Richard Kennaway

Dr. Richard

Contact Information:

  • Email:
  • Telephone: (01603) 593212
  • Fax: (01603) 593345
  • Room: 6/2.12


My current research interests include virtual reality, control theory, robotics, and modelling of biological systems. In the past I have also worked on term rewriting, graph rewriting, higher order rewriting, category theory, concurrency and functional languages.

I am directly employed by the John Innes Centre, but maintain visiting status at UEA, with my main office and email address here.

Numerical modelling of plant growth

In collaboration with Rico Coen and others at the John Innes Centre, and formerly the late Andrew Bangham, I am developing software for modelling plant growth based on the numerical solution of differential equations for elasticity, growth, and diffusion.

The software, called GFtbox ("Growth Factor Toolbox") is described on the Bangham Lab wiki.

GFtbox itself is publicly distributed through sourceforge. It is written in Matlab, so running it requires a Matlab installation. The documentation is rather out of date, but the general principles on which the software runs have not changed.

The basic paper describing GFtbox and the underlying mathematical techniques is published in PLoS Computational Biology.

Real-time procedural humanoid animation

I have been involved with the ViSiCAST and eSign projects, and am currently working on the Dicta-Sign project, whose aims are automatically generated virtual deaf signing for broadcast television and web sites. I designed and implemented SiGML (Signing Gesture Markup Language), an XML language based on the Hamburg Notation System for describing the physical components of signs, and developed algorithms for avatar-independent real-time procedural animation of signs described in SiGML. Currently I am working on an improved version of SiGML with a simpler structure, to be applicable to a wider range of human movement.

Perceptual control theory and robotics

Perceptual control theory is a branch of control theory due to William Powers which appears highly suitable to the study of living organisms. As a demonstrator project in the use of PCT to design the control architecture for a complex control task, I have constructed (only in simulation) a six-legged walking robot based on PCT principles.

Virtual reality

I have in the past been involved in the following projects:

  • Reanimation of combat simulation log files for after-action review. (Collaboration with Defence Evaluation Research Agency (DEFRA).) This involved analysing log files from combat simulators and generating a virtual reality movie of the action in VRML.
  • Virtual reality modelling of landscapes, for visualising the predicted effects of landscape management policies. (In collaboration with Andrew Lovett in the School of Environmental Sciences.)

Term rewriting and graph rewriting as models of computation

This is a field in which I am no longer active.


Lists of my publications are available at:

The list at UEA is manually maintained (or not) and therefore may not be up to date. Google Scholar, ResearchGate, and automatically scrape the web for publications. Their lists are therefore more complete, but also include some duplicates and ephemera.

I am also on LinkedIn, OrcID, and ResearcherID.

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