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Brian Solomon’s Guide To The Stars: CS Professor Andrew Campbell

Dartmouth has a wealth of experienced professors who lead their respective research fields, while also working closely with students — inspiring them in the classroom and leading them in laboratory environments. And while at Dartblog we talk frequently about problems that need to be fixed at the College, there are still many bright spots. Our professors deserve more recognition for their achievements. As such, this is on in a series of posts that shines a spotlight on the best professors in Hanover:

Andrew Campbell.png.jpgAndrew Campbell is a professor of computer science in the faculty of arts and science. His research concerns “ubiquitous computing,” the idea that computers are moving beyond desktops and laptops into the fabric of everything we do at all times. The smartphones we carry with us everywhere are a just the start of a new, connected world.

Campbell was educated in the U.K. He earned his undergraduate degree from Aston University, followed by a Master’s at City University. He then spent 10 years working in the software industry in Europe before, in his words, he “went for a 6 month walk through central America and decided to go back to school.” Campbell received his Ph.D. in computer science in 1996 from Lancaster University, after which he joined the Columbia University electrical engineering department. He came to Dartmouth in 2005.

Campbell calls working with young students “the best part” of his job, but he is also one of the most accomplished researchers among Arts & Science faculty, according to Google Scholar. He has more than 22,000 individual citations for his papers, including 181 papers cited at least 10 times. His H-Index, a common way to measure citation breadth and depth (computed as the largest number H such that H publications have at least H citations), is 68.

To understand the potential of “ubiquitous computing,” it helps to look at Campbell’s biggest project, a smartphone data collection experiment called StudentLife that he conducted with Dartmouth students. The question: what could a smartphone tell us about the life and stress of students throughout a term? Campbell enlisted a class of 48 students over a 10 week term with an app that worked in the background of their phones to monitor everything from location, physical activity, conversation length and sleep duration. That data was used to track stress and other factors.

The StudentLife experiment yielded the first-ever data from a smartphone that held significant correlation with clinical data sensing depression. The program could also predict a user’s GPA within plus-minus 0.179 of the actual reported grades based solely on this analysis of activity throughout the term. Today, a consortium of universities led by Georgia Tech is attempting to replicate the StudentLife results:

StudentLife has the potential to help college students everywhere analyze their behavior in real time. But eventually, Campbell says, advanced data collection programs like this will be integrated not just into our phones and computers, but everything around us — our clothes, our bicycles, our offices — and they will communicate with us constantly to help us improve performance.

You can learn more about StudentLife in a 30 minute lecture from Campbell, along with articles in The Dartmouth and NPR.

Campbell spent the 2015 fall semester as a visiting professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s campus in Kigali, Rwanda. In addition to doing research, he is currently teaching two courses at the College, one for undergraduates on programming for the Android phone operating system, and another for graduate students on wearable computing. Along with assistant professor Xia Zhou, he co-directs DartNets, the Dartmouth Networking and Ubiquitous Systems Laboratory, which studies new technology like light and shadow-based communication tools .

Beginning this fall, Campbell will take a College-approved leave of absence for a year to work for Google in a joint position between the Android team and Verily, Google’s life sciences arm. As a 56-year-old “intern,” Campbell looks forward to applying his research as well as learning from his new boss, a programmer in his twenties.

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