RGU research project checks all the right boxes

Working as part of the Smart Information Systems research group at RGU, Computing Science student Edward Shearer, 22, developed an application to complement completions, commissioning and technology provider qedi’s existing suite of software called GoTechnology®.

The group, which is part of the university’s Institute of Innovation, Design and Sustainability (IDEAS), sees computer scientists at RGU collaborate in multi-disciplinary teams to apply the latest sensing, modelling and analytic approaches to real-world scenarios.

Edward, who won a Carnegie Trust scholarship to support the project, focused on how to make the assignment of inspection checklists for engineering equipment more efficient, by analysing the results of similar assignment decisions.

In the industry, checklists are used to show that equipment is safe to use in a production environment and require expertise specific to the engineering project to ensure appropriate checklists, out of hundreds of different variations, are assigned to that equipment.

The former Cults Academy pupil explained: “As similar equipment is assigned similar checklists it meant that I could automate this process, allowing an engineer to choose the appropriate checklist from a much smaller pool of possibilities as opposed to the entire list which could include over 400 different options.

“The recommendation is done using a technique known as case-based reasoning (CBR), a branch of computer artificial intelligence used to find solutions to problems based on the solutions of previous similar problems.”

Reader in Computing at RGU and member of the IDEAS institute, Nirmalie Wiratunga, supervised the project.

She said: “A key principle of the research done through IDEAS is social relevance and our work is aimed at providing benefit to science, industry and the wider public.

“The work that Edward undertook falls into the area of case-based reasoning for which RGU has built up a world-leading track record and is something we will continue to develop.”

Edward, who wants to go into software development when he graduates next year, also completed his placement year at qedi, during which he had responsibility for developing and maintaining the company’s GoTechnology® suite of applications.

“Throughout the placement I was able to apply what I had learned during my course to a real-world situation, particularly from my programming and database modules but also from the professional development modules,” he said.

“My experience of the Computing Science course at RGU so far is that it is highly engaging, challenging, rewarding, and based on my placement experience, hugely relevant to working in real-world situations.”