsource if Subject match #parent and action is #turnon" - "Can I turn on the lights now or what?!"

Attribute Based Access Control (ABAC) is a new approach to access control in diverse environments which has gained significance over the last years in the light of current IoT frameworks. Its flexible way of specifying, modifying and finally granting entities access to a heterogeneous mixture of devices, spaces and services is perfect for the new smart world. But are the underlying concepts really understandable? How could a usable interface for the end-users look like to be efficient and prevent non-recoverable errors or other serious mistakes?

In this thesis an existing implementation of Attribute Based Access Control (ABAC) for a smart-home environment will be tested with real end users how understandable the user interface and its underlying concepts are. Based on those findings the interface will be adapted. This iterative process of testing will be conducted in the COSY:Lab, which could for example involve Wizard of Oz testing techniques (or else, as you like...).

Contact: Svenja Schröder (svenja.schroeder@univie.ac.at) and Nemanja Ignjatov (nemanja.ignjatov@univie.ac.at).


Context-aware Access-Control for Smart-Home

"Authorize your actions in Smart Home not only using your identity but also your previous behavior and current system's environment"

Bring ABAC and Blockchain together! While ABAC stores information about users' identity and provides fine-granular access-control, blockchain can be used to as a trusted storage for event-based tracking of the system's usage. Use case - a child can't turn on the light in the living room in the night without the presence of the parent in the same room.

In this thesis an existing implementation of the ABAC for Smart-Home based on XACML will be extended and adapted to make use of blockchain and verifying access-rights based on two source of information - users' credentials and latest information in the blockchain, depending on the definition of the access policy.

Contact: nemanja.ignjatov@univie.ac.at


Smart-Home sensor integration with ABAC

Make use of one of the existing open-source smart-home management framework to integrate a couple of sensors (light, temperature), while providing advanced features as : fine-grained access-control using existing ABAC framework and predefined sensors configuration management.

Usage and control of the system should be enabled using Web-Frontend or mobile Android application.

An example for the smart-home management framework : https://home-assistant.io/

Contact: nemanja.ignjatov@univie.ac.at


Social Computing meets the Smart Environment: COSY Healthy-Living Bot

This thesis is about interaction design and prototypical implementation (NodeJS) of a Facebook Messenger Bot which facilitates healthy living. Your jobs comprise (1) the integration of different services (e.g. Fitbit API, Google API, some recipe API, .. - be creative!) as a service composition and (2) the creation of a "Bot persona" which incorporates the resulting functionality. A small user trial should then collect feedback and test for conceptual feasibility.

Contact: christian.loew@univie.ac.at


Social Computing meets the Smart Environment: COSY Grätzel-Bot

This thesis is about interaction design and further development of an existing  Facebook Messenger Bot which supports newcoming students at the faculty of computer science. Your jobs comprise (1) the integration of location-oriented information and services as well as (2) functionality that supports socialization and collaboration, e.g. support for ad-hoc meetings, learning groups, .. A small user trial should then collect feedback and test for conceptual feasibility.

Contact: christian.loew@univie.ac.at


Traffic And Load Models For ISM- And SRD-Band LoRa

LoRa is an emerging proprietary physical-layer modulation technology for IoT WANs; LoRaWAN is the associated Media Access Control protocol. This project proposes to investigate traffic on the frequency bands locally used for LoRa (see for example https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/community/vienna/ ) and suggest spatial, spectral, and traffic load models for this new type of data communication.

Contact: albert.rafetseder@univie.ac.at


Designing, Creating and Deploying The Univie-IoT Box

Build a simple, easily deployable IoT device that students and academics can use for experiments. For example, stuff a RasPi with I2C sensors, put it in an outdoor enclosure, and find an interesting use case / comparison measurment / participatory sensing project to work on. Ideally, also add LoRaWAN (see project description above).

Contact: albert.rafetseder@univie.ac.at


A FOSS Framework For Exponentially-Swept Sine Based Measurement Techniques

Excitation with exponentially-swept sines allows for measurements of transfer functions of weakly nonlinear, approximately time-invariant systems. Implement a framework, e.g. in Octave (MATLAB) or NumPy, that streamlines generating the required sweeps, deconvolutions etc., and demonstrate its applicability in a practical study (e.g. room acoustics).



Contact: albert.rafetseder@univie.ac.at


Sensor Calibration With Household Items

This project proposes to develop and investigate methods that allow for simple, repeatable calibration of smartphone sensors using elementary physics and household items. A method should thus

  • require little or no special hardware, apart from what is typically available on/in one's desk, drawers, and kitchen

  • provide intrinsic (or readily procurable) means for comparison measurements,

  • be repeatable easily so that multiple measurements can be taken, facilitating variations of parameters or devices, and statistical analysis of the results.

  • Needless to say, the device under test should not be damaged by an experiment. 

Potential experiment techniques include

  • Swings, pendulums with controllable physical dimensions (and thus oscillation periods)

  • Springs

  • Free fall, throwing; sliding on inclined planes

  • Rolling (e.g. inside of a can)

  • Comparison measurements with one device attached to another

More notes: https://github.com/SensibilityTestbed/sensibility-testbed/issues/33

Contact: albert.rafetseder@univie.ac.at


A Configurable Études Generator

Études are musical pieces designed as practice materials for perfecting particular musical skills (Wikipedia). The skills to be perfected can differ (in difficulty and category) from étude to étude, and are different between instruments, players, and also dimensions of musical content (melody, harmony, rhythm). Develop a sufficiently generic, configurable generator for études that outputs études of choosable difficulty. For this, define a system that encodes the difficulty of a task to be studied, and transformations that assess the difficulty of combinations of study tasks appropriately.

Contact: albert.rafetseder@univie.ac.at


Do GoTenna Meshes Scale?

GoTenna (https://www.gotenna.com/pages/gotenna) is marketed as an "off-grid communication tool" that interfaces with a smartphone via Bluetooth Low Energy on on side, and connects to other GoTenna devices to exchange messages using unlicensed radio bands. Reverse engineers around the Internet have scrutinized the platform (identifying the RF frontend chip, creating a modified SDK, decrypting the device firmware, analyzing the radio packet format (1), (2), exploring the serial-over-USB interface), but how do deployments with a large number of devices scale in terms of spectrum usage and goodput? In order to find this out, explore the behavior of the radio frontend under noisy conditions, and create a simulation (e.g. using ns-3) to examine GoTenna's behavior.

Contact: albert.rafetseder@univie.ac.at



Running Theses

- PhD Theses

Patrick Zwickl, University of Vienna: Prospects of End-to-end Network Quality: The Utility-based Approach.

Stephan Wirsing, University of Vienna: Economic Efficiency of a Platform-based Pluralistic Spectrum Licensing Regime in a Competitive Multi-Operator Multi-Service Environment.

Svenja Schröder, University of Vienna: Exploring the Role of Mental Resources and Context in Mobile Usable Privacy and Security.



- Master Theses

Christoph Steindl: Analysis of DMARC Reports and Development of Evaluation Methodologies.

Lukas Pühringer: Implementing a web-based cooperative DMARC report analysis tool applying a custom expert user-centered design approach.

N.N: Game-theoretic Modelling of Smart Grids.



Finished Theses

- PhD Theses

Sebastian Egger: QoE Modeling for Interactive Internet Applications in the Presence of Delay. FTW/Graz University of Technology, June 2014.

- Bachelor Theses

Kevin Erdmann: A User Interaction Framework for Empirical QoE Testing. March 2015.

Gabriel Kovacs: Long-term Active Measurement and Evaluation of E-mail System Related DNS Entries. April 2015.

Valon Lushaj: Design und Implementierung eines Scientific Dashboards für ein User Testing Framework. Jan. 2016.

Fabian Guschlbauer: Beyond Ping.

Philipp Hiermann: Performance Evaluation for Virtualized Servers.

Jasmin Kainer: Entwurf und Implementierung eines modularen Nutzungsstudien-Frameworks für die Durchführung von Laborstudien unterschiedlicher Fachrichtungen.

Emanual Plopu: Vertrauliche Lokalisierung.

Vanessa Tudor: Anwendung des Human-Centered Design Prozesses zur Gestaltung der Webpräsenz des Mentoringprogramms der Fakultät für Informatik.

David Zachhuber: Touch Heatmaps für das User Testing von mobilen Apps.

Thomas Schmidt: The Salome Experience - Live Opera Streaming and Beyond - Localization Aspects and Framework Implementation.

Bernhard Schatzl: The Salome Experience - Live Opera Streaming and Beyond - Implementation and Validation.



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