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Doctorate students

Jecton AnyangoJecton Anyango
Research Topic: An Investigation of a Game Generator Tool to teach Programming
Am investigating the use of Game Based Learning approach (GBL) in higher education. Particularly, am interested in evaluating the effectives and usefulness of serious game generators to support domain experts (Lecturers).
Supervisor(s): Hussein Suleman

Gerald Nathan BalekakiGerald Nathan Balekaki
Research Topic: Scalable database model for radio frequency interference (RFI) data at SKA radio telescope
We design and develop scalable database model that sufficient store and quickly reteieve RFI data. The model is based on a relatively new framework built on a concept known as polyglot persistent. 
Supervisor(s): Michelle Kuttel

Catherine ChavulaCatherine Chavula
Research Topic: Using Language Similarities to Improve Retrieval of Related African Languages
Most of the Web is published in languages not accessible to many potential users who are only able to read and understand their local languages. Prior research has focused on using translation to provide users with information written in other languages, yet there are still many languages with little or no such resources. My doctoral research investigates whether providing users with relevant results that are written in related languages would support them to find useful information as well as improve their search experience. By providing users with results in related languages, we are assuming that users will be able to understand content written in a language that they may not be familiar with. Related languages in this work encompasses dialects, language varieties and languages in the same language family of Bantu languages. My work is focusing on the following four aspects: (i) understanding how users may interact with search results written in related languages in terms of usefulness of the results, struggle in understanding the content and emotions experienced in the course of the search session; (ii) building search interfaces appropriate for querying and presentation of such search results; (iii) building ranking models for search results using system estimated relevance and language intelligibility to imitate user preference of ranking search results; and (iv) building text preprocessing tools that can work across related languages written text.
Supervisor(s): Suleman Hussien

Sarah DsaneSarah Dsane
Research Topic: The adoption of first 1000 days digital resources amongst parents in bandwidth-constrained communities
The first 1000 days (FTD) of life, from pregnancy through delivery, and childcare can be filled with lots of anxiety and uncertainty. Expectant and parents with infants generally resort to digital resources to supplement the clinical guidance provided by their healthcare providers.  I explore how parents are engaging with digital resources during the FTD phase. The aim is to understand the digital information-seeking behavior and needs of parents in bandwidth-constrained communities. Further, how what we learn can influence virtual FTD curriculum design.
Supervisor(s): Melissa Densmore/Yaseen Joolay

Priscilla MaliwichiPriscilla Maliwichi
Research Topic: Appropriation of maternal mHealth interventions by clients who do not own mobile phones in rural areas of Malawi
The study seeks to explain how maternal clients who do not own a mobile phone appropriate mHealth intervention in a rural setting. The study will contribute to theory, as well as knowledge and practice to different stakeholders in maternal mHealth.
Supervisor(s): Wallace Chigona

Enock MbeweEnock Mbewe
Research Topic: Cost-aware Internet Security Decision Model 
This project investigates and implements mechanisms for enhancing the security of community network infrastructure with configurable secure QoS. In particular, this study will investigate the use of a novel, cost-aware Internet security decision model to allow users, especially those with limited computing skills, to easily configure security options that can map to complex Internet security mechanisms in order to achieve Confidentiality, Integrity, Authentication and Privacy.
Supervisor(s): Chavula Josiah

Wanjiru MburuWanjiru Mburu
Research Topic: Co-designing a Communication Intervention to Support Low-Income Mothers of  Premature Infants
This is an exploratory study that engages mothers of premature infants and health personnel in the design of a possible cost-effective communication tool that could support mothers with education and psychological information. We used co-design approach, enabling Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) stakeholders to voice their ideas in the formulation and design of the solution. The main goal of the study is to equip mothers with information that could help them engage in holistic care of their sick infants.
Supervisor(s): Melissa Densmore/Yaseen Joolay

Toky Hajatiana RaboanaryToky Hajatiana Raboanary
Research Topic: Generating Questions and Feedback from Ontologies
This research aims to generate answerable educationally useful questions from ontologies and to provide text feedback with respect to the answer given by a learner to a specific question.
Supervisor(s): Maria Keet

Karen SowonKaren Sowon
Research Topic: The role of the healthcare-seeking socio-cultural context in shaping maternal health clients' mHealth utilisation behaviour
The goal of this study is to explain how contexts shapes the utilisation behaviour of mHealth interventions among maternal health clients. We argue that healthcare-seeking itself presents the minimum socio-cultural context that shapes use. We therefore theorise healthcare-seeking as an activity. This allows us to study technology in use. The research hopes to make a contribution that explains how and why the context of use of may enable or constrain maternal mHealth utilisation. The insights gained may also facilitate the design and implementation of contextually-fit mHealth interventions.
Supervisor(s): Wallace Chigona

Joseph P. TelemalaJoseph P. Telemala
Research Topic: Investigating Language Preferences for Improving Multilingual Swahili Information Retrieval
The research is investigating how can the association between topic of search and language of query and/or results (Topic-Language preferences) be utilized to develop better multilingual information retrieval systems. It uses ML techniques to learn these preferences and incorporate them in the ranking of results.
Supervisor(s): Hussein Suleman

Tezira WanyanaTezira Wanyana
Research Topic: A Cognitive Agent Architecture for modelling Automatic Hypothesis Generation and Evaluation.
Intelligent agents for scientific discovery typically take in observations  from  the  environment,  identify  anomalous  observations,  i.e.unexpected observations, and determine whether the anomalous observations constitute a novelty pattern (a group of anomalous observations that could represent a new concept). They then determine whether the novelty pattern is indicative of a potential new phenomenon or a change in the agent's environment. If this is the case the agents's goal is to generate and evaluate  a  hypothesis  as  an  attempt  to  explain  the  underlying  causal mechanism  for  this  phenomenon.  A  first  step  towards  designing  such agents is to settle on a formal ontology needed to represent and reason about hypotheses and the associated observations and phenomena. Various agent architectures exist but some core elements of these agents are not supported. This research aims at designing a generic formal language and agent architecture for intelligent agents that carry out observation induced knowledge discovery.
Supervisor(s): Deshen Moodley

Masters students

Tochukwu ObaTochukwu Oba
Research Topic: Characterizing Community Wireless Networks
With about half the population of Africa lacking internet access, there is a divide in access to information. This is termed digital divide, where selected few have access to internet and others left without. Given the challenge of access in Africa, numerous solutions have been adopted to bridge the gap. One of these solutions proposes the use of Community Wireless Network(CWN). According to the Internet Society, CWN are potential framework for future internet. It's is said to support communities and it's members.   Hence, my research seeks to understand the quality of experience perceived by communities members and analysing the end to end process of iniormation flow.
Supervisor(s): Melissa Densmore

Zinzi VilloZinzi Villo
Research Topic: Effectiveness of e-participation in South Africa
The goal of this research project is to assess the efficacy of e-participation in South Africa. There has been significant amount of money invested to promote e-participation programs, but little research has been made to assess these efforts. Research in the field of e-participation concludes that there is a lack of evaluation of e-participation initiatives. As governments increasingly promote the use of ICTs to allow people to participate in policy-related issues, there is a similar need to know if online participation meets the objectives of both citizens and governments.
Supervisor(s): Wallace Chigona

Sarah VuningomaSarah Vuningoma
Research Topic: How do refugees use mobile phones for social connectedness? South Africa Perspective
This study explores how social connectedness and grassroots innovativeness through the use of mobile phones have been developing among the refugees' communities. The objective of this research is to explain which measure is effective in promoting the social connectedness of refugees by using mobile phones.
Supervisor(s): Wallace Chigona