School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


Professor Roy Kalawsky Ph.D., M.Sc., B.Sc., C.Eng., FIET, FRSA

Photo of Professor Roy Kalawsky

Director of Advanced VR Research Centre - The Centre for Virtual Engineering

Roy Kalawsky is Professor of Systems Engineering and Human Computer Integration. He is the Director of the Advanced VR Research Centre (established 1995 - opened by HRH Duke of Edinburgh) which is a state of the art centre for Virtual Engineering research.

He was the Director of the Research School of Systems Engineering and Technical Head of the Systems Engineering Innovation Centre (between 2006 and 2013). He previously headed up the Systems Division within the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, before becoming Associate Dean (Enterprise). He was previously Head of Dept Computer Science at Loughborough University (between 2000-2004).

Prior to his appointment at Loughborough University he was with BAE Systems (nearly 18 years) starting as a Systems Engineer in 1978, and eventually became responsible for Cockpit Research and Development across the whole of the Military Aircraft Division.

Research within the AVRRC focusses on developing next generation advanced modelling, simulation and visualization techniques to support a wide range of application areas. In this respect modelling, simulation and visualization (M,S,V) are regarded as a continuous continuum involving abstract or mathematical representations of system behaviour or function through to complex coupled models and simulations that represent significantly complex systems where the human is an integral part of the simulation. Visualization is an integral part of the continuum because it provides the means to interact, probe and investigate the system being modelled. Visualization research spans the field of visual analytics to high fidelity representations of the real world.

This approach is based on a systems engineering methodology where the wider context is considered in defining the relationship of the system with its environment and other components of the system as a whole. The systems engineering discipline ensures we consider the way the resulting models are used as part of a well defined and rigourous work flow. Roy has been applying these model based systems engineering methods to a wide range of sectors including: aerospace, construction, defence, energy, healthcare and transport. This approach has helped examine and refine system architectures to optimise overall system performance against defined requirements and goals. A key thrust of his work from the early 1990s has been model based systems engineering.

No model or simulation can be reliably used without it being validated and verified so an important aspect of Roy's research is involved in developing methods to provide validated system models.

The human dimension of modelling, simulation and visualization underpins all of his research. The human in this context is an integral pt of the system. Consequently, research is being undertaken to improve user's interaction with their data (to gain new insight or greater understanding) by increasing human cognitive and perceptual capability.

Professor Roy Kalawsky is also Adjunct Professor - Defence and Systems Institute, University of South Australia - Adelaide

Current Positions

  • Associate Dean (Enterprise) - School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering
  • Director of Advanced VR Research Centre

Recent/Current Research Grants

Principal investigator - InnovateUK/Airbus Agile Wing Integration (2015-2018) - responsibility £516k of £16m research programme

Principal investigator - EPSRC UK Systems-NET - responsibility £400k, 500 corresponding professional engineer members

Principal investigator (UK lead) respnsible for systems architecture research of the EU Commission’s largest FP7 project (€12m) on Systems of Systems (DANSE - Designing for Adaptability and evolutioN in System of systems Engineering).

Principal investigator - Joint Information Systems Committee - UK Visualization Centres Network (2005-2009) - responsibility £500k

Principal investigator - DTI Next Wave Pervasive Computing Programme (2003-2005) - responsibility £7m across 36 companies (large corporate and SMEs).

Pastoral Responsibilities

  • 1997- 2013 - Warden Hall of Residence – The Holt (266 students)
  • 1997 – 1999 - Warden of Hall of Residence – The Holt (165 students) and Falkner-Eggington (550 students)

Previous positions

  • Director of Research School of Systems Engineering (2006 - 2013)
  • Technical Head - Systems Engineering Innovation Centre £60m (2006 - 2012)
  • Head of Systems Division – Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Loughborough University
  • Director - The Application Home Initiative - funded by DTI
  • Director of DTI Centre for Pervasive Computing: Integrated Home Environment
  • 2000 – 2004: Head of Department, Department of Computer Science, Loughborough University
  • 1995-1999 Professor Human-Computer Integration, Department of Human Sciences, Loughborough University
  • 1989 – 1995: Head of Cockpit Research and Crew Systems Development, BAE Systems (Formally British Aerospace, Military Aircraft Division)
  • 1988: Project Leader Advanced Cockpit Research, British Aerospace, Military Aircraft Division
  • 1985 – 1988: Senior Engineer In Charge Avionic Systems Demonstrator Rig, British Aerospace, Military Aircraft Division
  • 1984 – 1985: Senior Avionics Systems Design Engineer, British Aerospace, Military Aircraft Division
  • 1982 – 1984: Engineer in Charge Pilot Group Avionic Systems Demonstrator Rig, British Aerospace, Military Aircraft Division
  • 1978: Avionic System Design Engineer, British Aerospace, Military Aircraft Division

Example Awards

  • 2009 Adjunct Professor University of Southern Australia, Adelaide
  • 2009 Award for Services to Systems Engineering - BAE Systems
  • 2007 Da Vinci awared (First Prize) - for a ground breaking technique to allow clinicians to remotely access superior quality 3D images of heart patients
  • 2001 Best Paper award - Kalawsky, R. S., Simpkin, G., (2001). Letting Go: Automating the Display of Virtual Environments. SimTect, Canberra, Australia.
  • 1993 - Royal Aeronautical Society Medal for outstanding contribution to cockpit technology and in particular for establishing the UK's first virtual cockpit and virtual environment simulator.
  • 1992 - The University of Hull - Appointed Honorary Visiting Professor - Virtual Environments and Advanced Display Technologies.
  • 1979 - Royal Aeronautical Society – 1979 Winner of the Brough Branch N.E. Rowe Medal Competition. Paper "The Concept and Application of Polarisation Image Detection".

He leads the Advanced Systems, Modelling and Simulation Research Group whose research advances modelling and simulation methods to provide greater insight and understanding of extremely complex systems. This research encompasses a wide range of methods from abstract mathematical representations, model driven engineering, sophisticated computer simulations through to hardware in the loop simulation. The focus of this research is not only on development of better modelling and simulation methodologies, but also on the application of state of the art techniques to help understand and predict the behaviour of complex systems. Applications for our research span many industry sectors including aerospace, automotive, construction, counter-terrorism, defence, energy, healthcare and transport.

Professor Kalawsky established the Advanced VR Research Centre (AVRRC) at Loughborough University (in 1995) which hosts a comprehensive state of the art virtual engineering laboratory. At the heart of this laboratory is a suite of advanced interactive visualisation and collaborative environment systems. The AVRRC was identified as one of the e-Science Centres of Excellence and has been extremely successful in securing research funding (several £m) and delivering high quality research for over 15 years.

At the heart of his approach is the strong desire to balance stakeholder perspectives with input from engineering, non-engineering and human factors disciplines. This application of a multi-disciplinary systems engineering methodology is key to performing the cross-domain trade-offs required to deliver future optimal solutions. Verification and validation are foremost in his approach in order to develop appropriate model based systems engineering solutions.

In addition his personal research (funded) activities include:

Specific interests/activities include:

  • Advanced collaborative environments
  • Advanced visualization
  • Augmented reality
  • Autonomous systems
  • Big Data for Engineering
  • Collaborative Systems Engineering Environments
  • Distributed visualisation across the grid
  • Human Factors
  • Human performance evaluation and simulation
  • Immersive computing environments
  • Model Driven Engineering (incl Model Based Systems Engineering)
  • Modelling and Simulation (including virtual/synthetic environments)
  • Multi-sensor fusion and modelling
  • Synthetic environments
  • Systems Engineering
  • Systems of systems
  • Systems Theory and PracticeVirtual Reality and virtual interfaces
  • Virtual engineering
  • Visual analytics

ELP660 Systems Engineering Essentials for Engineers (MSc. and CPD) - teaching support

ELA007 Introduction to Systems Engineering for Projects (Part A) - teaching support

ELB013 Group Project

Individual Students Projects - Systems Engineering and Electronics undergraduate projects

(BEng) ELC025, (MEng) ELD030, (MSc) ELP065

PhD examinations - Internal (Loughborough) and External (multiple institutions)

Selected Publications

Kalawsky, R.S., O’Brien, J., Chong, S., Wong, C., Jia, H., Pan, H., and Moore, P., Bridging the Gaps in a Model Based System Engineering Workflow through to Hardware-in-the-Loop Simulation. IEEE Systems Journal, 2013. 0(99): p. 13, DOI: 10.1109/JSYST.2012.2230995

Breakthrough research described in this paper overcame significant challenges in current model based systems engineering by developing one of the first seamless workflows for a model based architecture through to a fully executable model that can be hosted on a range of target platforms, demonstrating real capability for coupled simulations. The research solved previously intractable problems through development of special model transformation tools and bidirectional transformations between platform independent and platform specific solutions. This research led being invited to lead the systems architecture research of the EU Commission’s largest FP7 project (€12m) on Systems of Systems (DANSE - Designing for Adaptability and evolutioN in System of systems Engineering), and more recently a key role in the recently announced InnovateUK/Airbus research project on Agile Integrated Wing (£16m).

Kalawsky, R.S., Callow, G. A Satisficing Bi-Directional Model Transformation Engine using Mixed Integer Linear Programming. Journal of Object Technology, 2013. 12(1): p. 1 - 43. DOI: 10.5381/jot.2013.12.1.a1.

The significant research described in this paper describes our successful approach to develop the world’s first relational model transformation engine (implemented as a series of Mixed Integer Linear Programs). This prioritises target model compliance with its meta-model by considering multiple interpretations of applying the transformation specification in order to ensure a correct target model is generated. Two significant contributions include 1) a set-based formal representation of meta-models, models and transformations, that can be manipulated by MILP-like solvers and 2) an original bi-directional transformation semantics that prioritises target model compliance and handles ambiguous or underspecified transformations.

Kalawsky, R.S., Al-Najdawi, A.  Visual Quality Assessment of Video and Image Sequences-A Human-based Approach. Journal of Signal Processing Systems for Signal Image and Video Technology, 2010. 59(2): p. 223-231. DOI: 10.1007/s11265-008-0289-0

This paper describes our research that led to unique algorithmic solutions to assess quality of image sequences based on human visual perception. Our multi-disciplinary approach overcome current unreliable subjective image quality assessment techniques by dispensing the need for a reference image by precisely correlating with human judgment on quality. Algorithm performance has been validated against a dataset involving 700 image sequences of 5 different categories demonstrating high correlation to desired quality assessment. This unique solution can optimise the quality of compressed images/videos transmitted over low-bandwidth channels meaning that compression algorithms can be specifically optimized for specific applications (eg military). 

Please refer to full publication list but here is a small sample.

Y. Sun, A. Papin. C., V. zorin-Peris, Kalawsky  R., S. Greenwald, and S. Hu, "The use of ambient light in remote photoplethysmographic systems: a comparison between a high performance camera and a low cost webcam," J Biomed Optic., vol. 17, 2012.

Y. Sun, S. Hu, V. Azorin-Peris, R. S. Kalawsky, and S. Greenwald, "Noncontact imaging photoplethysmography to effectively access pulse rate variability," J. Biomed. Opt., vol. 18, 2012.

A. Ghadge, R. S. Kalawsky, and S. Dani, "Supply chain risk management: present and future scope," International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 23, pp. 313-339, 2012.

Do, Q., Cook, S. C., Kalawsky, R. S., Jain, R., & Mansell, T. (2009). Special issue on systems engineering education. International Journal of Intelligent Defence Support Systems (IJIDSS), 2(3).

Kalawsky, R. S., Nee, S. P., Holmes, I., & Coveney, P. V. (2005). A grid enabled lightweight computational steering client: A.Net pda implementation. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. A, 363(1833), 1885-1894.

Kalawsky, R. S., O'Brien, J., & Coveney, P. V. (2005). Improving scientists interaction with complex computational-visualisation environments based on a distributed grid infrastructure. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. A, 363(1833), 1867-1884.

Kalawsky, R. S., & Simpkin, G. (2006). Automating the display of third person/stealth views of virtual environments. Presence, 15(6), 717-739.

Al-Najdawi, A., Kalawsky R.S. (2008.). Quantitative quality assessment of video sequences - a human-based approach. Paper presented at the The 6th IEEE International Conference on Information, Communications, and Signal Processing (ICICS07), Singapore.

Al-Najdawi, A., Kalawsky, R.S. (2008). Visual quality assessment of video and image sequences - a human based approach. Journal of Signal Processing Systems.

Al-Najdawi, A. Kalawsky, R.S. (2008). A multi-objective optimization framework for video compression and transmission. Paper presented at the Communication Systems, Networks and Digital Signal Processing, 2008. CNSDSP 2008. 6th International Symposium, Austria.

Holmes, I. R., & Kalawsky, R. S. (2007). Delivering effective and usable interactive 3d visualization on lightweight mobile devices. Paper presented at the Theory and Practice of Computer Graphics 2007 (TPCG'07), Bangor, Wales, UK.

Kalawsky, R. S. (2009). Gaining greater insight through interactive visualization: A human factors perspective. In A. T. Zudilova-Seinstra E., van Liere R., (Ed.), Trends in interactive visualization (pp. 119-154). Netherlands: Springer.

Kalawsky, R. S. (2009). Grand challenges for systems engineering research: Setting the agenda. Paper presented at the Conference on Systems Engineering Research, Loughborough, UK.

Kalawsky, R. S., & Al-Najdawi, A. (Dec 2007). Quantitative quality assessment of video sequences - a human-based approach. Paper presented at the Sixth International Conference on Information, Communications and Signal Processing, Singapore.

Kalawsky, R. S., & Holmes, I. R. (June 2007). Overcoming engineering challenges of providing an effective user interface to a large scale distributed synthetic environment on the us teragrid: A systems engineering success story. Paper presented at the INCOSE, San Diego.

Kalawsky, R. S., & Holmes, I. R. (2007). Overcoming engineering challenges of providing an effective user interface to a large scale distributed synthetic environment on the us teragrid: A systems engineering success story. Paper presented at the Systems Engineering:   Key to Intelligent Enterprises, San Diego, California, USA.

Heatley, D. J. T., Kalawsky, R. S., Neild, I., & Bowman, P. A. (2006). Integrated sensor networks for monitoring the health and well-being of vulnerable individuals. In A. Steventon & S. Wright (Eds.), Intelligent spaces the application of pervasive ict series: Computer communications and networks (pp. 219 - 237): Springer.

Kalawsky, R. S. (2006). Human factors audit of selected e-science projects: Joint Information Systems Committee.

Awang Rambli, D. R., & Kalawsky, R. S. (2006). Distance estimations in static images: Does viewing distance matter? Paper presented at the ACM International Conference 7TH ACM SIGCHI New Zealands chapter's international conference, Christchurch New Zealand.

Clarke, K., Lewin, M. R., Atkins, D., & Kalawsky, R. S. (2005). Testing a framework for multimodal control in the home environment. Paper presented at the Perspectives in Pervasive Computing, London.

Green, W., Gyi, D., Kalawsky, R. S., & Atkins, D. (2006). A contextual enquiry: Studying user requirements for future home technology. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the International Ergonomics Association 2006 Congress:Meeting Diversity in Ergonomics, Maastricht, Nederlands.

Gyi, D., Kalawsky, R. S., Green, W., & Atkins, D. (2005). What do people really want from their 'smart homes'. Paper presented at the 11th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, Las Vagas, Nevada, USA.

Athena Swan Bronze award

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