Atta Badii

 Prof. Atta Badii


  • Chair of Secure Pervasive Technologies
  • IEEE Technical Committee Member EMBS BioRobotics
  • Director, Intelligent Systems Research Laboratory - UoR
  • Director, The European Observatory for Crowd-Sourcing
  • Director, European Centre of Excellence for Socio-Ethical Video-Analytics Research
  • Distinguished Professor of Systems Engineering and Digital Innovation (UCC)

Professor Atta Badii has established a track record of key contributions to over 40 projects including over 30 large scale collaborative research programmes, coordinated over 12 large scale international projects funded by a variety of sources including EPSRC, TSB, MoD Grand Challenge, the European Community and achieved recognition for visionary research leadership and innovation management.

Atta Badii is a high ranking professor at the University of Reading where he is the Director of the Intelligent Systems Research Laboratory, at the School of Systems Engineering.   He holds the Chair of Secure Pervasive Technologies (UoR) and the designation of Distinguished Professor of Systems Engineering and Digital Innovation (UCC) and is an International Privacy-by-Design Ambassador as designated by the Canadian Information and Privacy Commission.   Atta is Director of the European Virtual Centre of Excellence for Ethically-guided and Privacy-respecting Video-Analytics (VideoSense), Director of the European Observatory for Crowd-Sourcing and Collective-Awareness Platforms for Transformative Government (Citizens’ Say), Chair of the International Companion Robotics Institute (CRI), and, the Internet of People Things and Services (IoPT) Research Forum as well as the European Privacy by Co-Design Research Cluster.  He is also a panel member of the Companion Robotics and Human-Robot-Interaction research roadmap groups of the European Robotics Research Forum and has previously served on other European and UK research roadmap panels e.g. as the Chair of the European Security Architectures and Virtualisation Taskforce of the SECURIST Research Roadmap Initiative and as a leading member of the TSB-RCUK Expert Group for Secure Internet of Things Research Strategy.

Atta has a multi-disciplinary academic and industrial research track record in the fields of Distributed Intelligent and Multi-modal Interactive Systems including Multi-modal indexing and retrieval, at web-scale, distributed databases, Big Data Analytics, Human-Robot-Interaction, Semantic Security & Trust Architectures and Privacy by Co-Design of Cyber-Physical System-of- Systems.  Atta has contributed to over 30 large scale collaborative projects to-date and has served as the Scientific and Technical Leader of over 10 such projects at both national and international level including successful coordination of several UK/EU-funded projects; some with the designation of smart innovation project.  Atta is the pioneer of several paradigms in user-centred assistive technologies; has over 200 publications and has served on the editorial and programme committees of various specialist international journals and conferences and as external PhD supervisor/examiner, Professorial Appointment Board member and Research and Innovation Strategy Advisor for various universities in the UK, Europe and the Americas including some of the top 10 Universities and Enterprises in the world.   He has made fundamental contributions to pushing forward the frontiers of research in Security Context Representation (e.g. as in Hydra LinkSmart Technology) and Mitigation (e.g. FastMatch Next Generation IDS-IPS Architectures), Access Control and Privacy Enhancing Technologies (e.g. Mobi-PETS-GRID, Hydra), Ontology-based Semantic Integration, User-centred Co-design and Integrated Requirements Prioritisation and Usability Evaluation (e.g. UI-REF), Human-Computer-Robot Interaction (e.g. CompanionAble, CORBYS), Multi-modal Communications Control (C3PAL), Advanced Affective-Interactive Interfaces (CALLAS), Dynamic Media Adaptation (Axmedis), Semantic Workflow Integration (Axmedis, 2020-3D Media), Advanced Multi-modal Media Semantic-Collateral Indexing and Retrieval (DREAM, Content Safari), Semantic Music Representation & Search (I-Maestro, CC-MOLE, SoundScape), and framework architecture for Man-in-the-Loop Assistive-Interactive Systems (CORBYS); BIG Data Dashboard, Agent Modelling and Simulation (MOSIPS) etc.

Atta’s trans-disciplinary academic and industrial research contributions in systems engineering are rooted in the disciplines that contribute to socially responsible and inclusive innovation of security-privacy-aware ICT to serve pervasive-assistive technologies with significant application domains including i) Smart Cities and IoT, ii) Big Data, e-Learning and e-Government, iii) Cyber Security and Surveillance, iv) Cognitive Robotics for Care-Support, v) e-Health, Biomedical and Rehabilitation Engineering.

Atta’s pedagogic experience has included responsibilities for establishing a Common Academic Framework (CAF) for modules specification in his role as Head of Field (Computer Science and Information Systems), and, later as a Research Director in his strategic capacity building role.  His industrial R&D experience has included roles ranging from research scientist to Principal Research Scientist (e.g. with Schlumberger Technologies Artificial Intelligence Research Group).  Atta’s research stands at the confluence of intelligent interactive systems, cognitive robotics and human agent modelling as informed by the well-established principles of behavioural and cognitive sciences and socio-ethical design, to contribute to the innovation of emergent ICT that responds to pressing societal needs.  This work has focused on the enabling technologies that critically underpin the future development of ambient intelligent systems and cognitive robotics including carer robots social machines by advancing  research on machine perception, learning, and, the socialisation of machines.

Ultimately, the research objective is to optimise the seamless and pervasive integration of processes, people, physical-virtual presence and adaptive systems so as to support enhanced Quality-of-Experience, Comfort and Creativity for all users within the emergent Internet of People, Things and Services (IoPTS).  This has led to pioneering frameworks and tools to support the user-centred co-design of systems; to emancipate people from the tyranny of cognitive overload and security-privacy-trust risks, towards a more trustworthy and inclusive Future IoPTS.  This is particularly applicable to ambient intelligent systems for ICT-enabled solutions to serve the more vulnerable users such as the elderly, and those with physical-cognitive impairments who can benefit from assistive companion systems or rehabilitation engineering.   The objective being to design affordable systems that can be gracefully, safely and acceptably integrated with legacy environments and truly enhance users’ comfort, mobility, safety-security-privacy as well as their potential for self-actualisation and (co)creativity and for managing their lifestyles and well-being independently.

This work has resulted in solution innovation involving a convergence of mobile telecommunication with emergent internet, cloud services, intelligent media and cognitive robotics technologies in smart environments.  Such smart environments enable the fluid availability and inter-operability of assistive services and digital media content to meet the needs of various life-styles and work-styles everywhere supporting people as they interact securely with their personal real-digital-virtual worlds within the globalised “Internet-of-People-Things-Services”.

For such “Open-Innovation” to result in real improvements for the global society and the environment, it must follow the imperatives of co-design so as to enhance its potential adoption and benefits.  This will provide for socio-ethically acceptable systems and services to meet the increasing demand e.g. for healthcare, security-governance, energy efficiency and sustainable growth management as well as ubiquitous access to systems and services to support the everyday activities of users, everywhere any time, at any point-of-need.

In responding to the above challenges, Atta’s work has focused on the enabling technologies that critically underpin the future development of such assistive ICT; encompassing knowledge-based, context-aware, semantic-cognitive architectures in order to realise the vision of ambient intelligence that adaptively supports citizen’s life/work-styles.

Naturally, enhanced adaptation to the needs of the user is also a pre-requisite for human-robot teamwork; and this has motivated pioneering work which has opened up new frontiers in advanced Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI) design for rehabilitative-assistive systems architecture. This enables the design of context-aware service robotics providing personalised team-mates for worker productivity in the office/ factory-of-the-future as well as social robotics; for example, as personal assistants/ companions for care-and-comfort support.

Atta’s work has found expression in the multi-disciplinary research programmes that he has established, led and published on to-date. He has devised and led large scale visionary research programmes within which he has driven the research focused on the development of the enabling technologies that have been validated in challenging test-beds such as:

  • healthcare support,
  • remote care control support
  • the first Companion Robot as a carer’s assistant capable of full integration with smart home and remote care control centres as delivered by the first such European Integrated Research Programme led by Professor Atta Badii, as the Scientific and Technical Coordinator of the CompanionAble Project ( This was selected as the first “Star Innovation Project” from amongst 450 innovation projects, to demonstrate its Companion Robot (Hector) to the EU President Jose Manuel Borraso and the EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Marie Geoghegan-Quinn, at the First European Innovation Convention in Brussels December 5th-6th 2011 (more on:, and, here).
  • Smart homes efficient (thermal) comfort engineering
  • security and socio-ethical video-analytics
  • workflow-embedded information management and decision support systems as exploited in various sectors (e.g. in the creative industries such as music, media and film production; in particular ground-breaking multi-modal multi-media retrieval systems to support semantic workflow integration in creative processes within the film industry e.g. to support 3D media production and distribution), Big Data Exploration, Mining and Visualisation,
  • aerospace & defence, as exploited for example in the design of flight data analysis systems deployed for helicopter safety condition monitoring,
  • advanced personalised learner autonomy support, e-learning,
  • Accordingly Atta’s most recent pioneering research has resulted in seminal contributions to the following areas:
  • Ultra-high-speed intrusion detection, deep packet inspection (FastMatch),
  • Perceived pleasure-pain-gain-based modelling of user’s requirements and their prioritisation (UI-REF),
  • Context-aware privacy-by-co-design architecture (VideoSense, MOSAIC) and tools (Mobi-PETS- GRID, CS-PBCD),
  • Companionable social/carer robotics (, Hector),
  • Secure IoT-based ambient intelligent systems (LinkSmart),
  • Multi-modal Command and Communication Controller for mobile taskforces (C3PAL),
  • Multimodal multimedia semantic-collateral search retrieval and media auto-tagging  and Big Data Exploration, Analytics and Visualisation (KAIFIA),  
  • Mood-responsive music adaptation engine (AME),
  • Intelligent exo-skeleton gait rehabilitation safety support (as in CORBYS),
  • Cognitive robotics testability & safety certification framework,
  • Emotion-aware speech recognition and NLP (Dialogue Partner) for social robotics and mixed-initiative taking assistive social machines and personal care systems.

Professor Atta Badii has served the international research community through various leadership roles; for example as:

  • Director, The European Observatory for Crowd-Sourcing.
  • Director, The European Centre for Socio-Ethical and Privacy-Preserving Video-Analytics in Surveillance.
  • IEEE EMBS Technical Committee (by Peer Election).
  • Distinguished Professor of Systems Engineering and Digital Innovation (UCC).
  • Founding Chair, Trustworthy Internet of People, Things and Services Research Cluster (IoPT).  
  • Founding Chair, CompanionAble Robotics Special Interest Group.   
  • Founding Chair: European Privacy by Co-Design Research Cluster.
  • International Privacy-by-Design Ambassador, designated by the Canadian Information and Privacy Commission whose Chief Executive Dr Ann Cavoukian has championed the cause of Privacy-By-Design on an international scale.
  • Founding Leader, Worldwide MediaEval Benchmarking Initiative – Annual Video Privacy Protection Solutions Challenge 2014.
  • Research Initiative Leader (Security Architectures and Virtualisation Paradigms) for the EU-funded SecurIST Research Strategy Road Mapping Taskforce.
  • Invited research proposals evaluator for the EPSRC, Horizon 2020, Swedish Research Council, European Research Directorate and InnovateUK.  
  • Invited expert in Research and Technology Innovation Management (RTIM) for the European Community Research Programme Directorate.
  • Board Member, United Kingdom Academy of Information Systems (UKAIS) (2003-2005).
  • Regularly in receipt of invitations to act as the Expert Advisory Board Member on large scale collaborative projects and/or act as the Technical and Scientific Leader on proposals initiated by large Consortia - currently expert advisor to the PARIS European FP7 Project as invited by including Thales Security Research.
  • Invited to ICT Research Road Map Workshops for RCUK-Innovate-UK, and, Horizon 2020 –  for both inter-disciplinary and ICT-focused research themes such as Collective-Awareness, e-Democracy, Big Data, Internet-of-Things (IoT), Smart Cities, Cognitive Robotics, Security, Network Media, Ambient Assisted Living.
  • Invited External Member to Senior Academic Appointments Board in UK Universities.  
  • Honorary Research Fellow, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, Cognitive Systems.
  • MoD Grand Challenge 2008, First Team research leader and finalist (The APHIDS Project)  - Cognitive Robotics Grand Challenge- top 7 teams Prize winner.
  • “Smart Innovation Project” Leader Award: Research Impact Potential acknowledged at the highest levels e.g. by the European Community President Borraso visiting Hector the CompanionAble Robot at the first European Innovation Convention Nov 2011, Brussels.
  • Research and Innovation achievements reported in the Department of Health Annual Parliamentary Reports on Innovation in Assistive Robotics (Hector was also featured on the front cover) and international media (e.g. NY Times, Forbes Magazine, and by various TV Programmes and print media internationally).
  • Invited showcasing of results at the Defence Academy, Royal Military College, Shrivenham, Cranfield Univ.
  • Invited Advisor (Innovation Fund Management) to Cambridge University as the Leader of the East Midland Universities Consortium awarded £8M Innovation Fund.
  • Invited Co-organiser, Cambridge University Judge Institute-UKAIS Distinguished Speaker Research Forum.
  • Principal Investigator for over 40 collaborative Projects and Technical & Scientific Leader of over 10 to-date.
  • Co-founder, Northamptonshire DTI Information Society Centre for SME e-Commerce Adoption & Innovation Support at the Science Park - the Centre was opened by the Secretary of State for Trade & Industry.
  • Invited by the EC FP7 Directorate as keynote speaker (e.g. most recently on the first Integrated Framework for Privacy-aware Video-Analytics, Delft University, Netherlands).
  • Invited keynote speaker, invited Research Tutorials and Technical Panel Leaderships for Specialist Conferences e.g. at the European Space Agency specialist conference on Space Big Data Applications.  
  • Co-Organiser of international conferences and Invited Co-Editor/Reviewer of various journals/ books.
  • PhD Examining duties performed, including for internationally leading universities. Technical University of Berlin, Queen Mary College University of London, Universities of Cardiff, Loughborough University, Surrey University,  Brunel University, University of West London, Open University (Knowledge Media Institute -Kmi) etc.
  • Total PhD’s completed: 10; Total PhD’s examined: 10.
  • External PhD supervisor for Universities of Leicester, Bradford, and, Open University (Kmi).
  • Regularly invited by leading academic and industrial research centres to lead large collaborative research bids.
  • Regularly in receipt of requests for PhD supervision and/or Internship / post-doc position requests coming from various parts of the world from the Australia-Asia to Americas.
  • Publications: over 200 comprising over 40 journal publications, over 160 publications in proceedings of refereed international conferences, co-editor of 5 books and contributor to 5 other books.
  • Total of all funding for all collaborative proposals won to-date ~200M€ with an own-institution share of ~52M€.

Examples of Professor Atta Badii’s research projects areas to-date:

  • Personalised context-aware semantic-cognitive systems to support enhanced man-machine cooperativity and secure, mobile service provisioning; such as in framework architecture for MobiPETS-GRID; including pioneering new HCI paradigms to serve requirements engineering and user-centred needs prioritisation for the emerging companion-social robotics, IoT-based ambient intelligent systems and their Living Lab dynamic usability evaluation (UI-REF); this includes testability frameworks to serve anywhere, anytime, anyone personalisation for inclusive innovation of ambient assistive systems and services.
  • Hydra LinkSmart Platform with contributions to middleware technologies for context-aware secure sensor interoperability resolution i.e. secure semantic integration of sensor networks as crucial to the vision of Ambient Intelligence and Pervasive Cooperativity of the human-computer teams within the future Trustworthy IoPTS (, YouTube Video). This Assistive Systems vision also supports social and companion robotics where Atta’s work has led to the flagship EU-funded project in this area: the CompanionAble Ambient Assisted Living Integrated Research Programme (, YouTube Video) of which he is the Coordinator and Scientific Leader.
  • Machine learning including ontology-based ambient intelligence architectures e.g. speech recognition and natural language processing as in genetic-algorithms assisted breeding of vowel recognisers, and, the Adaptive Ambient Dialogue-Gesture Partner: emotionally-aware, multi-modally interactive man-machine interfaces with the dialogue management capability for command and control environments (e.g. cockpit mission management systems; as in MoveON - YouTube Video) as well as to serve assistive-rehabilitative and social robotics applications; such as for example cognitive therapy dialoguing/gaming as in the CompanionAble robot (YouTube Video). Such a vision of “man-machine companionship” is naturally predicated on a capability for advanced personalisation including a coherent framework for online services match-making that remains aware of a user’s personas, changing preferences, priorities, moods and goals. To contribute to such a vision, Atta’s work has included the C3 PAL framework for personalised man-machine cooperativity support: multimodal mobile Communications Command and Control Partner for Ambient Linguistic interaction (C3 PAL - the Ambient Dialogue Partner as in MoveON - YouTube Video)
  • Model-driven & service-oriented architectures specification and design, intelligent-clothing based architectures for location-based, context-aware services provisioning, social/criminal network analysis, human stress-emotion-behaviour modelling and visualisation, intelligent information management, e-learning & training autonomy support, music and media technologies education (e.g. as in I-Maestro - YouTube Video), affectivised music composition (e.g. as in Callas - Video), edge-smart media adaptation and trans-coding, on-demand media distribution (e.g. as in Axmedis - YouTube Video), embedded systems design and implementation including RFID and FPGA-enabled adaptive pattern recognition as applied to real-time heart/activity monitoring, machinery condition monitoring and ultra-high-speed network security intrusion detection (next generation cyber security firewalls; e.g. as in FastMatch of which Professor Atta Badii was the Coordinator and Scientific Leader.

Professor Atta Badii’s research is conducted within his multi-disciplinary laboratory (ISR) as well as within the framework of the European Centre of Excellence in Video Analytics of which he is the founding director as the Coordinator of the EU-funded VideoSense Network of Research Excellence. ISR has maintained a strong multi-disciplinary academic and industrial research track record in Distributed Interactive Intelligent Systems (Assistive Technologies) and security-privacy-trust modelling to help socio-ethically responsible innovation of trustworthy and adaptive semantic-cognitive architectures as underpinned by advancing research in several critical enabling ICT areas.

Accordingly his successfully completed large scale projects as funded by UK, USA and EU funding to-date, have already contributed to a number of significant application domains including Smart Cities, IoT, Big Data, e-Learning and e-Government, Cyber Security and Surveillance, Cognitive Robotics for Care-Support, e-Health, Biomedical and Rehabilitation Engineering; these are supported by the key technology research and innovation capabilities within ISR, as follows:

  • Virtual user and living lab based persona-preferences engineering, user-centred co-design and usability evaluation, personalised interactive spaces for e-learning and training autonomy support, ontology-based context-aware systems to support enhanced, secure, man-machine interaction, accessibility and rehabilitation engineering, stress and well-being monitoring for mobile life/work-style support, agent behaviour modelling, context-emotion-aware interactive systems/avatars design, emotion-aware music composition, immersive virtually-augmented and mixed-worlds systems.
  • Multi-modal real-time Robo-Humatics©: secure privacy-aware assistive-rehabilitative companion robotics, graceful seamless integration of semantic-cognitive control architectures for service/social robotics, object recognition and tracking, natural language processing, speech understanding and dialogue management, robot navigation in unstructured environments, intelligent clothing for real-time vital signs monitoring (stress/cardiovascular/hemo-dynamics), semantic sensor fusion to support sensor networks integration, intelligent vehicular networks, agent-behaviour-risk simulation and modelling, carbon foot-print modelling, dynamic (re)planning and execution monitoring, semantic workflow integration and multi-agent decision support, enabling technologies for factory-of-the-future.
  • Mobile privacy-preserving Internet-of People-Things-Services (MobiPETS-GRID), model-driven and service-orientated architectures, secure location-based semantic-cooperative (cloud) services provisioning, secure e-government service integration.
  • Intelligent information management including semantic web, search & retrieval technologies, multi-modal multi-media indexing and retrieval, data fusion-intelligence, text mining, social/criminal networks analysis, music and networked media technologies (including 3D-media), music information retrieval systems, meta-data enhancements engineering.
  • Cyber and physical security architecting-by-design, trustworthy cloud services (MobiPETS- Cloud), computer network security management, forensics and enterprise information assurance, semantic scene analysis, event detection, socio-ethically-aware video-analytics.



For further information on ISR Laboratory research, please contact:
Professor Atta Badii
Chair of Secure Pervasive Technologies Research
Director, Intelligent Systems Research Laboratory
Director, European Centre of Excellence in Socio-ethical Video Analytics Research
Chair of the International Companion Robotics Institute (CRI)

JJ Thomson Building
School of Systems Engineering
University of Reading
Whiteknights, RG6 6AY, UK

Phone:  00 44 118 378 7842
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Skype:  badii.atta
Fax:      00 44 118 975 1994