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Professor Sumi Helal

Research overview

Professor Helal served as Lancaster University's Chair in Digital Health from 2017 to 2020, where he led interdisciplinary research and initiatives in digital health in both the School of Computing and Communications (Faculty of Science and Technology) and the Division of Health Research (Faculty of Health and Medicine).

He directed the Centre on Digital Health and Quality of Life Technologies with a mission to move technology and data into the pathways of health and care, to improve outcomes and enhance the quality of life of all people including individuals with special needs. He is also a board member and lead of the digital health infrastructure and strategies in the Fylde Whyndyke Garden Village - one of ten NHS England Healthy New Towns development projects. WGV, located 23 miles SW of the Lancaster University campus, is a 1400-unit, green grass development which provides for a unique opportunity to flexibly shape the town in terms of its public areas, neighbourhoods, and community hub (school, wellness centre and health care facility) to promote health and wellbeing, active and healthy ageing, prevent illnesses and improve people’s quality of life.

Before joining Lancaster, he was a Computer & Information Science and Engineering Professor at the University of Florida, USA, and Director of its Mobile and Pervasive Computing Laboratory. He co-founded and directed the Gator Tech Smart House – a real-world deployment project that aimed at identifying key barriers and opportunities to make the Smart Home concept a commonplace (creating the “Smart Home in a Box” concept). His active areas of research focus on architectural and programmability aspects of the Internet of Things, and on pervasive/ubiquitous systems and their human-centric applications with special focus on smart spaces, proactive health/wellness, patient empowerment and e-coaching, and assistive technology in support of personal health, aging, disabilities, and independence.

Professor Helal has returned to the University of Florida since 2020 and is currently a Visiting Professor in the School of Computing and Communication at Lancaster University where he continue to advise his two remaining PhD students.

Professor Helal recently served as the Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Computer, the Computer Society’s flagship and premier publication. He also recently served as a member of the Board of Governors of the IEEE Computer Society. He is inventor or co-inventor on 9 published US patents, and author or co-author of over 340 publications including IEEE/ACM transactions and other journals, conferences, workshops, books, edited books, and book chapters.

Professor Helal is a Boilermaker (Ph.D., Purdue University, class of 1991).

He is Fellow of the ACM, Fellow of the IEEE, Fellow of the AAAS, Fellow of the IET and Fellow of the AAIA. He is also a proud member of Academia Europaea. Contact him at helal@acm.org

PhD supervision

1. Digital Health: dashboards for the connected health city concept; smart and healthy living at home (smart home concept): behavior change detection and modeling; activity modeling and recognition; simulating human activity in smart spaces; e-coaching and persuasive interactions for patient empowerment; informatics platforms for pediatric asthma and other disease management; accessible airport announcements for the hearing impaired; blind empowerment in challenging environments (e.g., large convention setting). 2. Internet of Things: thing architectures; IoT programming models; dependability and related energy management of IoT; Emerging threat models challenging the security and usage of IoT applications and devices.

Professional Role

2015-2018: Editor-in-Chief, IEEE Computer

2016-2018: Member, Board of Governors, IEEE Computer Society

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