Academic Bio

Dave Murray-Rust is a Senior Lecturer in Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. He has a MEng in Information Systems (Cambridge), MSc in Informatics (Edinburgh) and a PhD in Artificial Intelligence and Music (Edinburgh). His work is concerned with ways that people, data and things interact. He is researching questions such as: How can we understand the “social machines” – large-scale human-computer collective systems – that are a manifestation of the algorithmic society that we are heading towards? How can we ensure that there is space for people within computational systems, preserving privacy, choice, identity and humanity while making use of possibilities of computational coordination and personal data? How can we work with things that have an increasing sense of agency, from sensing to responding to shaping the world around them? In practice, this relates to: IoT, personal data, human data interaction, physical computing and manifesting data.

My page on the Edinburgh College of Art website, the Design Informatics website and the Edinburgh Research Explorer

Research Overview

My research centres on human-algorithm interaction - how do people relate to algorithms in different configurations and different scales. Current projects:

  • Chatty Factories: how can we use continuous digital ethnography based on IoT data to understand the ways in which people use objects, and derive design insights from data. (EPSRC EP/R021031/1)
  • GeoPact: how can we bring location into smart contracts in a secure and privacy preserving manner?
  • Lichtsuchende: using a simple robotic society to explore how designers and visitors experience embodied algorithms
  • Data Experiences: exploring how data gives rise to experiences, through data visualisation, data comics, physicalisation and Inspace - an emerging hub where data meets culture.
  • Experiential AI: how do we use creative practice to better understand artificial intelligence, as publics, practitioners and researchers?
  • Social Machines

More details in the Research section.

Full List of Publications

Teaching Overview

I am the programme director for the Design Informatics MA/MFA - a highly cross disciplinary masters programme that combines data science with design thinking in a context of critical enquiry and speculation.

My key courses are: Data Science for Design - an intro to data science, making creative responses to live research data; Design With Data - how do we translate an external partner’s data into experience through installations and provocative artefacts? and Connected Things: a critical introduction to IoT for product designers.

I have several PhD Students and am happy to supervise more. See PhD for details.

Jobs and Studentships

Nothing right now

email: d.murray-rust[at]