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In July 2010 I became Professor in the Chair of Human Computer Interaction in the School of Computer Science at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. I was inducted into the University at a ceremony on the 30th of November 2010 in Younger Hall. You can see a video of this on the right. Founded in the fifteenth century, St Andrews is Scotland's first university and the third oldest in the English speaking world. Teaching began in the community of St Andrews in 1410 and the University was formally constituted by the issue of a Papal Bull in 1413. The School I joined, Computer Science, has been very highly ranked in the latest league tables, as second in the United Kingdom in the Guardian University Guide.  Making the move to St Andrews has been an excellent decision on a professional and personal basis. 

During the summer of 2011 I was asked by our the Principal of our University Professor Louise Richardson to give a graduation address as part of the 600th anniversary ceremonies. The University's reputation for delivering high quality teaching, research and student satisfaction make it one of the most sought after destinations for prospective students from the UK, Europe and overseas. It was a great honour to be asked to give such an address during my first year as an academic in St Andrews. You can read the text of my graduation address here or watch the video on the right. With each passing day, my central message to "invest your time wisely" becomes evermore true to me. 


In August of 2011 I was able to fulfill a long term dream, to have an official legal union with my partner Bradley Herbert. By then we had been together 14 years but it was only since coming to Scotland that we have been able to have our ceremony as this is the first country we have lived in where it is legal to do so. You can read my speech to Bradley here and see an article the Times wrote on our ceremony here. At the end of 2011 and into 2012 we were able to head to South Africa and Zambia for our honeymoon which was a lovely experience. Everywhere we went people went out of their way for us to have a very memorable and special time.

Back in Scotland 2012 and 2013 have passed very nicely, work has been busy with new roles in SICSA, summer schools in Oulu Finland, trips to CHI 2012 and AVI 2012, and new projects. Some work trips have also included time for a holiday, such as in Israel. We have enjoyed travel to Iceland, Rio, Stratford, family golf weekends, a trip to the Olympics and Christmas/New Year in Tunisia. In 2012 we were able to move into a new home and celebrate our first anniversary back on the Royal Scotsman and then in Paris. In 2013 I turned 40 which is fair to describe as the old age of youth. To celebrate we had a holiday to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, a weekend in London and then Dublin with all my friends and family. Later on in the summer we took Brad's parent around England, Spain and France which made for a most memorable and fun summer of 2013.


On the morning of Saturday 14 September I'd been invited to participate in part of the University's 600th anniversary celebrations in a Masterminds session called The World our Grandchildren will Inherit: Global Health, Sustainability and Next Generation Technology. This was a remarkable opportunity to participate in the celebrations over the course of two days. I was able to meet many wonderful people and join in all the 600th anniversary events, which I will never forget.
At the start of October 2013 we hosted UIST and ITS 2013 here, while work events, these gave me great personal satisfaction to host here.

More Background
I come from Dublin in Ireland where I lived from 1973 until I first left in 1995. In this time I grew up, went to school and graduated from my undergraduate degree. I attended St Patrick's (BNS) in Drumcondra until I was eleven. I then attended St Aidans (CBS) secondary school until I was eighteen when I completed my leaving certificate. In 1991 I entered Trinity College Dublin to study for an honours degree in Computer Science. During my summers in University I worked in Dublin, Munich and Los Angeles. I graduated from Trinity with a first class honours degree (BA mod) in Computer Science in July of 1995. I was offered a postgraduate scholarship to study in Trinity College but I gave this up for the opportunity to work in Japan.

In July of 1995 I started teaching English in Japan on the JET programme. I worked in Hizen-Cho Saga Ken Japan for two years and during this time I helped run the home stay program. Working in Japan was an incredible experience and I would recommend it to anyone interested in living in an eastern culture for a while. I took the opportunity while in Japan to see that country, along with visiting several places in Asia. In Japan I was able to attend many local festivals and visit Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka, Karatsu Kunchi, lots of Kyushu, Hokkaido (for the Yuki Matsuri), Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While living in Japan I was also able to visit Thailand, Cambodia, Taiwan, Hong Kong (for change-over in '97) and South Korea. You can see some of my photos from these years on Flickr.   

After working in Japan, I took a three month trip across South East Asia through China (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou), Hong Kong, Northern Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. The end of my travels took me to Bali in Indonesia, from where I flew to Sydney and onto Newcastle Australia, to begin my life as a PhD student.

In October of 1997 I arrived in Newcastle Australia to begin work on my PhD in Information Visualization in the Department of Computer Science. Shortly after arriving in Newcastle I met my partner Brad who was also a student in Newcastle University. I taught a mini-course on the theory of computation in late 1997 which led me onto teaching an introductory course on computer programming in early 1998 while tutoring a third year databases course. In July of 1998 I moved to Austin, Texas to work as a research intern. The reason for this move was that from June of 1998 until June of 1999 my PhD supervisor was on sabbatical in Ireland. So from June of 98 until Mar of 99 I was a research intern with Semantic Designs in Austin Texas. 

After completing my research internship I managed to do a little travel on my way back to Australia. This took me to Dallas, New Orleans (for Mardi Gras), New York, Boston, Limerick, Dublin, London, Israel, Jordan and Italy. I spent a few months in Limerick Ireland with my PhD supervisor Professor Eades who was on a sabbatical visit there. 

In May of 1999, after spending a research visit in Ireland, I returned to an Associate Lecturers position in the University of Newcastle Australia. I worked in Newcastle University until August of 2001. During this time I did lots of research (I completed my PhD), teaching, new course development, project supervision, postgraduate research supervision, undergrad research supervision, work experience supervision, and international student mentoring. Amazingly I actually managed to finish my PhD within four years of starting it (or 3 years and 2 months if you discount the period as an intern or 2 years if you count my part-time enrolment). 

In September of 2001 myself and my partner moved to Boston in the USA where I worked at MERL as a Visiting Research Scientist. This was a great experience, working in a world class research lab with lots of incredible research projects and really smart people. The only down side to living in Boston was that our arrival coincided with the attacks in New York and Washington on September 11th. I wasn't directly affected but I could see the effects of what happened on my friends, co-workers and the country in general. I continued to consult with MERL on research papers and the visualisation system I had developed until July of 2002. 

In March of 2002 myself and my partner began a mini-odyssey back to Australia. We traveled from Boston to Washington DC, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Mexico, then onto Miami and Orlando. This took us about 45 days of often rough travel. The Mayan culture in Guatemala and Honduras was incredible. Guatemala has some of the best scenery near Panahachel and Tikal. The coastline of Belize and Mexico is picture post-card perfect. From Miami we flew to Chile where we went up the coast then down to the lake district area near Pucon. Chilean people are truly friendly and kind (much like all people in the Southern Hemisphere!). From Pucon we traveled into Argentina where we visited the Lake district, then the Glaciers at El Calafate, then onto Ushiua in the very south before flying through Buenos Aires to Salta in the very north. From here we started our assent into Bolvia by first passing though Chile and the valley of the moon. To get into Bolivia we took a four day 4 wheel drive tour across salt plains and other unique scenery. In Bolvia we stayed near Lake Titikaka before heading across the border to Peru to visit Cusco (a highly underrated town) and then onto Macchu Pichu (amazing, as you would expect!). From here we left the high lands and fly across Peru before making our way back into Chile and onto Santiago. From Santiago we traveled to Buenos Aires again before visiting the Waterfalls in the North. We spent a few days in Rio before heading to Europe. This took us to 99 days into our trip. Once in Europe we did a host of things which included my masters graduation in Ireland, attended a conference on program comprehension in Paris, sightseeing by car in Northern and western France (2 weeks), then onto German for a research visit to Cottbus and then a conference in Dagsthul (1 week). The trip ended with a 3 week trip around Italy visiting Rome, Naples, Sienna, Florence, and Venice! At this point we were 150 days into our trip, so it was time to head home to Australia and get a job. 

In September 2002 I started a new job as a Senior Research Fellow in Sydney University. In this position I was able to expand my research profile, attract good students, conduct world class research and build industry collaborations, for my eventual return to a full time academic role in 2005. In this job I put together a number of successful research grants (>800k PA) which allowed me to have a research staff of 5. I also completed a smart meeting room and pervasive computing lab, established a good collaboration with Telstra Research Labs, a SIT CRC collaboration with the National ICT Australia, supervision of 2 PhDs, associate supervision of 2 PhDs, completion of 6 honours and 2 MIT theses and 3 undergrad projects. During this time I managed to squeeze in some more travel to New Zealand, USA, Europe, Nepal, Japan and the Cook Islands. I also learned to sail but this is an ongoing learning experience.

In January of 2005 I moved to Ireland with my partner. I never thought it would happen but a great opportunity came up so we jumped at it. While working in the University College Dublin I was Co-Principal Investigator for the SFI Strategic Research Cluster Clique on Graph and Network Analysis, an IBM CASVisiting Scientist, UCD director of ODCSSS, coordinator for the EU FP7 support action CAPSIL, a researcher in Lero the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre, a collaborator in CLARITY the Centre for Sensor Web Technologies and UCD PI forVizi, a collaborative digital technology research project between Twelve Horses, IADT and UCD which is funded by the NDRC. In personal terms we had to struggle to get a visa for my partner to stay in Ireland which was a constant stress. 

Towards the end of 2009 we moved to Launceston in Tasmania Australia where I became the inaugural director of the Human Interface Technology Laboratory, Australia (HIT Lab AU) and Associate Professor in the University of Tasmania. While with the HIT Lab AU I established us as a partner in the EU project BRAID on Bridging Research in Ageing and ICT Development. Our time in Tasmania was quite short as a more suitable academic post in the University of St Andrews presented itself. In Tasmania I held a five year contract as an Associate Professor. 



Aaron at St Salvator's quadrangleBrad and Aaron with Chapel - Chapel at St Salvator's quadrangle


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